Tag Archives: work

Tough Interview Questions and How To Answer Them

As if interviews aren’t stressful enough, interviewers like to throw in some tough questions to get a glimpse into the candidate’s character.  Sometimes these questions seem quite innocent, but your answer could make or break your chance of getting the job.  Let’s have a look at though interview questions and how to answer them.

Tell me a little about yourself

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?  But this question is a minefield.  Depending on your answers the interviewer will pick up if you are merely confident or totally blasé.  If you have a career plan or prefer to fly by the seat of your pants.  While it’s acceptable if not preferable to be confident, try not to stick too many feathers in your own hat.  And while you don’t have to have your future mapped out, it is recommended to have some idea of where you’re going and how to get there.

Why do you think you are right for this job?

Whatever you do, don’t say that you are a hard worker, that you like the responsibility that comes with the job or anything that refers to your character.  Instead, focus on the company.  The interviewer has heard these kinds of clichés a hundred times.  Instead of focussing on yourself, focus on the company.  Show a belief in their products or services.  Be enthusiastic about that.

Why did you leave your previous job?

Another minefield.  If you quit because you were bored with your job or didn’t like your boss, you can’t say that.  You can never speak ill of a past employer.  Neither can you say that you were bored, because the new company might wonder if you will get bored with them.  If you were fired it’s best to be honest without going into detail.  The company you’re applying with is going to find out anyway when you need to supply references.  You could word it differently though and say that you were let go because you and your boss didn’t see eye to eye. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question is will reveal more than you think.  If you answer right away: you have given your future a lot of thought and know exactly what you want.  You are ambitious and will use any means to get to an end.  If you answer after a long pause: you haven’t given your future any thought at all.  You are happy with your life as it is, and will take your future one step at a time. 

What are your weaknesses?

Does anyone really want to reveal their weaknesses?  Of course not.  Whichever weakness you admit to, don’t say that you are a perfectionist, too organized, can’t work with people who don’t live up to their full potential, or anything else that will make you look perfect.  You are not perfect, nobody is, so stop trying to look like you are.  A good answer might be, that you are more of a leader than a follower and that your ideas are not always welcomed by management.  Companies like leaders and like new ideas.  They might not always like your ideas, but they like someone with initiative.

What are your salary expectations?

This may seem like a thought question.  After all, set your salary too low and you might be underselling yourself.  Set your salary too high and it may cost you the job.  The answer to this particular problem is simple, name a salary range.  If for instance, you want to earn $50,000, you could say that you would like to earn between $48,000 and $58,000.  Chances are, in such a range they will offer you $54,000. 

The best advice anyone can give you before going to an interview, is to be yourself.  While it’s a good idea to be prepared and research the matter of tough interview questions and how to answer them, don’t memorize the answers.  Interviewers go online too and know what’s out there.  They can spot a copycat a mile away.  Read the questions and answers and then make them your own. 

It’s alright to stumble over an answer or having to take a minute before replying.  Being a smooth talker doesn’t always work in your favor.  An interviewer has seen and heard it all and will enjoy your honesty.

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Getting the job

I came across an article yesterday entitled ‘I got my job with my looks, I kept it because I was good at my job’. I had a good look at the writer and while her face was ordinary, her body was the kind that men admire and women envy.

Alicia (not her real name) knew that with limited education and no business experience, her chances of finding a job were slim to none. Oh, she could work in a coffee shop, become a waitress in a bar, or work as a checkout girl in a supermarket, but Alicia had set her sights a little higher. She wanted an office job. A job where she could sit down, a job where she could wear nice outfits, a job that earned her respect. So, she came up with a plan.

Knowing that employers research job candidates online, and that their go-to place is Facebook, she put a few photos of herself on her Facebook page.

She posed in a skimpy black bikini, a long sheer white shirt draped around her shoulders, billowing in the breeze as she stepped out of the ocean.

In another photo she was wearing the same black bikini, minus the white shirt.

In a few others she showed off her ample bosom in various Victoria Secret lingerie, striking seductive poses.

So much for women’s liberation, ladies. We might fight for equal rights but then a little trollop like that comes along and blows us out of the water.

Her plan worked like a charm. When she send her unimpressive resume to company XXX, it took only hours for the manager who needed an assistant to invite her for an interview. She was hired on the spot.

Given the fact that Alicia had no skills to speak of an no practical experience, I wondered how good she could be at her job and what that job was. Was she good at her desk, was she good at the manager’s desk, or was she good under his desk?

Alicia is far from the only one. Marion said more or less the same thing. In a blog post she wrote she stated ‘I was promoted because I was good at my job and being a woman didn’t hurt.’ Hm, exactly what kind of job was she so good at?

Many years ago, job applicants were permitted to attached a photographs to their resume. When it was found that older and less attractive people were discriminated against, photos were no longer allowed.

While at first this seemed like a good idea, precious time was wasted. All sorts of people showed up for interviews only to be discarded based on age and looks. Here and there companies were happy to hire older staff, but the majority preferred young, beautiful puppets. I witnessed this first hand while working for a marketing firm. One of the managers needed a personal assistant and instructed human resources to get him a temp.

The first temp that showed up was a very short and thick set woman with a tight perm and bottom of jam pot glasses. By lunch time she was let go.

The second temp was the complete opposite. A giant of a woman, with muscled arms and legs and a booming voice. After only one day she was gone too.

And then number three showed up. A pretty young thing, with long blond hair, clear blue eyes, a mouth like a cherry, and a body clad in a sheer linen blouse and a skirt the size of a broad belt. It was plain to see that she wore no bra.

Not only was she allowed to stay, by the end of the day the job was offered to her on a permanent basis.