HR Arabia

August 28, 2007

Tough Job Interviews Questions, and how to deal with them

Filed under: HR,interview,salary,Uncategorized,work — Khaled @ 3:04 pm

Tell me about yourself.

TRAPS: Beware, about 80% of all interviews begin with this “innocent” question. Many candidates, unprepared for the question, skewer themselves by rambling, recapping their life story, delving into ancient work history or personal matters.

BEST ANSWER: Start with the present and tell why you are well qualified for the position. Remember that the key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. In other words you must sell what the buyer is buying. This is the single most important strategy in job hunting.

So, before you answer this or any question it’s imperative that you try to uncover your interviewer’s greatest need, want, problem or goal.

To do so, make you take these two steps:

1. Do all the homework you can before the interview to uncover this person’s wants and needs (not the generalized needs of the industry or company)

2. As early as you can in the interview, ask for a more complete description of what the position entails. You might say: “I have a number of accomplishments I’d like to tell you about, but I want to make the best use of our time together and talk directly to your needs. To help me do, that, could you tell me more about the most important priorities of this position? All I know is what I (heard from the recruiter, read in the classified ad, etc.)”

Then, ALWAYS follow-up with a second and possibly, third question, to draw out his needs even more. Surprisingly, it’s usually this second or third question that unearths what the interviewer is most looking for.

You might ask simply, “And in addition to that?…” or, “Is there anything else you see as essential to success in this position?:

This process will not feel easy or natural at first, because it is easier simply to answer questions, but only if you uncover the employer’s wants and needs will your answers make the most sense. Practice asking these key questions before giving your answers, the process will feel more natural and you will be light years ahead of the other job candidates you’re competing with.

After uncovering what the employer is looking for, describe why the needs of this job bear striking parallels to tasks you’ve succeeded at before. Be sure to illustrate with specific examples of your responsibilities and especially your achievements, all of which are geared to present yourself as a perfect match for the needs he has just described.

_________________________

Why should I hire you?

 

TRAPS: Believe it or not, this is a killer question because so many candidates are unprepared for it. If you stammer or adlib you’ve blown it.

BEST ANSWER: By now you can see how critical it is to apply the overall strategy of uncovering the employer’s needs before you answer questions. If you know the employer’s greatest needs and desires, this question will give you a big leg up over other candidates because you will give him better reasons for hiring you than anyone else is likely to…reasons tied directly to his needs.

Whether your interviewer asks you this question explicitly or not, this is the most important question of your interview because he must answer this question favorably in is own mind before you will be hired. So help him out! Walk through each of the position’s requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason why you meet that requirement so well.

Example: “As I understand your needs, you are first and foremost looking for someone who can manage the sales and marketing of your book publishing division. As you’ve said you need someone with a strong background in trade book sales. This is where I’ve spent almost all of my career, so I’ve chalked up 18 years of experience exactly in this area. I believe that I know the right contacts, methods, principles, and successful management techniques as well as any person can in our industry.”

“You also need someone who can expand your book distribution channels. In my prior post, my innovative promotional ideas doubled, then tripled, the number of outlets selling our books. I’m confident I can do the same for you.”

“You need someone to give a new shot in the arm to your mail order sales, someone who knows how to sell in space and direct mail media. Here, too, I believe I have exactly the experience you need. In the last five years, I’ve increased our mail order book sales from $600,000 to $2,800,000, and now we’re the country’s second leading marketer of scientific and medical books by mail.” Etc., etc., etc.,

Every one of these selling “couplets” (his need matched by your qualifications) is a touchdown that runs up your score. IT is your best opportunity to outsell your competition.

__________________________

Where do you see yourself five years from now?


TRAPS: One reason interviewers ask this question is to see if you’re settling for this position, using it merely as a stopover until something better comes along. Or they could be trying to gauge your level of ambition.

If you’re too specific, i.e., naming the promotions you someday hope to win, you’ll sound presumptuous. If you’re too vague, you’ll seem rudderless.

BEST ANSWER: Reassure your interviewer that you’re looking to make a long-term commitment…that this position entails exactly what you’re looking to do and what you do extremely well. As for your future, you believe that if you perform each job at hand with excellence, future opportunities will take care of themselves.

Example: “I am definitely interested in making a long-term commitment to my next position. Judging by what you’ve told me about this position, it’s exactly what I’m looking for and what I am very well qualified to do. In terms of my future career path, I’m confident that if I do my work with excellence, opportunities will inevitable open up for me. It’s always been that way in my career, and I’m confident I’ll have similar opportunities here.”

