- Questions to break the ice
- The essential questions
- Questions about your professional goals
- Questions about personality
- Questions where you should provide examples
- Cheat questions
- Forbidden Questions
- Questions for the interviewer
If there is a decisive moment in the career of any professional, it is undoubtedly a job interview.
Facing fear and overcoming doubts may seem like a titanic task when the content of the interview is unknown. However, it has been shown that all job interviews present the same questions to a greater or lesser extent.
Questions to break the ice
The most common thing would be to focus all your preparation for the interview on those weighty questions, such as your professional experience or the skills that can make you shine in that position.
However, a recent study has shed light about the importance of the courtesy conversation at the beginning of an interview: Developing an affinity with the interviewer in that trivial talk can give you an essential advantage over the rest of the candidates.
- Have you easily found the office? Do you know this area?
Question icebreaker par excellence, can also be rephrased as “how was the trip here?” in its most informal aspect.
This is an initial contact in which the interviewer will get a first impression about your way of expressing yourself and your personality.
Remember that, even if it is an introductory question, it is part of the interview and you should always respond with the utmost professionalism.
- Did you know the company? Have you been our customer?
If you have followed our series on how to prepare for an interview you will know that it is essential that you investigate the company. It is time to either explain your experiences as a customer or, if you have not had the opportunity to be, comment on what most catches your attention of what you have found out.
- How did you know about this vacancy? Do you know someone who works here?
A transition question that leads to more professional terrain. It is also a way to measure your offer interest: Have you contacted someone from the company to express your interest?
In the event that the vacancy has been communicated to you by a company worker, do not miss the opportunity to mention it. In general, companies look forward to those candidates whose professionalism some of their employees can answer.
The essential questions
The hard core of any job interview, these 15 classic questions are essential to show that you are the perfect candidate for the position.
If you have little time to prepare the interview, do not hesitate to focus all your attention on these 15 essential questions.
- Tell me something about you.
No doubt an open question will also give a good measure of how much or little you have prepared the interview.
What the recruiter wants to find out is if You will fit in the team. Your resume has taught you that you have the skills and trajectory, but what about your personality?
What makes you a better choice than other candidates with your same experience?
There are several ways to structure your response to arouse the greatest interest:
- Start with your current position, your years of experience and where you would like to direct your career
- Build a story. Explain how you found your love for the profession and how you formed to get your exceptional experience. Remember to keep your story in the strictly professional field
- Start your speech by talking about your skills and explain how they have helped you prosper in your career
- Why do you think you are the right person for this job? (Why should we hire you?)
This will be the main concept on which the rest of the interview will pivot. Find out what is your competitive advantage for the position and explain it in a clear and attractive way.
To do this you can take the Job Description and cross the information with the one presented in your resume. You will find your strengths and it will be much easier to contextualize them for the company.
- What are your strengths?
It is a common mistake to answer this question with an endless list of adjectives: hardworking, enthusiastic, responsible …
However, it is much more effective to respond with concrete facts: “I am very responsible, when I led a team of 15 people I got …”.
- What are your weak points?
Face B of the previous question, the interviewer may feel very frustrated if you answer with the cliché manic about perfectionism or excessive dedication to work.
Find that skinny point that is sincere but not too harmful and explain it in the most positive way possible. It will make you look like a really confident candidate.
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?
The real question is How suddenly will you need a new challenge?
Will you stay with us the time necessary for the investment in your training to be profitable or will you go to another company as soon as you have the opportunity?
A sure answer would be to redirect interest towards the company.
“In 5 years I hope to be working in this company and contributing to its growth. I am very interested in your expansion plan in the coming years and I consider that my contribution can be very positive. ”
- Why do you want this position?
Although I can give the impression that the question is about you, it really only has to do with them. It’s time to reveal interviewer everything What you know about the company and the position.
Prove that you are deeply aligned with the products, services, corporate culture and mission of the company.
- What has been your greatest professional achievement?
If there is a question in which you should act with confidence and confidence in yourself, this is it.
Do not be too modest in your response, the interviewer will be waiting for you to explain with the greatest enthusiasm that, What do you expect you can replicate in your company.
