Transmission is a physical movement of information and concern issues like bit polarity, synchronization, clock etc.
Communication means the meaning full exchange of information between two communication media.
You know that your key strategy is to first uncover your interviewer's greatest wants and needs before you answer questions. And from Question 1, you know how to do this. Prior to any interview, you should have a list mentally prepared of your greatest strengths. You should also have, a specific example or two, which illustrates each strength, an example chosen from your most recent and most impressive achievements. You should, have this list of your greatest strengths and corresponding examples from your achievements so well committed to memory that you can recite them cold after being shaken awake at 2:30AM.
Then, once you uncover your interviewer's greatest wants and needs, you can choose those achievements from your list that best match up. As a general guideline, the 10 most desirable traits that all employers love to see in their employees are:
A proven track record as an achiever…especially if your achievements match up with the employer's greatest wants and needs.
BEST ANSWER: (and another reason it's so important to get a thorough description of your interviewer's needs before you answer questions): Assure the interviewer that you can think of nothing that would stand in the way of your performing in this position with excellence. Then, quickly review you strongest qualifications. Example: “Nobody's perfect, but based on what you've told me about this position; I believe I'd make an outstanding match. I know that when I hire people, I look for two things most of all. Do they have the qualifications to do the job well, and the motivation to do it well$ Everything in my background shows I have both the qualifications and a strong desire to achieve excellence in whatever I take on. So I can say in all honesty that I see nothing that would cause you even a small concern about my ability or my strong desire to perform this job with excellence.” Alternate strategy (if you don't yet know enough about the position to talk about such a perfect fit): Instead of confessing a weakness, describe what you like most and like least, making sure that what you like most matches up with the most important qualification for success in the position, and what you like least is not essential.
Example: Let's say you're applying for a teaching position. “If given a choice, I like to spend as much time as possible in front of my prospects selling, as opposed to shuffling paperwork back at the office. Of course, I long ago learned the importance of filing paperwork properly, and I do it conscientiously. But what I really love to do is selling (if your interviewer was a sales manager, this should be music to his ears.)
As with faults and weaknesses, never confess a regret. But don't seem as if you're stonewalling either.
Best strategy: Say you harbor no regrets, then add a principle or habit you practice regularly for healthy human relations.
Example: Pause for reflection, as if the question never occurred to you. Then say, “You know, I really can't think of anything.” (Pause again, and then add): “I would add that as a general management principle, I've found that the best way to avoid regrets is to avoid causing them in the first place. I practice one habit that helps me a great deal in this regard. At the end of each day, I mentally review the day's events and conversations to take a second look at the people and developments I'm involved with and do a double-check of what they're likely to be feeling. Sometimes I'll see things that do need more follow-up, whether a pat on the back, or maybe a five minute chat in someone's office to make sure we're clear on things…whatever.”
“I also like to make each person feel like a member of an elite team, like the Boston Celtics or LA Lakers in their prime. I've found that if you let each team member know you expect excellence in their performance…if you work hard to set an example yourself…and if you let people know you appreciate and respect their feelings, you wind up with a highly motivated group, a team that's having fun at work because they're striving for excellence rather than brooding over slights or regrets.”
If you're not yet 100% committed to leaving your present post, don't be afraid to say so. Since you have a job, you are in a stronger position than someone who does not. But don't be coy either. State honestly what you'd be hoping to find in a new spot. Of course, as stated often before, you answer will all the stronger if you have already uncovered what this position is all about and you match your desires to it.
Never lie about having been fired. It's unethical - and too easily checked. But do try to deflect the reason from you personally. If your firing was the result of a takeover, merger, division wide layoff, etc., so much the better. But you should also do something totally unnatural that will demonstrate consummate professionalism. Even if it hurts, describe your own firing - candidly, succinctly, and without a trace of bitterness - from the company's point-of-view, indicating that you could understand why it happened and you might have made the same decision yourself.
Your stature will rise immensely and, most important of all, you will show you are healed from the wounds inflicted by the firing. You will enhance your image as first-class management material and stand head and shoulders above the legions of firing victims who, at the slightest provocation, zip open their shirts to expose their battle scars and decry the unfairness of it all. For all prior positions: Make sure you've prepared a brief reason for leaving. Best reasons: more money, opportunity, responsibility, or growth.
Beware - if you are unprepared for this question, you will probably not handle it right and possibly blow the interview. Thank goodness most interviewers don't employ it. It's normally used by those determined to see how you respond under stress. Here's how it works:
You answer an interviewer's question and then, instead of asking another, he just stares at you in a deafening silence.
You wait, growing a bit uneasy, and there he sits, silent as Mt. Rushmore, as if he doesn't believe what you've just said, or perhaps making you feel that you've unwittingly violated some cardinal rule of interview etiquette.
When you get this silent treatment after answering a particularly difficult question, such as “tell me about your weaknesses”, its intimidating effect can be most disquieting, even to polished job hunters.
Most unprepared candidates rush in to fill the void of silence, viewing prolonged, uncomfortable silences as an invitation to clear up the previous answer which has obviously caused some problem. And that's what they do - ramble on, sputtering more and more information, sometimes irrelevant and often damaging, because they are suddenly playing the role of someone who's goofed and is now trying to recoup. But since the candidate doesn't know where or how he goofed, he just keeps talking, showing how flustered and confused he is by the interviewer's unmovable silence.
As with any objection, don't view this as a sign of imminent defeat. It's an invitation to teach the interviewer a new way to think about this situation, seeing advantages instead of drawbacks.
Example: “I recognize the job market for what it is - a marketplace. Like any marketplace, it's subject to the laws of supply and demand. So ‘overqualified' can be a relative term, depending on how tight the job market is. And right now, it's very tight. I understand and accept that.” I also believe that there could be very positive benefits for both of us in this match.” “Because of my unusually strong experience in ____, I could start to contribute right away, perhaps much faster than someone who'd have to be brought along more slowly.” There's also the value of all the training and years of experience that other companies have invested tens of thousands of dollars to give me. You'd be getting all the value of that without having to pay an extra dime for it. With someone who has yet to acquire that experience, he'd have to gain it on your nickel.”
“I could also help you in many things they don't teach at the Harvard Business School. For example…(how to hire, train, motivate, etc.) When it comes to knowing how to work well with people and getting the most out of them, there's just no substitute for what you learn over many years of front-line experience. You company would gain all this, too.”
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.”
The only right answer is to describe what this company is offering, being sure to make your answer believable with specific reasons, stated with sincerity, why each quality represented by this opportunity is attractive to you. Remember that if you're coming from a company that's the leader in its field or from a glamorous or much admired company, industry, city or position, your interviewer and his company may well have an “Avis” complex. That is, they may feel a bit defensive about being “second best” to the place you're coming from, worried that you may consider them bush league. This anxiety could well be there even though you've done nothing to inspire it. You must go out of your way to assuage such anxiety, even if it's not expressed, by putting their virtues high on the list of exactly what you're looking for, providing credible reason for wanting these qualities. If you do not express genuine enthusiasm for the firm, its culture, location, industry, etc., you may fail to answer this “Avis” complex objection and, as a result, leave the interviewer suspecting that a hot shot like you, coming from a Fortune 500 company in New York, just wouldn't be happy at an unknown manufacturer based in Topeka, Kansas.
This question is your opportunity to hit the ball out of the park, thanks to the in-depth research you should do before any interview. Best sources for researching your target company: annual reports, the corporate newsletter, contacts you know at the company or its suppliers, advertisements, articles about the company in the trade press.
Prepare for this question by thinking of how you can position yourself as a desired commodity.f you are still working, describe the possibilities at your present firm and why, though you're greatly appreciated there, you're looking for something more (challenge, money, responsibility, etc.). Also mention that you're seriously exploring opportunities with one or two other firms. If you're not working, you can talk about other employment possibilities you're actually exploring. But do this with a light touch, speaking only in general terms. You don't want to seem manipulative or coy.
You want to emphasize factors which have prolonged your job search by your own choice.
Example: “After my job was terminated, I made a conscious decision not to jump on the first opportunities to come along. In my life, I've found out that you can always turn a negative into a positive IF you try hard enough. This is what I determined to do. I decided to take whatever time I needed to think through what I do best, what I most want to do, where I'd like to do it…and then identify those companies that could offer such an opportunity.”
“Also, in all honesty, you have to factor in the recession (consolidation, stabilization, etc.) in the (banking, financial services, manufacturing, advertising, etc.) industry.”
“So between my being selective and the companies in our industry downsizing, the process has taken time. But in the end, I'm convinced that when I do find the right match, all that careful evaluation from both sides of the desk will have been well worthwhile for both the company that hires me and me.
Never be negative. Stress only the good points, no matter how charmingly you're invited to be critical.
Your interviewer doesn't care a whit about your previous boss. He wants to find out how loyal and positive you are, and whether you'll criticize him behind his back if pressed to do so by someone in this own company. This question is your opportunity to demonstrate your loyalty to those you work with.
Begin by emphasizing the extremely positive feedback you've gotten throughout your career and (if it's true) that your performance reviews have been uniformly excellent. Of course, no one is perfect and you always welcome suggestions on how to improve your performance. Then, give an example of a not-too-damaging learning experience from early in your career and relate the ways this lesson has since helped you. This demonstrates that you learned from the experience and the lesson is now one of the strongest breastplates in your suit of armor. If you are pressed for a criticism from a recent position, choose something fairly trivial that in no way is essential to your successful performance. Add that you've learned from this, too, and over the past several years/months, it's no longer an area of concern because you now make it a regular practice to…etc.
