Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2015 Contents Where do you see yourself in
Employers don't necessarily care to
hear that you expect to climb the cor-
porate ladder and be a supervisor. If
the job you're interviewing for is not
a supervisor, they probably aren't con-
cerned about your management skills.
You can share how you've been a men-
tor to others and led projects with
little to no supervisor. That should
indicate you have leadership poten-
Focus on them: In five years, you
should have made a significant impact
to the company's bottom line. Think
about how you can achieve this in the
role you're interviewing for. In tech-
nology careers, advancing your skills
is important, too. You should be able
to share what areas you want to
strengthen in the near term (but be
careful that they are not areas of
expertise that the company needs
Why should we hire you?
This is a differentiation question.
What you want to tell them is: they'd
be crazy not to hire you.
Focus on them: You need to not
only share how you meet almost all
the criteria they seek, but also have
two to three additional abilities that
they might not even know they need...
yet. They need to know you are a can-
didate who can meet their needs now,
but also be valuable for where they
want to go. Are they likely to need
another skill set as they grow as a
company? Or maybe you have skills
that you noticed are in another job
description they are looking to fill;
you can help out with those deliver-
ables until they find someone (or be
a backup to the person they hire).
Have you been down a path already
that they are currently starting? Having
"lessons learned" to offer them is a
very strong plus for a job candidate.
Why do you want to work here?
The answer to this question has two
aspects: the content and the delivery.
Focus on them:
Content - Employers want to know
you feel you can fit in at the company
quickly. That means on deliverables,
but also company culture. You'll likely
have to do some homework to answer
this one. You need to understand the
reasons why others enjoy working
there. Is it a great place to advance
your skills, have great challenges to
add to your resume, or will it allow
you to grow as a professional?
Delivery - The delivery must be
genuine. If a hiring manager feels
you're just "telling them want they
want to hear," but don't mean it...well,
the interview is over in their mind.
They want to know this is not just a
job and paycheck. They want to hear
this is what you want to do and the
best place to do it.
What do you know about us?
This is actually a test. If you know
very little, it is an indication that you
are not very serious about working
Focus on them: Candidates who are
really excited about the prospect of
working there have done their home-
work. If you really want to stand out,
learn more than what is listed on their
web site. Do some heavy research---
perhaps find some articles on the com-
pany that not many would know
about. It may even come up in con-
versation spontaneously, and you can
show them a copy of the article (I have
had this happen to me).
How do people describe you?
Here's another opportunity to dif-
ferentiate yourself. Everyone claims
to be: a hard worker, good commu-
nicator, and team player. But how
many are a: problem-solver, game-
changer, leader in the industry? Be
creative, and have stories to back it
up. The interviewer will want to know
why someone thinks you are one of
Focus on them: You want to present
attributes that make you sound like
the go-to guy or gal wherever you
work. Even the standard answers can
be taken a step further to be more
Yes, they want hard workers, but
most likely that's commonplace at
their office. Maybe you work hard,
but also help others work fewer hours
(by helping them do their job better
or making their jobs easier).
Good communicators are every-
where. But this doesn't mean just
speaking well. It includes listening.
Do you hear things that others don't?
Do you understand things quickly?
Can you figure out what people are
trying to tell you through other clues
(body language, for example)?
Being a good team player is expect-
ed, too. But what does this really
mean? Getting along with everyone?
That's not hard to do if you're a nice
person. Pulling your weight in the
office? Again, expected. What have
you done, beyond your job description,
that saved the team from a disaster
or helped them make an impossible
deadline? Have you won an award for
What is your greatest strength/
Your greatest strength is something
Focus on them: You have many
strengths, but pick the one they need
help with the most. Is it your expertise
in a particular skill? Is it your ability
to turn low-performing teams into
high performers? Share something
that makes them think they need to
hire you...right now.
I hate the "greatest weakness" ques-
tion. Everyone knows it's a trap, and
everyone knows the candidate is going
to say something trite (popular exam-
ple: "I'm a perfectionist"). When you
give a real answer, you are being gen-
uine. You are admitting you have some
growth opportunities and are not per-
fect. But you can include that you
already have a plan to overcome this
weakness through training or prac-
Some people even insert a little
humour in their answer---"I wish I
was better at tennis." You can, too, if
you feel like the interviewer has a sense
of humour. But, be sure to quickly fol-
low with a serious answer. Showing
you have a lighter side is usually a
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 1, 2015
One of the most common questions in an interview is "Tell me about
yourself." Actually, it is not even a question-it is an invitation. It is
an opportunity to share with the interviewer whatever you think is
important in their hiring decision.
More importantly, it is your chance to differentiate yourself. In most cases,
most of the standard questions allow the same.
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