Friday, October 23, 2009

Job Interview ANTICS: What HR Is Really Asking

For the questions that concern how you would work at the company, take your time answering the interview questions. It’s OK to give it some thought. You can prepare somewhat by reading as much as you can about the company to understand the business and the challenges it might face. Also, thoroughly go over each part of the job description to understand exactly what is in the job and what you might be called on to do. Identify what you’ve done in past jobs that is similar to what is required in the new job, so you can refer to that experience VERY briefly (e.g. “When I was at XYZ, I had a similar situation. Based on that, here’s how I would approach this scenario…”).

To prepare for job interview questions related to past jobs, come up with stories in these categories. Construct the stories to illustrate the key points you want to make about your abilities, talents, skills, attitudes, and work style.

If you are asked the question about hobbies, it shows the interviewer is aware how you spend your off-time is indicative of your core personality and underlying talents. We tend to pursue things as hobbies based on what feels good and fun, what comes naturally. That usually means we’ll contribute a LOT of value when we do similar things at work.

A great example of this is Captain Sullenberger, who successfully landed the engine-less airplane in the Hudson River. His hobby is flying glider planes. You couldn’t ask for a better person to land a “glider jetliner.”

More examples: People who play team sports as a hobby – softball, basketball, crew – will work well in a team and probably do very well in client-facing jobs because they are social by nature. Someone who runs marathons can usually be counted on to stick with jobs until they are completed no matter the obstacles. A cook will be pretty creative and seek ideas and inspiration from others, and have the ability to synthesize information into something new. I think you get the idea.

Be prepared to draw a correlation between what you do off-time and how it can translate into why you would be an excellent part of the new company.

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