Staffing firm gives job seekers guidance in answering some of the most challenging interview questions.
Solid preparation is an essential ingredient for a great job interview. But sometimes, even well prepared job seekers stumble when it comes to tough interview questions. According to the staffing firm, Randstad Canada, the key to answering difficult interview questions is to focus on outcomes.
Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Randstad Canada says, “Tough interview questions are an opportunity for job seekers to show that they know what they want, they are proud of their career path and looking for an opportunity to grow. Well handled, a tough interview can become a real door opener.”
Parker discusses some of the most difficult questions employers can ask, and offers advice on how to answer them:
Tell me about yourself?
“This question may be challenging because you need to find a good balance between providing enough information about yourself, without rambling. The key is to keep your answers focused on information relevant to the position.”
What are your weaknesses?
“This is one of the questions job seekers fear the most. The best way to answer is by choosing a professional trait and explain how it can be an advantage if well managed. When you identify a weakness, remind the employer you are actively taking actions to correct it. For example, ‘I used to have trouble with procrastination, now I have learned to write down a list of things that I need to do, and keep a calendar to keep track of deadlines.'”
Why did you leave your previous job, and why are you leaving your current position?
“Be as honest and specific as possible. Remain positive and focused on the future. Always be respectful of your previous employer. If you currently have a job, focus on what kind of skills you want to develop and how this position fits in with your career plan.”
What are your long-range career goals?
“The employer wants to know if you can see yourself working for the company on a long-term basis. Emphasize that you want to secure a position that offers opportunities to grow, develop skills and take on challenges and responsibilities. Do not indicate that you hope to start your own business, change careers or are thinking of going back to school full-time.”
What are your salary expectations?
“Try to avoid giving out a precise number at this point. Focus on how important it is for you to learn more about the job. If pressed to answer – give a range of what you understand you are worth in the marketplace.”
Do you have any questions?
“This is a great opportunity to show your interest in the company. Ask questions about the company’s culture, advancement opportunities and what you can expect from your future colleagues.”
“An interview is a great opportunity to reflect on your past accomplishments and future goals,” Parker says. “Take the time to review what you have done, where you want to go, be honest and to the point. If you engage in conversation in a compelling, relevant and positive way with your prospective employer, you’ll give yourself the best chance to land the job you want.”