Interview Questions. version no.: 2.0 date: 13 March 2014

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1 Interview Questions version no.: 2.0 date: 13 March 2014

2 Contents # Item 1 Introduction 2 Behavioural interviewing (STAR) 3 Questions used as a light touch and to open up discussion 4 You and the job: experience, fit, ambition, skills, work preferences 5 Who are you? 6 Will you fit in at the company? 7 What will you cost us? 8 Asking your own questions in an interview 2

3 Introduction Interviews are both a science and an art and are essentially about relationships formed in the moment, for the specific purpose of selecting a skilled resource to a specific role. Fundamentally, then, YOU are the subject and the object of the event. So, preparation, for each one, is vital. Being yourself is obviously the best way to establish relationship, but in the stress of the interview and as the focus of all the attention, it s easy to forget who you are, even what you ve done and things that would normally be front of mind. This section presents some technical information that can help you think about how to answer and it also gives you a long list of sample questions / subject you might like to glance through to spark thoughts and focus your preparation. 3

4 Behavioural Interviewing (STAR) Behavioural interviewing (sometimes called STAR) is a very common interviewing technique for assessing the suitability of a jobseeker and their skills by trying to predict fit and future performance. It is particularly suited to the South African labour law framework which encourages accurate and comparative documentation and the use of a standard question set for all applicants for a job. It is usually used in combination with more conversational forms, however, so it s good to know a little about how it works. 4

5 Behavioural Interviewing (STAR) Behavioural interview questions are based on the idea that your previous behaviour is the best (and only factual) indicator of how you will perform in the future. The question requires the interviewee to provide an actual example from their work or life experience. Questions will start with words such as "tell me about a time when..." Or "give me an example of..." or have you ever. These questions direct you to answer about a real experience in a real job previously in your career. This is good for you because its more relaxing answering about real events than having to guess what they want to hear. For the interviewer, having real history to refer to means they can question and delve and understand how you work more easily. If you are asked questions in this format, it is useful to know that the interviewer will be looking for a STAR answer, and indeed they might even tell you this. 5

6 Behavioural Interviewing (STAR) STAR is an acronym for Situation Task Action Result. in other words they would like you to describe the Situation you are choosing as your example of the time when you were asked about, and then the Task that you were given, followed by the Action you then took and its results: hence STAR. Note that this format allows you to describe the problem in the company or your team or job and what was asked of you. So it is thus an opportunity for you to demonstrate your critical thinking, your analysis of what would work best, how you order your actions in response to the issues, context, people and so on around you and what kind of results you achieve in your work. In fact, a STAR answer is the most humble way to boast about how good you are, because its logical and simple and helpful to your interviewer. Even if you are not being specifically asked to answer in this way, you can Choose to; it anyway presents you as clear-thinking, direct and factual, which are welcome qualities for an interviewer. 6

7 Behavioural Interviewing (STAR) To help you think through interview preparations and to practice your selfpresentation, we ve listed some typical or common questions below in helpful sections that are often reflected in interview structures. Feel free to glance through them and try them on yourself as part of your preparation. Remember the interviewer s job is to find the information about you that can match your skills and ambitions to the role and the company. Sometimes this can be difficult for them, so don t be shy to make the obvious link between your past and the role you re applying for. After all you know your fit to role better than anyone! 7

8 Questions used as a light touch and to open up discussion Tell me something about yourself. (Remember, say something positive.) How do you handle stressful situations? How do you deal with criticism? What is your definition of success? Why do you think that you would fit in with this company? (This is where your research comes in handy) Have you ever been fired, if so, why? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How would you cope working on your own or in a team? Why are you interested in working for this company? How do you handle a difference of opinion with your colleagues or superiors? Why should we hire you? 8

9 Questions used as a light touch and to open up discussion Tell me what your most rewarding college experience was. What extracurricular activities did you participate in (at school)(at college)(at previous employer)? What have you learned (in college)(at work)(in life) that applies directly to this job? How have you prepared yourself for the transition from (college)(your previous job) to this workplace? What are your plans for future study? Do you have any? What experience have you had that helped you prepare for this type of work? What do you think is the best asset that you could bring to our company? 9

10 You and the job: Experience, Fit, Ambition, Skills, Work Preferences What interests you most about this job? What do you think this job will offer you? What did you like most and least in your last job? What sort of supervisory experience do you have? What financial responsibilities have you had? What is the most difficult decision you have had to make in the last twelve months? Which of your achievements has given you the greatest satisfaction? In what ways do you believe you are qualified to do this job? Would you be willing to undergo psychological testing? What have you learned from your previous jobs? In your last job, did you discover a problem that your predecessors had left untreated? If yes, what did you do about it? What type of job is best suited to you: technical or management? Why? What do you see as the major trends in our field? 10

11 You and the job: Experience, Fit, Ambition, Skills, Work Preferences Why do you think you have the potential for this job? In what ways do you believe you are qualified to do this job? How would you describe the position for which you are applying? How do you improve yourself professionally? What are your greatest achievements? How would you describe your ideal working conditions? What would you do if you were completely overwhelmed with work and knew you couldn't meet the deadline? How would you cope working on your own or in a team? How do you learn best? I have three candidates, including you, for this position. What criteria should I use to decide whom to hire? How much time will you need on the job before you are fully productive? How does an employer demonstrate social responsibility? Does this matter to you? 11

12 Who are you? What makes you unique? How do you respond when your ideas are rejected? What kinds of things cause you to lose interest in a project? What do you like to do when you are not working? How do you react when you realise that you have made a mistake? How do you react when you are angry? How do you operate under stress? What regrets do you have about your career? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you most want to improve in the next year? Give me some examples of your creativity on the job? How would you describe your personality? 12

13 Who are you? How do you react when you are told your methodology or approach isn't working? How do you define success? What is your leadership style? What is your favourite website and why? Who has been the biggest source of inspiration in your professional life, and why? What do you think of my style of interviewing? If you were conducting this interview, would you do something differently? How did you overcome the negative impact of losing a job? What is your biggest failure and what did you learn from it? Describe your ideal job and employer. What type of decision is the most difficult for you to make? Could you describe your worst day and how you dealt with it? Are your past actions consistent with your values? What will bring you the most satisfaction in your next job? 13

14 Will you fit in at the company? How long will you stay with us? How long have you stayed at previous jobs? How would you describe your last boss? How do you contribute to team spirit? Why were you let go from your last job? (If applicable) How do you think your subordinates perceive you? Describe the most difficult person with whom you have worked. How would you characterise your relationships with your colleagues? With what types of people do you have the most difficulty dealing? Can you discuss a time when you had a disagreement with your last boss? Describe the best boss you've ever had. If your boss implemented a plan or policy that you strongly disagreed with, what would you do? How would you rate the company you previously worked for? Why do you think communication is important at work? 14

15 Will you fit in at the company? What is your teamwork style? What was the outcome of your last performance evaluation? Why are you looking for a job? Why have you been unemployed for so long? Why did you quit your last job? Why do you want to work for this company? What is the status of your job hunt? Have you approached other organisations? Why should i hire you instead of someone else? If i were to make you a firm job offer, what would your answer be? Tell me about any other job offers you have received. How will you decide which job offer to take, including ours? We're just about done. do you have any questions to ask me? 15

16 What will you cost us? What was your last salary? How did you justify your salary in your last job? What salary figure do you have in mind? Would you be willing to accept a lower salary for a training period of six months? What kind of benefits are you looking for? How important is salary to you? How do you feel about working overtime? What do you expect to be earning in five years? 16

17 Asking your own questions in an interview When invited, ask as many job-related questions as possible. This will give the interviewer the impression that you are keen and knowledgeable. If, during the interview, additional information about the role you have applied for might help you direct your answer more concisely, it is feasible to ask specific questions for the sake of clarification. It s also important, however, not to do this without obvious reason. In terms of the questions you might like to think about asking, here s a list to help you prepare: o what is the greatest challenge for this role? o what are the most important qualities and/or criteria for this position? o please can you describe a normal working day? o what is expected from the successful candidate in the first two months? o how or why has this position become available? o who will the successful candidate report to? o are there any pending changes, within the company, that will affect this position? o what is the company s policy on performance reviews and how often are they conducted? o please may I see around the office and where the successful candidate will be located? 17

18 Asking your own questions in an interview Questions continued: o what training and/or other educational opportunities are offered? o what is the dress code? o please can you tell me about the profitability of the company. o can you describe the team that I would be working with? o I am interested to know more about the background of the company; please can you share this with me. o what is the turnover of the company? o what is the market share of your company? o please describe the corporate culture of the company. o what is the company's management style? o what IT equipment is provided for this role and what software packages are used throughout the business? o please can you describe the personality of the manager I would report to? what does he/she like/not like? 18

19 Asking your own questions in an interview It is recommended that you do not discuss salaries, benefits, working hours, working conditions or leave until the second interview or unless the employer brings up these topics. If you are asked about your salary expectations, stay open and share with them, confidently, what your current earnings are and what your expectations are. Remember, we are here to help you resolve issues of contractual terms and conditions and to negotiate salary expectations on both sides as well. 19

20 Thank You 20

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