Build a story that manages to arouse your interest from the beginning. You can even be inspired by “the hero’s journey”, a classic storytelling structure that will help you sort the contents and present them in the most attractive way.
- What did you like least about your previous job?
This is a question that, although it may seem that it invites to deepen the negativity, is Address positively.
Make sure your answer shows determination and a baggy ethics professional. And above all, do not make a speech full of mistakes about your previous company.
- What did you like most about your previous job?
On the contrary, a speech that is too enthusiastic about your current position can make you wonder what your real need is to want to change.
Do not leave room for improvisation in this question. During the preparation of the interview identify those positive points of your previous job you think that can be repeated in the vacancy and stick to them.
- Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?
Of course the interviewer will wait to hear that you are Able to work as a team. But it would not hurt to add that you also work well alone since you are a autonomous person with own resources.
Add some example of when you got a great success working side by side with your classmates.
- What would a partner / boss say about you if we asked him?
A very popular question among recruiters, since it is capable of destabilizing even the most confident interviewee.
As in the matter of your strengths, it is advisable to avoid giving a long list of favorable adjectives and, instead, offer some example of recognition that you have received.
You can even use the testimonies cited in the letters of recommendation or professional social networks.
- How do you deal with stress?
Any interviewer knows that there is absolutely no employee immune to stress. It is human and sometimes necessary to progress, so do not try to sell the idea that stress does not affect you.
Name some techniques that you have used before to get over it and achieve outstanding results: prioritize tasks, delegate, limit the time of each task …
- How do you face failure?
“I give myself some time to try to evaluate dand where that failure has come and understand how to avoid it in the future. And I work harder, if possible. I never stop in a failure longer than strictly necessary to learn from him. I prefer to invest my energies in continuing to reap success. ”
- How do you face success?
Curiously, the perfect answer is really similar to the previous one: “I slap myself on the shoulder and I continue to work hard on the project. Of course I analyze what has led me to achieve that success and how I can repeat it, but I prefer to move quickly to continue working to reap new triumphs. ”
- What is your desired salary?
Suggesting an amount that is too low can make you feel really unmotivated in the position. An amount that is too high, on the other hand, can cut your chances of being chosen.
Unless you have very clear your desired salary, and that this is non-negotiable, the safe option is return the question to the interviewer.
You can ask what salary range they are considering for the position.
And, once you get that information, explain that because of your training and experience you think you should be at the top of that fork.
Questions about your professional goals
- Why do you want to work in this company?
Or what is the same, What do you know about our company? A question that will help the recruiter to discard that candidate who has limited himself to carry out a superficial investigation of the company.
Do not hesitate to go beyond the “about us” page of their website, a thorough inquiry can give you a significant advantage.
Remember also that you should never focus your answers on what the company can do for you but on what you can do for the company.
- What motivates you?
Candidates who feel motivated solely by salary or recognition will rarely be the most enthusiastic or productive employees of a team.
Recruiters know it and what they are waiting to hear is a reply that is intrinsically aligned with the peculiarities of the position.
Saying what motivates you most about a job is creativity when you are applying for a data management position can lead to an immediate discard.
- Why were you in the same position or company for so long?
Although the interviewer will value your stability and commitment to a specific company very positively, do not you must give the impression of being stuck.
If this is your case, comment that you had the opportunity to take on new projects and responsibilities and that the position evolved – mainly thanks to you – during all those years.
- Why do you want to change jobs?
This will not be the opportunity to cite all the negative aspects of your current position. Remember that what they want is not to know more about you but about What can you do for them?
List two or three reasons to leave your current position focusing on aspects such as limitation to grow or lack of challenges. And immediately re-affirm that the new position could meet Both needs.
- How does this position fit into your career?
In other words, the interviewer wants to know if the investment they are going to make in Your training will be profitable in the long term.
There is nothing more expensive for a company than an employee who leaves his position after a few months. Claim your commitment to the position whenever you have a chance.
- Why have you changed jobs so often?
Today there is no stigma that a few years ago suffered professionals who jumped from one position to another.