Another way to answer this question would be to describe your intention to broaden your master of an area of growing importance in your field. For example, this might be a computer program you've been meaning to sit down and learn… a new management technique you've read about…or perhaps attending a seminar on some cutting-edge branch of your profession.
Again, the key is to focus on something not essential to your brilliant performance but which adds yet another dimension to your already impressive knowledge base
Try to avoid choosing between two values, giving a positive statement which covers all bases instead.
Example: “I would never do anything to hurt the company.”
If aggressively pressed to choose between two competing values, always choose personal integrity. It is the most prized of all values.
Describer a situation that didn't suffer because of you but from external conditions beyond your control.
For example, describe the disappointment you felt with a test campaign, new product launch, merger, etc., which looked promising at first, but led to underwhelming results.” I wish we could have known at the start what we later found out (about the economy turning, the marketplace changing, etc.), but since we couldn't, we just had to go for it. And we did learn from it…”
Example: “I suppose with the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do better, of course, but off the top of my head, I can't think of anything of major consequence.”
Absolutely (then prove it with a vivid example or two of a goal or project accomplished under severe pressure.)
Give an answer that's suited to both your personality and the management style of the firm. Here, the homework you've done about the company and its style can help in your choice of words.
Examples: If you are a reserved person and/or the corporate culture is coolly professional:” I'm an even-tempered and positive person by nature, and I believe this helps me a great deal in keeping my department running smoothly, harmoniously and with a genuine esprit de corps. I believe in communicating clearly what's expected, getting people's commitment to those goals, and then following up continuously to check progress.”
“If anyone or anything is going off track, I want to know about it early. If, after that kind of open communication and follow up, someone isn't getting the job done, I'll want to know why. If there's no good reason, then I'll get impatient and angry…and take appropriate steps from there. But if you hire good people, motivate them to strive for excellence and then follow up constantly, it almost never gets to that state.” If you are feisty by nature and/or the position calls for a tough straw boss” You know what makes me angry$ People who (the fill in the blanks with the most objectionable traits for this type of position)…people who don't pull their own weight, who are negative, people who lie…etc.”
You like to make money, but other factors are even more important.
Example: “Making money is very important to me, and one reason I'm here is because I'm looking to make more. Throughout my career, what's been even more important to me is doing work I really like to do at the kind of company I like and respect.
(Then be prepared to be specific about what your ideal position and company would be like, matching them as closely as possible to the opportunity at hand.
Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the decision was difficult…the process you followed in reaching it…the courageous or effective way you carried it out…and the beneficial results
You have never allowed yourself to grow bored with a job and you can't understand it when others let themselves fall into that rut.
Example: “Perhaps I've been fortunate, but that I've never found myself bored with any job I have ever held. I've always enjoyed hard work. As with actors who feel there are no small parts, I also believe that in every company or department there are exciting challenges and intriguing problems crying out for energetic and enthusiastic solutions. If you're bored, it's probably because you're not challenging yourself to tackle those problems right under your nose.”
If you have had no problem, emphasize your excellent and consistent attendance record throughout your career.
Also describe how important you believe such consistent attendance is for a key executive…why it's up to you to set an example of dedication…and why there's just no substitute for being there with your people to keep the operation running smoothly, answer questions and handle problems and crises as they arise. If you do have a past attendance problem, you want to minimize it, making it clear that it was an exceptional circumstance and that it's cause has been corrected. To do this, give the same answer as above but preface it with something like, “Other that being out last year (or whenever) because of (your reason, which is now in the past), I have never had a problem and have enjoyed an excellent attendance record throughout my career. Furthermore, I believe, consistent attendance is important because…”
First, if you're a confirmed workaholic, this question is a softball lob. Whack it out of the park on the first swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your style. Add that your family understands it. Indeed, they're happy for you, as they know you get your greatest satisfaction from your work.
If however, you prefer a more balanced lifestyle, answer this question with another: “What's the norm for your best people here”
If the hours still sound unrealistic for you, ask, “Do you have any top people who perform exceptionally for you, but who also have families and like to get home in time to see them at night$” Chances are this company does, and this associates you with this other “top-performers-who-leave-not-later-than-six” group.
Depending on the answer, be honest about how you would fit into the picture. If all those extra hours make you uncomfortable, say so, but phrase your response positively.
Example: “I love my work and do it exceptionally well. I think the results speak for themselves, especially in … (mention your two or three qualifications of greater interest to the employer. Remember, this is what he wants most, not a workaholic with weak credentials). Not only would I bring these qualities, but I've built my whole career on working not just hard, but smart. I think you'll find me one of the most productive people here.
First find out where you may have to relocate and how much travel may be involved. Then respond to the question. If there's no problem, say so enthusiastically. If you do have a reservation, there are two schools of thought on how to handle it. One advises you to keep your options open and your reservations to yourself in the early going, by saying, “no problem”. You strategy here is to get the best offer you can, then make a judgment whether it's worth it to you to relocate or travel.
Also, by the time the offer comes through, you may have other offers and can make a more informed decision. Why kill of this opportunity before it has chance to blossom into something really special$ And if you're a little more desperate three months from now, you might wish you hadn't slammed the door on relocating or traveling. The second way to handle this question is to voice a reservation, but assert that you'd be open to relocating (or traveling) for the right opportunity. The answering strategy you choose depends on how eager you are for the job. If you want to take no chances, choose the first approach. If you want to play a little harder-to-get in hopes of generating a more enticing offer, choose the second.
Describe the rational and sensible management process you follow in both hiring and firing.
Example:” My whole management approach is to hire the best people I can find, train them thoroughly and well, get them excited and proud to be part of our team, and then work with them to achieve our goals together. If you do all of that right, especially hiring the right people, I've found you don't have to fire very often.” So with me, firing is a last resort. But when it's got to be done, it's got to be done, and the faster and cleaner, the better. A poor employee can wreak terrible damage in undermining the morale of an entire team of good people. When there's no other way, I've found it's better for all concerned to act decisively in getting rid of offenders who won't change their ways.”
You're generally quite happy with your career progress. Maybe, if you had known something earlier in life (impossible to know at the time, such as the booming growth in a branch in your industry…or the corporate downsizing that would phase out your last job), you might have moved in a certain direction sooner. But all things considered, you take responsibility for where you are, how you've gotten there, where you are going…and you harbor no regrets.
To overcome this objection, you must point to the many ways you have grown and adapted to changing conditions at your present firm. It has not been a static situation. Highlight the different responsibilities you've held, the wide array of new situations you've faced and conquered. As a result, you've learned to adapt quickly to whatever is thrown at you, and you thrive on the stimulation of new challenges.
To further assure the interviewer, describe the similarities between the new position and your prior one. Explain that you should be quite comfortable working there, since their needs and your skills make a perfect match.
First, redefine “difficult” to be “challenging” which is more positive. Then, identify an area everyone in your profession considers challenging and in which you excel. Describe the process you follow that enables you to get splendid results…and be specific about those results.
Example: “I think every sales manager finds it challenging to motivate the troops in a recession. But that's probably the strongest test of a top sales manager. I feel this is one area where I excel.”
“When I see the first sign that sales may slip or that sales force motivation is flagging because of a downturn in the economy, here's the plan I put into action immediately…” (followed by a description of each step in the process…and most importantly, the exceptional results you've achieved.).
Again it's best to:
. Gauge this company's corporate culture before answering and…
. Be honest (which doesn't mean you have to vividly share your fantasy of the franchise
or bed-and-breakfast you someday plan to open).
In general, if the corporate culture is that of a large, formal, military-style structure, minimize any indication that you'd love to have your own business. You might say, “Oh, I may have given it a thought once or twice, but my whole career has been in larger organizations. That's where I have excelled and where I want to be.”
If the corporate culture is closer to the free-wheeling, everybody's-a-deal-maker variety, then emphasize that in a firm like this, you can virtually get the best of all worlds, the excitement of seeing your own ideas and plans take shape…combined with the resources and stability of a well-established organization. Sounds like the perfect environment to you.
In any case, no matter what the corporate culture, be sure to indicate that any desires about running your own show are part of your past, not you're present or future.
The last thing you want to project is an image of either a dreamer who failed and is now settling for the corporate cocoon…or the restless maverick that will fly out the door with key accounts, contacts, and trade secrets under his arms just as soon as his bankroll has gotten rebuilt. Always remember: Match what you want with what the position offers. The more information you've uncovered about the position, the more believable you can make your case
Many executives in a position to hire you are strong believers in goal-setting. (It's one of the reason they've achieved so much). They like to hire in kind.
If you're vague about your career and personal goals, it could be a big turnoff to may people you will encounter in your job search.
Be ready to discuss your goals for each major area of your life: career, personal development and learning, family, physical (health), community service and (if your interviewer is clearly a religious person) you could briefly and generally allude to your spiritual goals (showing you are a well-rounded individual with your values in the right order).
Be prepared to describe each goal in terms of specific milestones you wish to accomplish along the way, time periods you're allotting for accomplishment, why the goal is important to you, and the specific steps you're taking to bring it about. But does this concisely, as you never want to talk more than two minutes straight before letting your interviewer back into the conversation.
For maximum salary negotiating power, remember these five guidelines:
. 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.
. 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$”
. The #1 rule of any negotiation is: the side with more information wins. After you've done a thorough job of selling the interviewer and it's time to talk salary, the secret is to get the employer talking about what he's willing to pay before you reveal what you're willing to accept. So, when asked about salary, respond by asking, “I'm sure the company has already established a salary range for this position. Could you tell me what that is$” Or, “I want an income commensurate with my ability and qualifications. I trust you'll be fair with me. What does the position pay$” Or, more simply, “What does this position pay$”
. 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.
