Tag Archives: interview

The Job Interview Questions You Need to Know

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

When it comes to job hunting, too many people are unprepared. There are plenty of questions that you should have answers for ahead of time. Here the most important questions you will encounter on an interview:

What do You think your Weaknesses are?

This may be the most popular question. Be sure to minimize your weaknesses and emphasize your strengths, and always focus on your professional traits. For example, you could say to your interviewer that you are always working on improving your communication skills to be an even better presenter, and that you recently joined Toastmasters to refine your speaking skills.

Why do You think we should Hire You?

For this question, you’ll to summarize your experiences. For example, you could say, “With five years’ experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”

Tell Me why You want to Work with Us.

With this question the interviewer is actually for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

What are Your Career Goals?

Talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility.”

Why did You Part Ways with Your Previous Company?

If you’re unemployed, be sure to state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20 percent reduction in the workforce, which included me.” If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”

What did you Like about Your Old Job?

When an interview asks this question, they are actually interested in what motivates you personally. Relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. “I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me.”

What Makes You Unique?

You will need to take an assessment of your experiences, skills and traits in order to answer this question. Be sure to summarize concisely: “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly.”


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11 Tips for Nailing the Big Interview

Nail Biting MomentThe big job interview. We’ve all been there: it’s pretty nerve-wracking. That’s why we’ve assembled 11 easy-to-remember tips for next time you’re on the hot seat.

1.  Research the company – don’t go into a meeting “blind.” Do your research – as quick as a ten-minute gallop through Google. Find out recent news about the company, new products, new initiatives, how the housing downturn has affected their bottom line. Anything to provide a little conversational fodder.

  1. Dress at their level or above – Just because they have casual Friday doesn’t mean you should amble in wearing your dungarees. Show them this interview is important to you by dressing the part.
  2. Firm handshake – Sure, the “you can judge a person by their handshake” philosophy belongs more to the older generation, but it never hurts to squeeze like you mean it, no matter what your interviewer’s age.
  3. Keep chatter uncontroversial – Don’t venture into any touchy subjects. The weather is fine; your stance on gun control is not.
  4. Maintain eye contact – This is a biggie. Eye contact shows you are confident, engaged, and present.
  5. Try your clothes on beforehand – In your unemployed glory, you may have had the luxury of wearing sweatpants for the last six months, but don’t let it show. Make sure your interview clothes fit properly and look good, and that you haven’t grown or shrunk since last time.
  6. Magic Question A – Interviewers often delight in throwing you a curveball question. Come up with a great canned response for this gem: Describe a situation at work where you experienced a challenge or obstacle, and what you did to overcome that obstacle.
  7. Magic Question B – The other interview staple you need a good answer for: Describe a time you had a disagreement with a coworker or boss, and what you did to resolve the situation.
  8. Get a handle on your previous job(s) – You should be prepared to explain the duties of your previous job. And you should also be ready to explain why you left it. If you were downsized or if you left to raise your family, no biggie. If you were fired, you better be ready to do your best salesperson routine and let the interviewer know how this time will be different.
  9. Lose any accessories – Psychologically, you don’t want to create any negative associations. If you’re chewing gum, you’re the rude person. If you bring food, you’re the piggish person (hey, not fair, but nonetheless true). If you’re playing games on your iPhone in the waiting area (God forbid), you’re the childish one. Let them judge you on your merits, and not any unfair associations.
  10. Be yourself – You knew this cliché was coming, right? But it’s deceptively difficult to actually pull this off, nervous as you are. You’ll need to extend energy and maintain uncommon focus to “be yourself.” But it’s worth the effort: you are your own best asset!