However, it is still essential explain each movement in a way with which in the Interviewer can sympathize.
Short-term contracts, transfers, career progress and structural changes of the company are some of the most excusable explanations.
- What is your dream job?
“This one, without a doubt!”, You may be tempted to answer. But there would be many possibilities that they would not believe you.
Likewise, it would be detrimental if you cited a profession that had absolutely nothing to do with the position you are applying for.
It is recommended that you offer a description of your personal aspirations (“A position that presents me with stimulating challenges and in which I can achieve a positive impact with my abilities”, etc.) instead of a specific professional title.
- Do you have experience leading departments? How would you motivate your team?
If you are in a selection process for a position that involves a certain leadership, it is very possible that this question will be asked.
One possible answer: “I would recognize and maximize the individual skills of each member of my team. I would always keep an open line of communication. And I would share both successes and failures. ”
- Are you in other selection processes?
It may not be one of the most common questions, but it is an unbeatable opportunity to prove that you are a professional defendant.
Interviewers do not cease to be susceptible to social validation, so if they intuit that you are considering other companies, they will inevitably assign you an added value.
- What special skills do you contribute to the position that the other candidates do not possess?
Have you crossed the vacancy description data with your resume until you find your authentic competitive advantage as we suggested at the beginning? This is the opportunity to explain it without skimping on details.
- What would you like to achieve that you could not achieve in your last position?
Just as in the question about your reasons for wanting to change jobs, you must show yourself Respectful with your current job.
Briefly summarize some lack of your position without falling into negativity and quickly turn your attention to the enthusiasm of the new project before which you present yourself.
- Would you be willing to work overtime?
The simple fact that this question appears undoubtedly means that it is an indispensable requirement for the position.
You have to be sincere with yourself and decide if you are willing to spend more time than stipulated or if, on the contrary, you categorically refuse.
- Would you be willing to travel frequently or change your address?
Again, answer with the greatest sincerity. Lying in such a relevant section the only thing that will entail will be that both parties are unhappy when the situation arises.
- When could you join the company?
In the case that you work, you should definitely indicate that you need at least 15 days. You can also add that you need that deadline to leave several projects closed and make the transition as smooth as possible for your current company.
You will be giving an image of professionalism and consideration that will be very well received.
Questions about personality
While it is true that in a job interview there is no single valid answer, with questions about personality the interviewer will be waiting get certain answers. These are some of them.
- Do you take risks or are you a cautious person?
“I take risks but I always proceed with caution, so I imagine that I must be somewhere in between. I like to weigh what are my chances of success before taking a risk. I also tend to analyze What can I win and what can I lose? I can say that I am a bold professional but at the same time cautious. ”
- How do you handle the pressure?
“I take a deep breath and find out what needs to be done. And I just do it. I have discovered that my best projects have been devised under pressure ”
- What bothers you most about your co-workers?
“Too much negativity has always worried me. I think that the energy you use to complain can be invested in something much more profitable for everyone like fixing what doesn’t work. ”
- How do you react to change?
“Change seems essential to me to progress. We are in an industry that changes at a fast pace, we cannot fall behind. For example, when I worked for Empresa S.A. I realized that the software they used to make the newsletter was outdated and quite rigid. I spoke with the department director and got her to accept moving the whole process to an online manager, which is cheaper, more dynamic and offers much more detailed metrics. It was a very positive change. ”
- How do you make decisions?
“It took me a while to assess the situation before deciding what to do. I also try to learn from others. If I know someone who has experience with a similar situation, I will not hesitate to ask for advice. ”
- What do you owe your boss and what does your boss owe you?
“I owe my boss hard work, respect and improvement, above all. And my boss owes me my respect, recognizing my hard work and enhancing my skills. ”
- Have you been in a situation where most disagreed with you?
“On one occasion something similar happened. What I did was first of all listen to the reasons why most of my classmates felt that way. Then I evaluated whether it was necessary to reconsider my position. Since even after hearing their arguments, I still thought that the option I proposed was the best for the company, I tried to persuade them. In the end, many of them managed to see things as I did and we decided on an intermediate solution. ”
- Do you think you have succeeded in your career?