. 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.
State that there was nothing in your prior position that you found overly difficult, and let your answer go at that. If pressed to expand your answer, you could describe the aspects of the position you enjoyed more than others, making sure that you express maximum enjoyment for those tasks most important to the open position, and you enjoyed least those tasks that are unimportant to the position at hand.
TRAPS: This is a common fishing expedition to see what the industry grapevine may be saying about the company. But it's also a trap because as an outsider, you never want to be the bearer of unflattering news or gossip about the firm. It can only hurt your chances and sidetrack the interviewer from getting sold on you.
BEST ANSWER: Just remember the rule - never be negative - and you'll handle this one just fine.
Help him see the qualifications that only you can offer.
Example: “In general, I think it's a good policy to hire from within - to look outside probably means you're not completely comfortable choosing someone from inside.
“Naturally, you want this department to be as strong as it possibly can be, so you want the strongest candidate. I feel that I can fill that bill because… (then recap your strongest qualifications that match up with his greatest needs).”
To cover both possible paths this question can take, your answer should state that you always try to do your best, and the best of your career is right now. Like an athlete at the top of his game, you are just hitting your career stride thanks to several factors. Then, recap those factors, highlighting your strongest qualifications
This type of question is aimed at getting at your bedrock attitude about work and how you feel about what you do. Your best answer will focus on your positive feelings.
Example: “After I floated down from cloud nine, I think I would still hold my basic belief that achievement and purposeful work are essential to a happy, productive life. After all, if money alone bought happiness, then all rich people would be all happy, and that's not true.
“I love the work I do, and I think I'd always want to be involved in my career in some fashion. Winning the lottery would make it more fun because it would mean having more flexibility, more options…who knows”
“Of course, since I can't count on winning, I'd just as soon create my own destiny by sticking with what's worked for me, meaning good old reliable hard work, and a desire to achieve. I think those qualities have built many more fortunes that all the lotteries put together.”
In all of these instances, just remember the tale about student and the wise old rabbi. The scene is a seminary, where an overly serious student is pressing the rabbi to answer the ultimate questions of suffering, life, and death. But no matter how hard he presses, the wise old rabbi will only answer each difficult question with a question of his own.
In exasperation, the seminary student demands, “Why, rabbi, do you always answer a question with another question” To which the rabbi responds, “And why not”
If you are ever uncomfortable with any question, asking a question in return is the greatest escape hatch ever invented. It throws the onus back on the other person, sidetracks the discussion from going into an area of risk to you, and gives you time to think of your answer or, even better, your next question!
In response to any of the “opinion” questions cited above, merely responding, “Why do you ask” will usually be enough to dissipate any pressure to give your opinion. But if your interviewer again presses you for an opinion, you can ask another question.
Give a well-accepted definition of success that leads right into your own stellar collection of achievements.
Example: “The best definition I've come across is that success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.”
“As to how I would measure up to that definition, I would consider myself both successful and fortunate…” (Then summarize your career goals and how your achievements have indeed represented a progressive path toward realization of your goals.)
TRAPS: Illegal questions include any regarding your age…number and ages of your children or other dependents…marital status…maiden name…religion…political affiliation…ancestry…national origin…birthplace…naturalization of your parents, spouse or children…diseases…disabilities…clubs…or spouse's occupation…unless any of the above are directly related to your performance of the job. You can't even be asked about arrests, though you can be asked about convictions.
BEST ANSWER: Under the ever-present threat of lawsuits, most interviewers are well aware of these taboos. Yet you may encounter, usually on a second or third interview, a senior executive who doesn't interview much and forgets he can't ask such questions.
You can handle an illegal question in several ways. First, you can assert your legal right not to answer. But this will frighten or embarrass your interviewer and destroy any rapport you had.
Second, you could swallow your concerns over privacy and answer the question straight forwardly if you feel the answer could help you. For example, your interviewer, a devout Baptist, recognizes you from church and mentions it. Here, you could gain by talking about your church.
Third, if you don't want your privacy invaded, you can diplomatically answer the concern behind the question without answering the question itself.
Example: If you are over 50 and are asked, “How old are you$” you can answer with a friendly, smiling question of your own on whether there's a concern that your age my affect your performance. Follow this up by reassuring the interviewer that there's nothing in this job you can't do and, in fact, your age and experience are the most important advantages you offer the employer for the following reasons…
TRAPS: Being unprepared for the question.
BEST ANSWER: Speak your own thoughts here, but for the best answer weave them around the three most important qualifications for any position.
1. Can the person do the work (qualifications)?
2. Will the person do the work (motivation)?
3. Will the person fit in (“our kind of team player”)?
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”
TRAPS: If you say “yes” and elaborate enthusiastically, you could be perceived as a loose cannon in a larger company, too entrepreneurial to make a good team player…or someone who had to settle for the corporate life because you couldn't make a go of your own business.
Also too much enthusiasm in answering “yes” could rouse the paranoia of a small company indicating that you may plan to go out on your own soon, perhaps taking some key accounts or trade secrets with you.
On the other hand, if you answer “no, never” you could be perceived as a security-minded drone who never dreamed a big dream.
BEST ANSWER: Again it's best to:
1.Gauge this company's corporate culture before answering and…
2.Be honest (which doesn't mean you have to vividly share your fantasy of the franchise or bed-and-breakfast you someday plan to open).
In general, if the corporate culture is that of a large, formal, military-style structure, minimize any indication that you'd love to have your own business. You might say, “Oh, I may have given it a thought once or twice, but my whole career has been in larger organizations. That's where I have excelled and where I want to be.”
This is an easy question if you're prepared. Have a recent example ready that demonstrates either:
1. A quality most important to the job at hand; or
2. A quality that is always in demand, such as leadership, initiative, managerial skill, persuasiveness, courage, persistence, intelligence, etc.
If you are in fact a workaholic and you sense this company would like that: Say you are a confirmed workaholic, that you often work nights and weekends. Your family accepts this because it makes you fulfilled.
If you are not a workaholic: Say you have always worked hard and put in long hours. It goes with the territory. It one sense, it's hard to keep track of the hours because your work is a labor of love, you enjoy nothing more than solving problems. So you're almost always thinking about your work, including times when you're home, while shaving in the morning, while commuting, etc.
Keep this answer, like all your answers, positive. A good way to answer this question is to identify a cutting-edge branch of your profession (one that's not essential to your employer's needs) as an area you're very excited about and want to explore more fully over the next six months.
Express your concern that you'd like to keep your job search private, but that in time, it will be perfectly okay.
Example: “My present employer is not aware of my job search and, for obvious reasons; I'd prefer to keep it that way. I'd be most appreciative if we kept our discussion confidential right now. Of course, when we both agree the time is right, then by all means you should contact them. I'm very proud of my record there.
Give me an example of your creativity (analytical skill…managing ability, etc.)
You should commit to memory a list of your greatest and most recent achievements, ever ready on the tip of your tongue.
If you have such a list, it's easy to present any of your achievements in light of the quality the interviewer is asking about. For example, the smashing success you orchestrated at last year's trade show could be used as an example of creativity, or analytical ability, or your ability to manage.
Try to gauge the political style of the firm and be guided accordingly. In general, fall back on universal principles of effective human relations - which in the end, embody the way you would like to be treated in a similar circumstance.
Example: “Good human relations would call for me to go directly to the person and explain the situation, to try to enlist his help in a constructive, positive solution. If I sensed resistance, I would be as persuasive as I know how to explain the benefits we can all gain from working together, and the problems we, the company and our customers will experience if we don't.”
Remember the rule stated earlier: In any conflict between values, always choose integrity.
Example: I believe that when evaluating anything, it's important to emphasize the positive. What do I like about this idea”
“Then, if you have reservations, I certainly want to point them out, as specifically, objectively, and factually as I can.”
“After all, the most important thing I owe my boss is honesty. If he can't count on me for that, then everything else I may do or say could be questionable in his eyes.”
“But I also want to express my thoughts in a constructive way. So my goal in this case would be to see if my boss and I could make his idea even stronger and more appealing, so that it effectively overcomes any initial reservation I or others may have about it.”
“Of course, if he overrules me and says, ‘no, let's do it my way,' then I owe him my full and enthusiastic support to make it work as best it can.”
Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of Directors” - Leaders in your industry, from history or anyone else who has been your mentor.
Be prepared to give examples of how their words, actions, or teachings have helped inspire your achievements. As always, prepare an answer which highlights qualities that would be highly valuable in the position you are seeking.
I'm concerned that you don't have as much experience as we'd like in…
This question is related to “The Fatal Flaw” (Question 18), but here the concern is not that you are totally missing some qualifications, such as CPA certification, but rather that your experience is light in one area.
Before going into any interview, try to identify the weakest aspects of your candidacy from this company's point of view. Then prepare the best answer you possible can to shore up your defenses.
To get past this question with flying colors, you are going to rely on your master strategy of uncovering the employer's greatest wants and needs and then matching them with your strengths. Since you already know how to do this from Question 1, you are in a much stronger position.
More specifically, when the interviewer poses as objection like this, you should…
Best use one of the team oriented technique,
Like 6 thinking hats;
Just tell the whole team to focus on each type of act for 3 mins;
Like information- what is the subject/objective of the meeting with given information,
feelings (30 secs) - to know how the whole group reacts
Caution- the fear of doing it or not doing it
Creativity- how to overcome with better solutions
Benefits- on the whole to the company
Managing the whole show as a leader, will bring down your time and make the team to be more focused with short time.