___________________

Sell me this stapler…(this pencil…this clock…or some other object on interviewer’s desk).


TRAPS: Some interviewers, especially business owners and hard-changing executives in marketing-driven companies, feel that good salesmanship is essential for any key position and ask for an instant demonstration of your skill. Be ready.

BEST ANSWER: Of course, you already know the most important secret of all great salesmanship – “find out what people want, then show them how to get it.”

If your interviewer picks up his stapler and asks, “sell this to me,” you are going to demonstrate this proven master principle. Here’s how:

“Well, a good salesman must know both his product and his prospect before he sells anything. If I were selling this, I’d first get to know everything I could about it, all its features and benefits.”

“Then, if my goal were to sell it you, I would do some research on how you might use a fine stapler like this. The best way to do that is by asking some questions. May I ask you a few questions?”

Then ask a few questions such as, “Just out of curiosity, if you didn’t already have a stapler like this, why would you want one? And in addition to that? Any other reason? Anything else?”

“And would you want such a stapler to be reliable?…Hold a good supply of staples?” (Ask more questions that point to the features this stapler has.)

Once you’ve asked these questions, make your presentation citing all the features and benefits of this stapler and why it’s exactly what the interviewer just told you he’s looking for.

Then close with, “Just out of curiosity, what would you consider a reasonable price for a quality stapler like this…a stapler you could have right now and would (then repeat all the problems the stapler would solve for him)? Whatever he says, (unless it’s zero), say, “Okay, we’ve got a deal.”

NOTE: If your interviewer tests you by fighting every step of the way, denying that he even wants such an item, don’t fight him. Take the product away from him by saying, “Mr. Prospect, I’m delighted you’ve told me right upfront that there’s no way you’d ever want this stapler. As you well know, the first rule of the most productive salespeople in any field is to meet the needs of people who really need and want our products, and it just wastes everyone’s time if we try to force it on those who don’t. And I certainly wouldn’t want to waste your time. But we sell many items. Is there any product on this desk you would very much like to own…just one item?” When he points something out, repeat the process above. If he knows anything about selling, he may give you a standing ovation.

______________________

“The Salary Question” – How much money do you want?

TRAPS: May also be phrases as, “What salary are you worth?”…or, “How much are you making now?” This is your most important negotiation. Handle it wrong and you can blow the job offer or go to work at far less than you might have gotten.

BEST ANSWER: For maximum salary negotiating power, remember these five guidelines:

1. Never bring up salary. Let the interviewer do it first. Good salespeople sell their products thoroughly before talking price. So should you. Make the interviewer want you first, and your bargaining position will be much stronger.

2. If your interviewer raises the salary question too early, before you’ve had a chance to create desire for your qualifications, postpone the question, saying something like, “Money is important to me, but is not my main concern. Opportunity and growth are far more important. What I’d rather do, if you don’t mind, is explore if I’m right for the position, and then talk about money. Would that be okay?”

3. The #1 rule of any negotiation is: the side with more information wins. After you’ve done a thorough job of selling the interviewer and it’s time to talk salary, the secret is to get the employer talking about what he’s willing to pay before you reveal what you’re willing to accept. So, when asked about salary, respond by asking, “I’m sure the company has already established a salary range for this position. Could you tell me what that is?” Or, “I want an income commensurate with my ability and qualifications. I trust you’ll be fair with me. What does the position pay?” Or, more simply, “What does this position pay?”

4. Know beforehand what you’d accept. To know what’s reasonable, research the job market and this position for any relevant salary information. Remember that most executives look for a 20-25%$ pay boost when they switch jobs. If you’re grossly underpaid, you may want more.

5. Never lie about what you currently make, but feel free to include the estimated cost of all your fringes, which could well tack on 25-50% more to your present “cash-only” salary.

_________________________

Source: “How to Answer The 64 Toughest Interview Questions” Book

Advertisements

3 Comments »

  1. This came right on time! thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Yazan Ashqar — August 29, 2007 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  2. Glad this can help Yazan.

    Comment by palforce — August 29, 2007 @ 6:18 am | Reply

  3. if only i read this yesterday! i had an interview with a big arse corporation last night! initial feed back is good, but i’m still waiting on the offer! i hope they meet my salary request 😀

    Comment by Mazz — August 29, 2007 @ 5:47 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: