22 August 2008

Getting Into The Mind of the Interviewer

Is that possible? Not really. On a certain level, we may have the same opinion of certain topics. We may even have the same likes and dislikes. Yet, there are many things that set each and every one of us apart; experience, education, locality, culture, social and so on.

It is wise not to outsmart the interviewer or anyone that may jeopardize you chance to secure a position in that particular company.

Questions any interviewer would likely ask are:

Q: Please introduce yourself.

A good chance for you to exaggerate for a few seconds (but not too much). Remember, if you exaggerate even a little about yourself, you may need to tell some lies to cover the ‘exaggeration’ you have made. Never do that. You just do not have enough reasons for telling too much. It is enough if you are able to describe yourself briefly.

Most interviewers are not ready to spend more than one minute to listen to your ‘greatness’. They know you would not be there if you are so great! Just tell what they want to hear; your most recent projects or assignments.

Q: What attracts you to work in this company?

My personal advice; you will not be able to answer this question if you did not do any research about the company beforehand. Always be ready at any interview. As we are all living in societies with overloaded information, it is not too difficult to do any background searching.

Be sincere when you answer this question. Although you are attracted with the position or the benefits, do not mention so. You can tell them what you can contribute to the company. Be convincing when you do that. Some interviewers are good in reading body language and facial expressions.

Q: Where will you be in 5 years’ time?

A common question which can be asked in any interview.

You have to think carefully before you answer. You may choose to answer it assuming that you are still with the company but in a higher position. You may also choose to answer that by then you are an established business owner.

No matter how you choose to answer, be aware that this is not an easy question although it sounds easy. It is asked so that the interviewer will know your plans for the future.

Do not answer it with a joke. The interviewer may be amused at that time, but how you are assessed is another matter. Always be serious. Eye contact is important.

Q: What do you expect from this job? Or What is your expectation of this job?

Whenever this question is asked, candidates have the feeling that they have the better chance of being chosen. Then, begin the long description of one’s expectation. Sometimes it can be so ideal that the interviewer will raise his/her eyebrow and give a wry smile.

Be brief. It is enough just to say that you wish to bring things to a higher level. You are not even sure if you are the right candidate. The company has many other candidates waiting to be interviewed. It is not good to let others wait an extra hour.
Q: Why do you think you are the right person for this job?

You can give lots of reasons but not too many. The interviewer knows more about the right person for the job than you. You can start by saying how you suit the job, the advantages if you are hired, and so on.

Everyone has some good in him. Use that to your advantage. Be humble, though. Presenting yourself as someone capable is good. Do not overstate your competence or you will be seen as boastful.

If the interviewer thinks that there is another job opening which is suitable for you, ask more questions about that too. There are chances, although that job is not a managerial one, you can work your way up. If you are keen to join the company, why not accept the offer, instead of competing with other higher qualified candidates.

Q: Do you believe in socializing with your colleagues as a way to enhance workplace

No pointers for this question. You can say whatever you think is right. Just remember that in every workplace, there will be many other employees too. Socializing is good to enhance relationship among the employees.

You may choose not to attend certain functions later if you dislike them. However, you must please the interviewer by giving an honest answer.
Q: Are you an opportunist?

Well, each of us is an opportunist. Just make sure you know where you stand. Answering this question is not going to jeopardize your chance to get the job. Usually, only a good opportunist able to achieve high. So, think carefully before you answer.

Nobody likes to be taken advantage of by others. An opportunist may take advantage of his work, position or even his colleagues in order to get something of his desire. In another word, an opportunist is a very ambitious person. Not everyone likes an opportunist, except the CEO himself!

Q: What is your expected ROI (Return of Investment)?

So far, not many interviewers will ask this question. Yet, some interviewers from the Human Resource Department will ask it.

It is interesting to note that we all seldom think of the ROI we would get from the job apart from the salary and other fringe benefits we will receive.

Ask yourself questions like: What am I going to get from this job? Will there be a promotion opportunity? Can I apply to another department after some time? Is the contract benefiting me or the company?

Everyone has a different expected ROI. Do not worry too much about that. Just remember that whatever your answer is, there is no right or wrong.

These are some of the questions I found my trainees having trouble answering every time they attend interviews. Apart from the questions, your competence in a certain language, such as English, has to be good. You will need to do all the communication in English.

Other issues maybe how you dress to an interview. Stop wearing that old, faded torn pair of jeans. Even if the company belongs to a family, please wear something formal. Ladies can wear simple business suits. No red or any bright colored coats. A brown, blue, gray or black will do just nice. Do not overdo your make-up. Use light perfume and best of all, smile.

(Most)Young men know how to dress formally. Just make sure the pen in your breast pocket does not leak. You will be embarrassed when facing the interviewer. Do not wear a belt with a big buckle. It will definitely take away all the attention.

Body language is another factor an interviewer will look at. Just one look and he/she can tell if you are nervous or scared. Take a deep breath before you walk into the room. Avoid drinking too much water or you will end up going to the toilet every few minutes. If the interview takes half an hour or more, it will definitely make a bad impression when you need to excuse yourself so often. Just relax and be yourself.

Always be courteous, even when you are told that you may not be suitable for the position. Do not show any anger or dejection when you receive the bad news. You may not have the heart to smile, but do so anyway. Do not let others see how desperate you need the job.

When you are ready, good luck!

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