Do not say any bad things about the college. Put forward a positive point.
Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an opportunity, a chance to do something special or other forward-looking reasons.
The interviewer is likely fishing to see if you are interested in your field of work or just do a job to get paid. Explain why you like it. Besides your personal interests, include some rock-solid business reasons that show you have vision and business sense.
Answer with positive, work-oriented adjectives, such as conscientious, hard-working, honest, and courteous, plus a brief description or example of why each fits you well.
Answer in terms of the skills and personal qualities you have relevant to the job. You may refer to your academic qualifications, relevant sections of university courses, experience in the workplace, leisure activities, or personal qualities.
Explain why you are interested in the organization. If you have had a long-term interest in them, say so. If location is significant, you could mention this after talking about your interest in the firm. Try not to focus on what you will get from the organization, but the qualities you will bring to them. You could mention that you see the position as offering challenge, a chance to learn new things and to enhance and develop skills and abilities necessary for the position.
This is a good time to talk about training or promotion opportunities giving some idea of long-term career plans. There may be aspects of the organization's work that really interest you, and you may wish to move into another area of that organization later on. The interviewer is probably trying to assess your enthusiasm and ambition.
In your preparation for the interview you would have developed a good understanding of the duties and personal attributes listed in the job description, as well as finding out about the goals and objectives of the organization. Think about tangible results you might be able to achieve on the job that contribute to those goals and objectives. The interviewer is not so interested here in what tasks or duties you plan to have completed, but how you go about planning and assessing your own performance. Are there any practical ways you currently measure your success in part-time work or study e.g. sales figures, grades, feedback from your supervisor or lecturer$
You have to focus more closely on the specific duties outlined in the job description or what your understanding of typical tasks for this kind of job would be. Again, cover the kinds of skills, interests, or knowledge from previous study or work that you would bring to the position.
If you are flexible about your long-term plans say so, however, it pays to give a general picture of what interests you now, and how you see that developing. You should not commit yourself to a long-term period with an employer if you do not honestly feel that you can do so. At this stage you may not be in a position to know how long you would see yourself staying in any one job. On the other hand, you are keen to put to work the skills that you have developed. Avoid ‘I don't know' and a shrug of the shoulders, as an employer is usually trying to assess how motivated and interested you are!
Your answer will give evidence of whether or not you are the sort of person who plans ahead. Remember that fewer and fewer employers expect all their employees to make a life-long career in their organization. You may want to express a desire to progress as rapidly as ability and opportunities allow within the organization, or what you would like to do on a broader scale.
Do not commit yourself to a specific time unless you are quite clear on this. Indicate you anticipate staying in the position for as long as it takes to learn the job and to gain experience in it, and that you then hope to move on within the organization. After making a comment yourself, you can always turn this question back to the employer and ask how long they would expect you to stay with them.
Answer in terms of the qualifications, skills and interests that you have which are relevant to the position, i.e. summaries your suitability. Where a job description is available before the interview, make sure you have studied it thoroughly as part of your preparation for the interview. Your reply should be based on the required skills outlined in the job description. Do not compare yourself with other applicants even if you know some of them. If you are invited by the interviewers to compare yourself with other applicants, politely state that you are not in a position to judge others, and leave that side of the interviewing to them!
Tell us about yourself
If this is asked at the beginning of the interview give a quick run down of your qualifications and experience to date, and then ask whether the interviewer(s) would like you to expand. If the question is asked towards the end of the interview and you have already talked a lot about yourself, then this is the opportunity for you to elaborate on any positive points and put across any messages you have not had the chance to give so far.
Be honest. This question is often used during graduate recruitment. Your approach to job hunting indicates how you approach challenges. Employers are aware of the competitiveness of the job market. They would be most surprised if you indicated that you have not applied for other jobs and may question your initiative or motivation.
If you are not a student/graduate participating in a university recruitment programmed, you may wish to approach this question more carefully. The interviewer may be looking to ascertain how focused and clearly defined your job objective may be.
Give examples of situations where you have been under pressure and ways in which you have positively handled it. Remember this is a typical example of a question where there is no one correct answer. The employer is more interested in whether you have developed strategies for coping under pressure rather than in what these strategies are.
This is a leading question. If you have been called for an interview it is unlikely the employer considers you greatly over qualified. Otherwise they could not justify the time spent interviewing you. Do not apologies for your degree. Rather state your willingness to start at the bottom and work your way up, your enthusiasm for the organization and your desire to develop a broader range of skills. Emphasize skills such as fact finding, analysis, your capacity to acquire new knowledge quickly, rather than the specific content of your degree. Some employers are more interested in what you can offer in the ‘practical hands-on' sense than in the ‘academic' sense!
Once again the employer is seeking to ascertain how mature you are and your awareness of yourself as a person. If you have a job description, you may find it useful to focus on where you see your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the tasks listed. Remember weaknesses can be turned into strengths. Talk about the strategies you use for dealing with that weakness, or its positive side e.g. taking time to make decisions may slow you down, but on the other hand you are not impulsive. Listing too many weaknesses will type you as very negative. You may have to admit that you do not have a particular type of experience called for however you may be able to give evidence of your ability to determine the skills required. Don't bring up too many weaknesses - one or two will suffice!
Your answer will reveal the amount of homework you have done before the interview. For example, if the company has products in the market place look for these at points of sale. Use your initiative to find out as much as you can about the organization and during the interview cite ways in which you have gone about finding out this information.
This question is generally more common in the private sector when you have applied for a position with no identified salary scale. Where the salary range is unknown it is very important to investigate comparable rates elsewhere before you attend the interview. Never discuss salary until the end of the interviewing procedure, when they have actually offered you the position. If the question is asked before the offer, reply along the lines that until an offer is made, you feel any discussion of salary is premature. You might also add that as a reputable organization, you expect that they will be paying a fair and competitive salary for the position. Please note that when an offer is made talk about a range rather than a fixed figure. Since the employer created the position, they will already have some figure in mind. Find out what that is, use your salary research, and don't undersell you.
It is important that you do have questions for the following reasons:
* In order to make your own assessment of the job you need to find out as much as possible about what the job is really like, or more information about the organization;
* To show your serious interests in the position and preparation for the interview;
* To further outline achievements and skills not covered so far in the interview. This is a good time to ask the employer what skills they consider to be the most critical for the position and whether they see a gap in the skills you have to offer. This will give you an opportunity to identify skills and/or experiences which have not yet come up during the interview.
Avoid the impression of aimlessness or uncertainty. It is fine to major in a subject because of your interests. However be willing to talk about this interest. Show evidence of knowledge, positive attitude towards study, and an understanding of skills and knowledge you have gained.
This is generally asked by employers seeking a fuller picture of you or to help you relax during the interview. Finding out about your other interests and leisure activities gives employers another opportunity to uncover skills and abilities which may not have been discussed. Other activities also give employers a chance to assess your enthusiasm, curiosity, and quality of life.
Answer in terms of job objectives, training, and experience available or future prospects. Do not answer in terms of pay or overseas travel or other indications of self rather than job interest.
This question is asked to find out more about your social and interpersonal skills. Quote examples of past participation in teams, committees, or community organizations. Avoid discussing reasons why you do not get on with certain people. This is a good opportunity to give evidence of any situations which you may have had to use skills of negotiation, motivation or conflict resolution.
Consider what would be the requirements of the ‘new' job/organization and find something in your past that highlights a skill, experience or situation that might occur or be needed going forward. It is always a good idea to make lists in preparation for interviews. This will not only give you 'short stories' to relate in an interview, it will also bolster your confidence and target your job search.
Tell us about a project or piece of research you have worked on while at university.
This is a question commonly asked at graduate recruitment interviews. The interviewers are not particularly concerned about which research/project you choose to give as an example, but are more interested in finding out the steps you took in completing the project/research. By examining ‘why' and ‘how' these steps were taken, the interviewers can get an idea of some of the skills you possess, and assess your ability to solve problems. Skills identified in your answer may include: preparation and planning, team work, time management, organizing and researching. Interviewers may also ask you to elaborate further on this issue by asking questions such as ‘what did you learn from this project' and ‘why do you consider this project to be an achievement'
On the job, there are many possible sources of conflict. Conflicts with: fellow employees management rules, procedures clients, customers demands of work vs. personal life, family The best way to approach a good answer is to look at if from the employers point of view-they want to be your first priority and they want you to solve problems (not bring them any). “I know everything cannot run smoothly at work all the time. When there is a conflict I usually try to determine the source of the problem and see if it can be solved. This might involve other members of the work team discussing the problem and offering possible solutions. I would then try to pick the solution which appears to have the best outcome and put it into action.” A natural follow-up to this would be: Tell me when you solved a conflict at work. So, have a brief example, a short story… to illustrate your approach. Even if not asked, you can offer your story! If it proves your point and accentuates a skill needed for the position, go with it.
If you were on a merry-go-round, what song would be playing$ If you were going to be an animal on the merry-go-round, what would you be$”
Preparing to answer this question requires a 2-step preparation: assessing your skills and researching the needs of the company. An integral part of skill assessment (looking at your own experience, education and talents) is to 'skill-match'. Considering the job opening, what are the skills needed$ Make a list of the requisite skills (in priority order) and then list concrete examples of your possession of the skill. For example: a sales representative would need good interpersonal skills, the ability to deal with difficult people. For ‘proof' of this skill, you could list experiences and examples of how you were successful in a difficult situation. These matched skills are your key selling points. Next, what appears to be the current problems at the organization, based upon your research$ What are their needs that you can meet$ In other words, given the specifics of the company, what value can you add$ After these two steps, you are in a great position to come up with concrete examples of what you can offer the company. This question, by the way, is just another version of “Why should we hire you$” In the interview, when asked this question, you could respond with: “In my experience in sales, I know having the ability to deal effectively with all types of people is not merely a positive element - it is an essential one. With your plans to expand into ____ market, a sales representative with a proven ability to meet with all types of people and to be able to assess and meet their immediate needs would be a great asset. In the past __ years, I have increased sales __… ..”
Has this ever happened to you$ No one expects perfection actually, employers are more interested in your ability to cope, to learn from mistakes, and to deal with others who are less than perfect. If you have an example, certainly pick one that happened a while back, was not earth shattering in the results, and one which you learned and applied this knowledge recently. This is a version of ‘damning with faint praise' by picking an incident that was minor in scope but, since you are so wise and are always willing to learn, has taught you a valuable lesson.
Tell me a story.
Many interviewers like to hear 'stories' or examples from your work life. So pick something that is more usual than not (not the day of a plant explosion and you saved 10 lives!) but a story that shows how you handle yourself, handle difficult people or situations. Can you think on your feet$ Do you adhere to the rules$ Consider the type of organization you are aiming at, each has its own culture. Gear your stories to give the listener a feeling that you could fit in, you could do the job here.
No one can make goals for you. It comes down to where you are in your professional life and what you want to do. Most people have 5-6 careers in their working lifetime, some with 2 careers going at the same time (like us). The best advice is to be certain to relate your answers to the organization that interviews you. Do not make a point of having goals that cannot be realized. No one is going to come back to you in five years and chastise you for not meeting these goals! You will not be held to them, it is only an interview and they are interested in how you see yourself (and they want to see you in the job.)
Tell us about your analytical skills.
This should be easy if you have done a realistic skill inventory for yourself, listing what skills you do have and how you can offer proof of this skill (where you learned it, last used it). Working off your inventory, focus on various analytical skills and match them to the skills you feel are most important for the job you are considering. You can now give specific examples of skills you can offer. (Do not neglect skills obtained in extracurricular activities, such as volunteer work.)
As an employee you have several responsibilities to your employer. They are as follows: to perform a good day's work to be loyal to act as part of the team to value the relationship to earn the employer's trust to grow with a passion for the product/service.
Say that, all-in-all; you're happy with the way your career has progressed so far. Given the normal ups and downs of life, you feel that you've done quite well and have no complaints.
Present a positive and confident picture of yourself, but don't overstate your case. An answer like, “Everything's wonderful! I can't think of a time when things were going better! I'm overjoyed!” is likely to make an interviewer wonder whether you're trying to fool him . . . or yourself. The most convincing confidence is usually quiet confidence.
10 Steps to a Successful Interview
1. Arrive on time.
2. Introduce yourself in a courteous manner.
3. Read company materials while you wait.
4. Have a firm handshake.
6. Use body language to show interest.
7. Smile, nod, and give nonverbal feedback to the interviewer.
8. Ask about the next step in the process.
9. Thank the interviewer.
10. Write a thank-you letter to anyone you have spoken to.
Refer back to the planning phase of your job search. Don't answer, “I want the job you've advertised.” Relate your goals to the company you are interviewing: ‘in a firm like yours, I would like to…”
Salary is a delicate topic. We suggest that you defer tying yourself to a precise figure for as long as you can do so politely. You might say, “I understand that the range for this job is between $______ and $______. That seems appropriate for the job as I understand it.” You might answer the question with a question: “Perhaps you can help me on this one. Can you tell me if there is a range for similar jobs in the organization$”
If you are asked the question during an initial screening interview, you might say that you feel you need to know more about the position's responsibilities before you could give a meaningful answer to that question. Here, too, either by asking the interviewer or search executive (if one is involved), or in research done as part of your homework, you can try to find out whether there is a salary grade attached to the job. If there is, and if you can live with it, say that the range seems right to you.
If the interviewer continues to probe, you might say, “You know that I'm making $______ now. Like everyone else, I'd like to improve on that figure, but my major interest is with the job itself.” Remember that the act of taking a new job does not, in and of itself, make you worth more money.
Say that this is one reason that you are conducting this job search. Don't be defensive.
Be as positive as you can. A potential boss is likely to wonder if you might talk about him in similar terms at some point in the future.
Be careful and be positive. Describe more features that you liked than disliked. Don't cite personality problems. If you make your last job sound terrible, an interviewer may wonder why you remained there until now.
Mention that you are concerned, naturally, but not panicked. You are willing to accept some risk to find the right job for yourself. Don't suggest that security might interest you more than getting the job done successfully.
Be brief, to the point, and as honest as you can without hurting yourself. Refer back to the planning phase of your job search where you considered this topic as you set your reference statements. If you were laid off in an across-the-board cutback, say so; otherwise, indicate that the move was your decision, the result of your action. Do not mention personality conflicts.
The interviewer may spend some time probing you on this issue, particularly if it is clear that you were terminated. The “We agreed to disagree” approach may be useful. Remember hat your references are likely to be checked, so don't concoct a story for an interview.
Be prepared with two or three trends that illustrate how well you understand your industry. You might consider technological challenges or opportunities, economic conditions, or even regulatory demands as you collect your thoughts about the direction in which your business is heading.
Mention planning, execution, and cost-control. The most difficult task is to motivate and manage employees to get something planned and completed on time and within the budget.
Admit that the situation was not easy, but say that it worked out well, both for the company and, you think, for the individual. Show that, like anyone else, you don't enjoy unpleasant tasks but that you can resolve them efficiently and -in the case of firing someone- humanely.
Think in terms of skills, initiative, and the adaptability to be able to work comfortably and effectively with others. Mention that you like to hire people who appear capable of moving up in the organization.
Keep your answer achievement and ask-oriented. Rely on examples from your career to buttress your argument. Stress your experience and your energy.
You should know enough about the company's style to know that your management style will complement it. Possible styles include: task oriented (I'll enjoy problem-solving identifying what's wrong, choosing a solution and implementing it”), results-oriented (”Every management decision I make is determined by how it will affect the bottom line”), or even paternalistic (”I'm committed to taking care of my subordinates and pointing them in the right direction”).
A participative style is currently quite popular: an open-door method of managing in which you get things done by motivating people and delegating responsibility.
As you consider this question, think about whether your style will let you work happily and effectively within the organization.
Emphasize your interest in establishing a long-term association with the organization, and say that you assume that if you perform well in his job, new opportunities will open up for you. Mention that a strong company needs a strong staff. Observe that experienced executives are always at a premium. Suggest that since you are so well qualified, the employer will get a fast return on his investment. Say that a growing, energetic company can never have too much talent.
List three or four attractive factors of the job, and mention a single, minor, unattractive item.
Here you have every right, and perhaps an obligation, to toot your own horn and be a bit egotistical. Talk about your record of getting things done, and mention specifics from your resume or list of career accomplishments. Say that your skills and interests, combined with this history of getting results, make you valuable. Mention your ability to set priorities, identify problems, and use your experience and energy to solve them.
You should be able to discuss products or services, revenues, reputation, image, goals, problems, management style, people, history and philosophy. But don't act as if you know everything about the place. Let your answer show that you have taken the time to do some research, but don't overwhelm the interviewer, and make it clear that you wish to learn more.
You might start your answer in this manner: “In my job search, I've investigated a number of companies.
Yours is one of the few that interests me, for these reasons…”
Give your answer a positive tone. Don't say, “Well, everyone tells me that you're in all sorts of trouble, and that's why I'm here”, even if that is why you're there.
Do your homework before the interview! Spend some time online or at the library researching the company. Find out as much as you can, including products, size, income, reputation, image, management talent, people, skills, history, and philosophy. Project an informed interest; let the interviewer tell you about the company.
Tell me about yourself.
Since this is often the opening question in an interview, be extra careful that you don't run off at the mouth. Keep your answer to a minute or two at most. Cover four topics: early years, education, work history, and recent career experience. Emphasize this last subject. Remember that this is likely to be a warm-up question. Don't waste your best points on it.
Don't talk about what you want; first, talk about their needs: You would like to be part of a specific company project; you would like to solve a company problem; you can make a definite contribution to specific company goals.
What they really want to know is… What can you do for us that someone else can't$ Relate past experiences that show you've had success in solving previous employer problem(s) that may be similar to those of the prospective employer. Make sure you have a strongly worded Employment History section in your resume that you can refer to.
I will look for an opportunity to use my skills, to perform and be recognized.
Not long at all - you expect only a brief period of adjustment to the learning curve.
Please give me your definition of the position for which you are being interviewed).
Keep it brief - give an action- and results-oriented definition.
As long as we both feel I'm contributing, achieving, growing, etc.
Posted in EJB Interview Questions, HR Interview Questions
Because an EJB consists of multiple “parts”, inheritance is achievable in a rather limited fashion (see FAQ answer on inheritance here). There have been noteworthy suggestions on using multiple inheritance of the remote interface to achieve polymorphism, but the problem of how to share method signatures across whole EJBs remains to be addressed. The following is one solution to achieving polymorphism with Session Beans. It has been tried and tested on Web Logic Apps Server 4.50 with no problems so far.
We will use an example to show how it's done. Say, there are 2 session beans, Tiger and Lion that share some method signatures but provide different implementations of the methods.
• Animal Home and Animal are the home and remote interfaces. The signatures of the polymorphic methods are in Animal.
• Animal Bean is the base implementation bean.
• Tiger Bean and Lion Bean extend from Animal Bean. They may override the methods of Animal Bean, implementing different behaviors.
All is not lost! Just because they know your current salary or salary expectations doesn't mean you can't negotiate for a fair market value.
Once you've broken the sound barrier, so to speak, on your salary, you at least have one advantage: no more tug-o-war between you and your potential employer about revealing salary.
If salary bumped you out of interviewing, it will be hard to gain reentry at all, and even if you do, it might be at the price of an informal pre-interview agreement that if chosen, you'll consider a pay cut.
If you're still in the running, however, your “disclosed” circumstances make it doubly important to do your research well. In this case, you don't need to address salary again until there's an offer. At that point use researched facts, not your past salary, to substantiate your salary request.
When they've decided on YOU, that is, when they're making you the offer, not your competitor(s), then it's time to make the move away from the number you disclosed to your ideal compensation. Don't let your past salary be the starting point for negotiations. Let your own satisfaction and joy of receiving great pay is the motivating force behind you at this point.
106. What exactly do you want to know Does it understand more about a job or career Do you want to learn how to write a Blog, a book or start a business$ Create a list of questions that you will ask the person you are meeting with so that you do not forget anything. This will also help him understand what information is most useful for you so that the conversation doesn't wander during your meeting. Prepare and write down your questions ahead of time but do not bombard him with too many. It is okay to take notes during the meeting.
As a college student or recent college grad informational interviews are a necessary and useful way to gather as much information as possible about jobs, industries and careers.
If used well, an informational interview is one of the most valuable sources of information. Why$ Because it enables you to get an intimate perspective of the experiences and impressions someone has in a much less stressful situation then an actual job interview.
Here are some guidelines for getting informational interviews, conducting them and what to expect from them.
Negotiating Salary: Do Not Regret Disclosure
Develop some initial thoughts about problems the company might be facing and how you and your expertise represent solutions.
Clarify your value.
What do you have to offer$ Think about what you know, what you can do, and how you can help a company. Make a list of the three, four, or five most important assets you bring to the table and be sure you phrase these in terms of value/benefit to the company, not simply knowledge or experience. For example, “five years of experience in business development within IT services industry” is not particularly meaningful to an employer. Instead, phrase it this way: “five-year track record of developing new IT services business with Fortune 1 clients in every major market in the Midwest.” Now that's something a company will be interested in acquiring.
You might come up with six, ten, or even more areas of value or expertise. (Hint: Most of these should be present in your resume.) In preparing for your interview, pare your list to those that are most relevant to the company and the position at hand. Focus your interview preparation on these critical areas.
Prepare CAR stories that communicate your value.
This is the classic question most of us hear during an interview. It's often preceded by the phrase, “I've already interviewed another person for this position who looks perfect.” Then the killer question, “Why should I hire YOU$”
Be careful to avoid clever retorts or comedic one-liners here. Your interview is serious business and a wrong answer will send you packing. This is, in fact, the one question that interviewers like to ask because the answer can so easily separate the contenders from the also-rans. Give a wrong answer and the large “Game Over” sign flashes above your head.
What they really want to know is, “What's special or different about you$”, or “How are you different than all the other candidates who have applied for this position$”. With this in mind, a good way to approach your answer here is to launch into your best “story” that answers this question, “Will you go the extra mile$”
Why is the employer asking why they should hire you$ Because there are only 5 areas of interest that they have about you as a candidate:
1. Your skills
2. Your knowledge about the company
3. Your manageability
4. Your affordability
5. Whether you can go above and beyond your job description.
Let's face it most of us wouldn't work for anyone else if we didn't need the money. So money is an important part of the employment relationship. If your current salary is far below the salary range of the job that you are interviewing for, the hiring manager will want to understand why. Perhaps your current employer pays below market rate$ Or, it could mean that your skill set isn't as developed as the job requires. If you are selected for a job that pays significantly more than you are currently making an employer may make you a salary offer that falls near the bottom of the salary range. The reason that some employers do this is so that they have more latitude to reward you for good performance with merit increases and promotions than if they had paid you at the top of the salary range. If your current salary is higher than the range for the job you are interviewing for, you may not want to interview for a job that pays so much less. On the other hand, maybe you are willing to take a pay cut to join a really elite team. If that is the case this topic needs to be discussed in an interview.
110. In most companies hiring managers make decisions about how to allocate their budgets. Generally HR representatives are messengers who report your past salary, salary requirements etc to the hiring manager. In some organizations the HR manager negotiates on behalf of the hiring manager. Find out that makes the final decision about salary and perks and, if possible, deal directly with that person.
Type of company (small private company, company with VC money, large corporation, public sector)
Large companies may have more money but they usually have more policies, procedures, and bureaucracy. In many large companies hiring mangers may not have a lot of latitude to offer larger salaries to new hires. In small companies there may be more latitude but they may have fewer resources. If you think your skill set is worthy of a large salary making a case for that during the hiring process. Make sure your resume sells your unique accomplishments and skills (back this information up with metrics when possible) and be sure to discuss those things when you interview.
the less experience you have and the less unique your skill set the less room you have to negotiate
With whom are you negotiating? (Hiring manager, HR representative, executive recruiter)
Jobs that come with big benefits, big bonuses, perks (use of company plane), company cars, tuition reimbursement, sometimes have less flexible salaries because the employer realizes that the job is going to provide lots of other compensation.
Profitable companies in growing industries are more likely to offer higher salaries so do your homework about the company and industry before trying to negotiate salary or benefits.
If you are entry level or a fairly junior player without specialized skills and experience you just don't have a lot of room to negotiate. You may be able to get a higher salary if, say, you have to commute further to the new job or you need to buy a car to drive to the new job. If that is the case, mention it to the hiring manager and ask if they would consider additional compensation to cover your additional commute costs. If that isn't an option for them perhaps you can negotiate a flexible work situation that includes telecommuting for part of the week. You may also be able to negotiate additional days off or tuition reimbursement. Many companies have a dollar amount that they offer to junior employees - particularly those who join the company as a member of training program or a class (i.e.: first year Big 4 auditors or consultants) and that number tends to be pretty rigid.
Step #1 - Study the job description and organization to identify the criteria for the job (not “requirements”). The criteria are likely to be “soft skills,” e.g., flexibility, team orientation, interpersonal skills, etc. Create a grid, with the criteria on the left and your previous employers across the top.
Step #2 - Fill-in the cells with a note about each employer/accomplishment that addresses the new job criteria. (Without the ability to post a table online, I can't provide a good-looking sample - contact this author for a complimentary copy of this worksheet...)
Step #3 - Once you've completed this “homework,” use your notes to prepare for questions and conversation with the interviewers. Be careful to limit your responses to three - four crisp sentences, using the Problem (Challenge) - Action - Result model.
Ironically, you'll need to rehearse these responses so you can deliver them in a style that appears to be totally spontaneous!
Rehearse wherever you are alone and won't feel silly talking out loud to yourself, e.g., while driving, drying your hair, etc. Preparation is the key to nailing the behavioral interview.
If you're reading this article, you probably understand that job successful job seekers talk about what they have accomplished in previous positions, and present a “mini-business plan” to relate to the needs of a prospective employer. Review the following list to be sure you are prepared to nail behavioral interviews:
* You have clearly and concisely described one - two “success stories” for each of your previous employers, using the Problem (Challenge) - Action - Result model.
* You have analyzed your accomplishment stories to identify the personal qualities, skills, and areas of knowledge that made it possible for you to achieve your successes.
117. Many studies have shown that interviewing does not provide the company with the best candidate for the job. Does that mean that interviewing is bad? No, it's more that most interviewers are not that good. Very often, you'll be interviewed by a recruiter who doesn't know that much about the job, a human resource professional that knows about the company but not about your specialty, or by a hiring manager who knows their area but hasn't been trained in interviewing techniques. Plus, interviewing often ends up being subjective and coming down to what kind of connection you have with the interviewer. That being said, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of a successful outcome in your interviews.
1. Research the company beforehand. If you come in to the interview knowing about the company through research on their website, perhaps through talking to people who've worked there, etc., you will come across like a professional who is serious about finding a good match with an employer.
2. You should do as much listening as possible in the interview to find out what the employer is looking for. The more you know about what the employer wants the better you can tailor your responses so that they fit in with the employer's vision for the position. This doesn't mean you should lie or exaggerate. However, knowing more about what qualities are important to the employer will help you determine which aspects of your experience, personality, vision for your career, and vision for how you can help them to emphasize. For example, if an employer is most concerned about finding someone with good people skills, you'd be better off talking about how well you work with people and how you like working with others than you'd be talking about your great computer skills (although it would be important to talk about computer skills too if the employer's interested in that).
Given the dot-com meltdown, frequent corporate downsizing, family situations, and the never-ending parade of mergers and acquisitions, more leadership professionals than ever are presenting a gap in between jobs to their next employer.
If this situation applies to you, remember that you are in good company! I would estimate that nearly a third of my clients have experienced a period of unemployment at one time or another.
This will make it much easier to market your skills for an executive or management role.
I have compiled three highly effective tips you can use when presenting an interruption in your work history to a potential employer:
1) Remember that hiring authorities see gaps all the time… but they will also expect to see career progression, PLUS and explanation. This is a critical point! In order to deflect questions about short-term gaps, ensure that your résumé shows some strong areas of growth throughout your professional history. This can make the gap seem more like a blip in your career.
Also, be prepared to explain the gap itself by pointing to an activity that filled it, such as volunteer work, caring for an ill family member, or launching a business, in order to explain time in between jobs.
2) If possible, give a name to the gap itself. Give readers of your résumé an idea of what you did to fill your time by using a between-jobs “title” such as Consulting, Sabbatical, Leave of Absence, or Family Management.