“I consider that I have been successful in my career because I have always worked very hard and I have always been very receptive to any challenge that arises. I am very enthusiastic and that has allowed me to work on really interesting projects. For me, success is that. ”
- What motivates you to go beyond duty?
“I do not consider that there is a line that separates what goes beyond my duty. When I work on a project I always give my best, always. ”
- What would you do if you disagreed with your boss?
“If I believe that my ideas can positively impact the department, I would share my impressions with him or her, always with respect. In the past my suggestions have been very well received and have been successfully implemented. ”
- What if your boss asks you to do something that does not correspond to your position?
“It would depend on what he asked me to do. I don’t expect you to send me something that is not ethical. But if what I am asked for is to grow a project, I would have no problem. As a Marketing Specialist in my previous job at a publishing house I ended up designing the covers of the books. So I don’t have a big problem overcoming the limits of my degree. ”
- How did you get along with your last boss?
“We had – and we have – a really good relationship. There was mutual respect and eagerness to move projects forward. He worked from London, moreover, so he trusted me to lead the department in situ. ”
- Have you ever had a boss you didn’t like?
“I have worked with bosses that I liked more than others, but I have always tried to maintain a professional attitude and get along with all my colleagues.”
- Describe the ideal partner.
“The ideal co-worker is one who respects those around him and works side by side with them. The one who knows how to offer a constructive criticism and accept it too. That he collaborates for the common good and does not try to compete with his coworkers. ”
- Describe the ideal boss.
“I believe that the ideal boss is the one who knows the specific abilities of each one and maximizes power. He who always challenges to do a better job and does not hesitate to recognize the achievements of others. I have been fortunate to work for several people like that and it has been very rewarding. ”
- How do you handle criticism of your work?
“Not only do I not fear them but I look for them. I think criticism can be a very valuable tool. It forces you to evaluate your work and find out where you can improve. ”
- Do you consider yourself a person with initiative?
“Definitely. I cannot avoid detecting inefficient processes in all the projects in which I collaborate. I always suggest improvements and I can say that they have been a success. For example, in the restaurant where I currently work I detected that every day we threw a lot of food in the trash because the inventory was manual and very little agile. I implemented an online inventory system and reduced waste by 40%. ”
Questions where you should provide examples
- Give me an example of a great decision you had to make.
The interviewer will want to make sure that your decision-making process is compatible with the way your company works. Always offer an example adapted to the peculiarities of the position.
If the position is to lead a team, explain a story about how you managed to motivate and increase the productivity of your team.
If, on the other hand, it is a data management job, mention a situation in which you used logic and the compartmentalization of functions.
- Explain a failure you have experienced in your work.
With this simple question are several complex issues that will be addressed:
- Are you able to take risks?
- Does the failure paralyze you?
- Have you managed to learn from your failures?
Do not be afraid to detail the project for which you bet and that however did not work.
The failure is human and your ability to turn it around, learn from it and use it to overcome yourself can shed a very favorable light on your candidacy.
- Tell me once when a client has been very unhappy and what did you do to fix it
The interviewer will not be oblivious to the existence of those particularly difficult clients.
The best practice in this case will be to stop blaming the client and putting emphasis on your ability to handle a conflict in a professional manner.
- Explain to me a great change that you had to deal with.
An employee who embraces change is one of the most important assets for a company’s progress. It shows that not only do you not see it as an obstacle but that you also perceive it as something as inevitable as necessary.
- Can you give me an example of one time you were persuasive?
This is a question about leadership. And, as the best leaders do, you must show that you lead with power and not simply with authority.
- Describe that time when you overcame an obstacle creatively.
The keyword is undoubtedly “creative.” What the interviewer will want to know is if you are able to think with originality.
Give an example of how you were able to offer a totally unexpected (and equally successful) solution.
- Give me an example of a time when you convinced others to support one of your less popular ideas.
No one has a particular interest in hiring a lone leader. As we explained before, your leadership must always be reaffirmed in your ability to get the support of your colleagues.
Prove that consensus and persuasion are part of your professional day to day.
