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Tackling Common Interview Questions

Jul 15, 2008
This goes a long way in relieving the interview jitters. You should also do adequate groundwork and grab every opportunity to communicate your talents and capabilities to the interviewer.

Below are a few frequently-asked questions and suggestions for answering them, in order to make your mark at the interview.

Tell Me Something About Yourself

This is one of the most common questions; it generally opens the conversation and establishes the direction the interview is likely to take. So although it sounds very simple and harmless, it should be answered with care.

First of all, be honest! It's good to give a few details about your background such as where you grew up, the school you attended, your hobbies, and at least one quality about yourself that could show your passion for doing the kind of job you have applied for.

With a little planning before you go into the interview, you can structure your personal history in such a way that it will support your case that you should be hired.

What Are Your Positive and Negative Qualities?

This is one of those questions that give you the opportunity to display your talents and sell yourself. When answering this one, make sure that the positive quality you choose is pertinent to the position applied for. Highlight your positive characteristics with appropriate examples where your quality has benefited your past employers.

Answering the other part is a little tricky. Though your evaluation of your negative traits should be honest, you can state them in such a way that they will work for you. You obviously feel that the job you're applying for matches your strengths, not your weaknesses, so be sure that whatever weakness you tell your interviewer about will not be a negative for that particular job.

One way to approach this question is to note that you have taken steps to overcome a certain weakness. For example, I tend to lose track of time, but I have taken a course on time management and I am constantly improving.

Give the interviewer the specifics on any self-improvement courses you took.

Why Do You Want To Work For This Company?

This question assesses the level of research and preparation you have done for the interview. Therefore, make sure to communicate those features of the company as well as some aspects of the job profile that you find appealing. It is a good idea to let the interviewer know that you want to build a satisfying professional future with this successful and growing company.

Align some of your qualities with the vacant position and how they could contribute to the benefit of the organization. Also, if you know employees or former employees, you can always note that their satisfaction with and admiration for the company have led you to apply.

Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years' Time?

This question addresses candidates' aspirations and the commitment to achieve them. Your answer should be enthusiastic, confident, but not overambitious. You should carefully express your wish to move ahead with the company by devoting a level of commitment that will make it happen.

While preparing for an interview, you need to keep in mind some of these simple guidelines as well as maintain a positive attitude. Most questions give the chance to display your qualities that match the employers' selection criteria.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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