But what if the gap was short enough that you were merely searching for work? You can just leave it “as is,” while still preparing your explanation. This leads to the next tip, which is…
You've just completed an interview for a position that interests you, or perhaps you met with a networking contact who offered some insight into your job search. Now that the interview is over, it's time to swing into action with some memorable follow up activities. Depending on the nature of your interview, follow up can take several forms. What you do can greatly influence whether you succeed in generating a second interview or benefit from your networking meeting. Review the checklist below for specific activities that may apply to you.
Thank you note:
A thank you note should be sent immediately following an interview to each person with whom you met. A thank you note may be handwritten if it is brief (the “bread-and-butter” thank yours our mothers taught us when we were children). However, a more effective follow-up is a word processed letter that reinforces the points you made during the interview and reiterates your qualifications for the position. Thank you notes should always be personalized. If you are writing to more than one person at a company following a group or successive interview, do not send the same note to each; vary your missives so that the person reading it knows you recall and related to the specific information they provided.
121. If you were shopping for a new car, what would you think if all the Honda or Lexus or Toyota brochures had apostrophes in the wrong place? Or misspelled words? Or glaring grammatical errors? Would you know?
Preparation of additional information/documentation-
During the interview, did you offer to put together a rough outline of a marketing idea you discussed? Were you asked to forward your college transcripts? Did you volunteer to send a great article you'd read about manufacturing in rural areas? Be prompt, precise, and proactive in providing additional material that may help support your candidacy. You may cover these materials with a brief handwritten note or your business card with a word or two jotted on the back.
Follow up phone calls.
It is perfectly appropriate to follow up with the interviewer after a period of time to determine the status of the position and your candidacy. One of your final questions at the end of your interview might be, “When may I expect to hear from you? May I check back with you in two weeks?” Enter the date in your calendar and follow up as promised.
A successful networking interview should result in additional contact names. Follow through on all leads, and give occasional status updates to the person who originally referred you.
I've become increasingly concerned about the ignorance of Americans - not those who have learned English as a second language, but native English speakers - regardless of race, income level, schooling or other determining factors.
The number of people who read seems to be decreasing in direct proportion to the number of kids growing up with portable DVDs, and ipods. Television has become the preferred babysitter for children and the most effective way for adults to anesthetize themselves after a day's work. Teachers, overworked and underpaid, seem to be fighting a losing battle - or are some perpetuating it?
These days I see egregious (horrible, outrageous, astoundingly bad) grammatical errors on resumes and cover letters, web sites, signs, emails to me…..regardless of management or income level. Job hunters write asking me for “advise” (it should be “advice.” “Advice” is the noun; “to advise” is a verb). Some of these are written by people who are in the job market hoping to be invited in for an interview, and their paperwork is full of punctuation and grammatical mistakes. Were they careless? Or do they not know? Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe the hiring authority doesn't know the difference either.
* Will this candidate be a good choice?
* Will they make me look good or bad?
* Will they be able to do this job?
* Will they get up and running quickly?
* Will they follow through with what they said during their interviews?
If you answer the employer's questions better than anyone else, you will have a good shot at getting the job. This means being prepared. If you prepare, you can go into problem-solving mode. So, rather than “please pick me,” you will be able to tell a company how you are going to be an asset.
A job interview is a screening tool. For you, it's an opportunity to assess whether or not you want to work for a company. For the employer, it's an opportunity to decide whether or not they want to hire you. Both sides are looking for a match.
Interviews bring up nervous questions for job seekers, such as:
* Will I fit in?
* Will they like me?
* Will they see that I am the best candidate for the position?
1. Research, research, and then research some more. Prospective employers expect you to be well-informed about the company, its products and services, and the industry as a whole in general. Plan to spend quite a bit of time on the company's web site. Look at their mission, news releases, product releases, etc.
Read articles about what the company and the industry are going through. Speak to people who work there. Know the company's view of itself, as well as what people who don't work for that company think about it. You are looking for indications of where a company is going and what problems the company and the industry are having. Knowledge is power. The more you know before the interview, the more confident you will be when you are there.
2. Know the job description intimately. If you want to do well during an interview, you have to know what the company wants you to do. This information is in the job description. Go through the bulleted list of requirements in the job description, one-by-one, and come up with an example of how you have successfully done what they are looking for in either your current or past positions.
3. Make a list of questions you may be asked during the interview. List questions you can easily answer as well as those you wish would not be brought up, but you know will be. Go through each question and write out your answers for each.
The first thing that comes to your mind after getting your degree is to find a lucrative job in your chosen field. The job market is highly competitive and it is important to prepare yourself before you start your job search. Multiple careers, downsizing workforces, and a lack of job security are realities of today's job market.
There's nothing called a ‘lifetime career' anymore - and on average, college students can expect to pursue about five different careers and change jobs about twelve to fifteen times during their working lives.
Making a good first impression is important for successful job interviews. Make sure that you wear formal clothes for interviews unless you have been specifically asked to dress casually. Remember that on your first job interview, you are bound to be very nervous - that's why you should be as well-prepared as possible, so there is less chance of you doing or saying something that could sink your prospects.
A career coach can help you be more successful on interviews - helping you to master such topics as asking the right questions and the art of negotiating salary. Your first job interview may not necessarily end up with you getting the job, however you must know how to deal with different situations gracefully.
As with anything worth having, the one thing that will help you finds a good job is practice. Going on all types of interviews, even informational ones will help you become more comfortable and know what employers are looking for in candidates.
If you lack the skills to write a dynamic resume, then don't waste time - seek professional help from a career coach. After all, you need a well-written resume to get interview calls. A career coach not only knows what impresses potential employers, but can overcome the hurdles that a first-time resume presents, such as lack of experience.
A good career coach can not only help your resume present you in the best possible way, but can also help you clarify your career goals and evaluate potential employers. Best of all, they represent you and your best interests.
Most of the time, I hate the condescending tone of the career pundits. It's always “Sally, you idiot, here is how you should do your resume.” Or, “Billy Bob, here is how to answer these typical interview questions.”
I thought you knew better. Come to find out there are a lot…I mean a LOT…of job seekers who are clueless about the basics, of how a business operates and recruits. This is Interviewing 101: The Class Everyone Thought You Took, But You Didn't. It is a lecture.
Please pardon my bluntness, but some of your friends, NOT YOU, need this direct approach.
1. When you send out a resume, send a cover letter too. Make both perfect.
2. Keep track of what company and to whom you send your resume and cover letter. You do this so when you are called by the company's recruiter, you don't say things like “how did you get my resume,” or “who are you and why are you calling me?”
3. Google each company. Read and remember just a little bit about the company. This is so when you are called for the initial interview you are NOT completely in the dark about the company. You want to avoid comments like “mmmm, I have never heard about your company, what do you do?”
4. Before the interview, study more about the company; granted, this is a lot like homework. Find out as much as you can about the company and industry. What do they do? What else can you find out about them?
Knowing the technical aspects of your job isn't enough to convince an interviewer you are the best person for the job. Interviewers evaluate your candidacy in a broader sense. They assess you who are as a person and whether you are manageable-that is, whether you have the traits that make you an easygoing and effective team member.
To make this determination, interviewers ask questions geared to your manageability. Below are a few questions that may be asked of you during an interview, along with a sample response for each.
The interviewer wants to know if you handle issues that arise on your own and whether you exhaust every alternative before informing your manager of a potential problem. Most managers look for employees who manage problems on their own or at the very least, brainstorm possible solutions before bringing the problem to the manager's attention. To prepare for this type of question, take note of your problem-solving skills and mention the steps you take when resolving issues.
Sample Response: “Since I have comprehensive experience in this industry, it is rare that I approach my supervisor to solve a problem for me. I usually draw upon past experiences to determine the best course of action. This method works 99% of the time. If I'm presented with a scenario I've never encountered, I come up with several options and present each to my manager. Together, we discuss the pros and cons of all the possible scenarios and come up with a workable solution.”
An excellent way to gauge your manageability is by gaining insight on how others perceive your performance. When answering this question keep your response focused on the good qualities your manager sees in you.
Sample Response:” My performance reviews always have been outstanding. In my most recent one, my manager indicated that my dependability and loyalty as an employee is evident by the fact that I always show up to work on time, and when needed, make myself available for overtime‚¾making me an asset to the department.”
Instead of providing a laundry list of qualities you dislike in a manager, focus your response on the management style that brings out the best in you.
Sample Response: “Since I am a self-starter, I work best in a situation where the supervisor provides instructions and then allows me to carry them out. I'm not one that needs to be micro-managed. In fact, my previous managers can attest that I always go above and beyond what is expected and can be depended upon to keep my commitments.”
The way you answer interview questions will be the determining factor on whether or not you are extended a job offer. Be prepared to answer interview questions that focus on your ability to be managed
In a nutshell, your brand is your online presence. You can, and should, have your own brand; just like Tiffany's has for fine jewelry or Subway has for submarine sandwiches.
Your professional brand needs to reflect your skills, your interests, and your expertise. So, when someone finds information about you online, it connects them to who you are and what you can do.
Like it or not, if an employer is considering you for a job, they are going to Google you to see what they can find. What you don't want prospective employers looking at is the pictures of your summer vacation or a party where you might have over-indulged a little. The rule of thumb I always use is the “grandma” standard. If there is something that you wouldn't want your grandmother (or your mom) seeing on the web, you don't want a prospective employer viewing it either.
I still cringe at the photos I've seen on some Face book pages and in blogs. Some of the descriptions of the good times had by all are cringe-worthy, too, when you look at them from a “what they can do to your job search” perspective.