- Have you ever disagreed with your boss? Give me an example.
To argue that you have never had a disagreement with a superior is as negative for your aspirations as explaining that you solved it by slamming the door.
Be honest, but above all, focus on your ability to debate in a mature and productive way for the good of the company.
- Can you give me examples of any initiative you took to reduce costs?
Nothing illustrates an example better than a figure. Prepare the numbers well before presenting yourself for an interview and mention them whenever you can.
- Describe the time you helped a member of your team who had problems.
Do not simply stay in the anecdote of when you were empathetic and a true companion. Go further and detail how that gesture helped the company in a more generalized way.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to improvise.
“Expect the unexpected,” the interviewer seems to be telling you. Although this question may seem to appeal to spontaneity, it is not an improvisation exercise at all. Prepare the story of how you managed to face chaos, handle the unthinkable and overcome the fear of failure.
- Do you think you are overqualified for the position?
The cheat question par excellence is not surprising that it takes many unsuspecting candidates. A correct answer would be: “Both my training and my experience guarantee that I will be able to do the job successfully, in my opinion it is something very positive. I am interested in long-term commitment to the position and I certainly want to contribute to the company’s growth. It’s something that my career has prepared for me. ”
- What would you change if you ran the company?
No doubt with the greatest respect, but do not hesitate to contribute some ideas for improvement in a constructive way.
Interviewers like candidates who show initiative and who have also done their homework when investigating the company.
- We use the X program. Are you familiar with it?
“I use a very similar program. I also have friends in the profession that dominate it and I am sure they can show me how it works before joining the position. I have a lot of facility to learn new software and I am in several online learning platforms, so it would not be a problem. ”
- Have you ever been fired?
Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Elvis Presley and Oprah are just some of the most successful personalities that at some point in his life have been laid off. Or, what is the same, it happens to even the best.
Talk honestly about the experience and above all focus on how it has helped you to be a better professional.
- Can you provide references?
There are reasons for optimism when this question appears on the scene. Do not hesitate to provide references from those former supervisors who can validate your strengths and excellent professional contributions.
If the interviewer asks to contact your current company, however, it is your right to demand that they proceed with discretion.
Unfortunately there are still some job interviews in which crosses the morally acceptable line. Below you will find them classified according to their degree of adequacy.
This is a collection of questions that should sound all your alarm signals and invite you to consider if you really want to work for that company.
- Questionable questions
- Where were you born?
- What is your marital status?
- Have children?
- Do you have a home owned?
- Do you belong to a club or society?
- Have you ever had to take a leave from work?
- Inappropriate questions
- What would you do if a superior wanted to spend time with you outside the office?
- Would you have a romantic relationship with a coworker?
- Do your children get sick often?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
- How much do you weigh?
- Illegal questions
- Do you belong to a union?
- Would you like to start a family one day?
- What is your sexual orientation?
- What is your nationality?
- Are you of race …?
- How old are you?
- What year did you graduate?
- Do you profess any religion?
- What political affiliation do you have?
- What is your state of health?
- Do you have any disabilities?
Questions for the interviewer
You should not forget that a job interview is a bidirectional process. The following questions will help you decide if it’s the opportunity you were waiting for.
- What is the biggest challenge I will have to face in this position?
- What would an ordinary day be like developing this post?
- (In the case of being a newly created position) Why was this position created? (If someone has left the job) Why did the person leave office?
- What are the main challenges of this position?
- How is the atmosphere in the department?
- Who would be my direct supervisor?
- What results do you expect me to get in the first 6 months?
- Are there possibilities to grow professionally in the company?
- What kind of training would you receive?
- What is the level of responsibility in the position?
- What plans does the company have for the next 5 years? How does the department fit into them?
- Do you usually work overtime or is it something timely?
- What is the best thing about working for this company?
As you may have already deduced from our series about job interviews, there is no single path to success.
Even the interviewer may surprise you with a series of rare questions. And your answer to those questions is what gets you the job.
Your real task will be to beat the nerves, work hard in the process, know yourself as a professional and present yourself with the greatest enthusiasm. Good luck.