Also known as “competency-based” interviews, these go further than the traditional skills-based interview. You can expect additional questions about your character and personal attributes that can better determine whether you fit their corporate culture. These are called “behavioral competencies”.
Specifically, this is simply an interviewing technique used to determine whether you are a good fit for the job by asking questions about your past behavior. Your answers are then used as a predictor of your future success. For example, if you've done it in the past, you probably will do it again.
A Great Showcase for You but You Must Prepare Now!
When you go into an interview, you need to leave your nerves at the door. The best way to prepare is to develop beforehand, your own story (or stories). This is especially great for the “behavioral” or “competency”-based interview being used more today.
A behavioral interviewer will spend about half the interview on your job skills, and about half on your behavioral competencies. He or she will be looking for evidence of how you have acted in real situations in the past.
How to Create Your Professional Brand
The first step in creating your professional brand is to consider what you want to highlight. For example, if you're a computer programmer, you'll want to highlight your tech skills. If you're a marketing professional, you'll want to promote your public relations/marketing experience. When you have multiple areas of expertise, it
A behavioral question will be very specific. For instance, when asked, “Tell me about a time when you overcame a crisis, solved a problem, dealt with failure, etc.”, the focus is on a specific “time” in your past when you __________. Here your answer must elucidate a particular action that you took at some point in your past.
In contrast, a traditional interview question would be “what if” type questions. For example, “What would you do if such and such situations were to occur?” The difference here is there are no past experiences to call upon. You merely put yourself in the situation and use your imagination for the answer. The interviewer is looking for your thought process and how you might think through a problem.
The best way to prepare is to take the initiative by preparing several 30 to 90-second personal stories.
Consider developing your stories around these areas:
1. A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it.
2. A time when you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was.
3. A time in your career or job when you had to overcome stress.
4. A time in your job when you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.
5. A failure that occurred in your job and how you successfully overcame it.
Preparation is especially important for success in the behavioral interview. A word of warning: you must have stories to back up anything you claimed on your resume.
All stories have three parts and yours should be no different. They include:
1. A beginning (set the stage- describe the situation, the time)
2. A middle or process (this is the process you took or the action that you took to solve the problem)
3. A resolution (How was the problem solved, overcome, or resolved)
A good story should be interesting and full of action. Give them something memorable about you that make you stand out. Since these are your stories, it shouldn't be hard. Let your personality and your core character shine through. Make sure you let them hear the steps you took to solve the problem. The more details and skills you can add, the better
Before you walk into any interview or take any phone screen, you absolutely MUST learn something about the company. Do your research. Check out the company's website, especially their PR or Recent News section where you'll find interesting info on your target. They want to be flattered that you picked their company to interview. So tell them what you like or what impresses you about this company.
A technique used in advanced microprocessors where the microprocessor begins executing a second instruction before the first has been completed. That is, several instructions are in the pipeline simultaneously, each at a different processing stage.
Pipeline is a device within the CPU that enables it to fetch (read) instructions in advance of executing them - so that when an instruction is completed, the next one is ready to execute.
Submitted by George E Broussard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pipelining is a process By which CPU is enabling to fetch an instruction when the execution of another instruction going on.8086 is the 1st microprocessor which uses that concept of pipelining. it uses 2 different circuit for execution and fetching of an instruction.
In primary storage device the storage capacity is limited. It has a volatile memory. In secondary storage device the storage capacity is larger. It is a nonvolatile memory. Primary devices are: RAM / ROM. Secondary devices are: Floppy disc / Hard disk.
The best questions to ask are those that you really would like to know the answer to, rather than those you can find in books on interview skills. If you research the company well enough, you will find a number of questions naturally arising that you wish to be answered.
You should, though, concentrate on questions that show your interest in, and motivation to do, the job itself, rather than the rewards it will bring. So, for example, you should ask about training and career progression in preference to pay and pensions!
Other questions could include:
*"What is the company's annual staff turnover?"
*"Where would I fit into the organization?"
*"What is the line management structure?"
*"What do staff enjoy most about working for the company?"
*"What does the induction program consist of?"
*"How long have the present staff been employed by the firm?"
*"Is there a planned career development path?"
Here they want evidence that you have key skills required in the job - in this case assertiveness and negotiating skills which are important in collective bargaining.
Similar questions include:
"Give an example of when you ... motivated people/overcame a problem/challenged an established procedure/initiated something/had to change your plans at short notice".
Outline the SITUATION, the ACTION that you took and the RESULT achieved. This will help structure your answer.
Make sure that you have examples of key skills prepared beforehand - from school, university, sports, travel and vac. work. Diplomacy is important as HR managers often have an advisory capacity to line managers but with little power of their own so have to be tactful and persuasive to get their way. You can admit to problems arising through tactlessness or misunderstanding provided that you were able to resolve them successfully and can show that you learnt from the experience.
Again a question to see if you can think on your feet as It's unlikely you would have prepared an answer beforehand. It's also a question that every graduate should know something about - and therefore have an opinion.
As with all such questions there's no one answer - just try to say a few sensible things based on logic. Think what reasons might have influenced the manager's decision and try and counter them. In this case, you might draw up a comparison between the costs of recruiting experienced staff v. running a graduate training scheme. Similar question that have been asked include:
"What do you think of our graduate recruitment brochure?"
"What are our organization's strengths and weaknesses?"
"Your manager needs to sack ten people. How would you choose which ten?"
"If you were a manager and there were complaints about the way your staff dealt with customers, how would you resolve this?"
Here they will not be looking for any ideological stance but some sort of balanced viewpoint. It again demonstrates that you have done your research and can think on your feet.
You could, for example, outline ways in which unions can be useful partners to management; alternative ways of giving employees a voice and situations in which unions can hinder management actions. You might take into account the level of unionisation in the organisation to which you are applying and any recent industrial relations problems it may have experienced. Similar questions that have been asked include:
* "What is your opinion on performance-related pay?"
* "What motivates a workforce?"
* "Is industrial action a bad thing?"
* "Is it practical to work in personnel and be a member of a trade union?"
* "Should all employees join a trade union?"
* "Should trade union activities be considered when recruiting managers?".
This question is checking whether you have done your research and also to see if you can think on your feet. It's also seeing if you have made the crucial link between the work of the human resource department and the effectiveness of the workforce. This is where your research into personnel issues will pay off: you might talk about better training of staff; the merits and demerits of appraisal schemes; performance related pay; change management, etc.
You will not be expected to solve any efficiency problems they are currently experiencing. Neither will they be expecting you to come up with some kind of correct answer. They will be more interested in the way you list the different issues regarding efficiency and whether you feel there are typical areas of, for example, recruitment inefficiency which can be addressed.
Although the ideal answer here would include paid or unpaid experience in a personnel department, many other jobs will have relevance. Do try to spend a day with a personnel manager or at least to discuss the job with them before your interview. In such a competitive field this may give you an important edge over other applicants.
Almost any job will give you an insight into the things that make a workforce happy and efficient. Even being a packer in a factory will give you an insight into what motivates the most poorly paid workers - tell them how satisfied they were and what changes could be made to improve efficiency. Recounting your own experience of Human Resources may also be helpful. Knowledge and examples of any of the following would be appropriate:
* Making applications
* Selection Centers
* Training courses
* Pay review
If you have a business studies or an industrial relations degree then the answer is simple. Other degrees such as psychology may have given you an insight into human behavior but you also need to show an interest in the management side of the job.
If you have done a non-relevant degree don't worry. Many companies will take any degree subject for personnel. You need to emphasize relevant transferable skills - personnel departments will have extensive databases so any computer skills you have can be mentioned here.
You could also mention that you have developed verbal communication skills in seminars, written communication in essays, analytical and research skills in almost any aspect of your course and organizing and planning skills developed in projects. The fact that you have studied effectively and to a high level can suggest you would be a good employee and willing to work hard.
Personnel is very competitive to enter, so you have to sell yourself effectively at interview. Your answer might include evidence for key skills - organizing, communication, computer skills etc.
You might also show a proactive approach - that you understand that personnel can be an important tool to give a company an edge over its competitors - for example by better training of staff.
You should also declare that you very much want the job and are prepared to throw yourself fully into it. Enthusiasm and commitment are important factors in work. If you can get them across at interview you will certainly appeal more than the many other applicants who did not.
Any relevant experience can also be used here. If you have held a vacation job or indeed had other full-time work experience in which you dealt with employee issues such as training, recruitment, dismissal or promotion now is the time to bring it up
Don't talk about 'helping people' or 'working with people' - common misconceptions or cliches about personnel work. 'Helping people' may be part of the work but you are not paid to be a social worker and may also need to carry out actions that are not helpful to people, such as making them redundant. Most jobs will involve 'working with people' in some way - personnel is not unique in this, and can also involve a good deal of administration
The new name for personnel, 'Human Resource Management', is also a more accurate definition of the work - you are managing a resource just like any other - money, products etc. Even though most organizations will state that 'people are our most important resource', people are still managed for the ultimate benefit of the organization.
Answers should show that you have done your research and know what personnel is about - for example, collective bargaining, hiring, training, developing staff, payroll issues.
To some extent the medium is the message. If you can't produce a high quality application form or CV how can you expect to judge quality in the application forms of others as a personnel manager?
Also, in your preparations for the interview they will look for evidence of organization and planning: that you have researched the organization and the job, that you have prepared answers to obvious questions and prepared questions to ask and that you have re-read your application form
Read 'People Management', the Institute of Personnel and Development journal, to become aware of current issues in the personnel field.