10 Tough Questions Interviewers Ask

1. Tell me about yourself?
Restrict your answer to a minute of two. Cover your education and work history, and emphasise your recent career experience.

2. What do you know about us?
You should be able to discuss the products or services, revenues, reputation, image, goals, problems, management style, people, history and philosophy. Show that you have done some research, but do not act as if you know everything about the place.

3. Why do you want to work for us?
You can say that your research has shown that the company is doing things you would like to be involved in, and that it is doing them in ways that greatly interest you.

4. What can you do for us that someone else can’t?
Talk about your record of getting things done, and mention specifics in your resume or list your career accomplishments. Say your skills and interests, combines with a history of getting results, make you valuable. Mention your ability to set priorities, identify problems and use your experience and energy to solve them.

5. What do you expect to be doing in this role?
Think in terms of responsibilities and accountability. Make sure that you really do understand what the position involves. If you are not certain, ask the interviewer: he may answer the question for you.

6. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution?
Be realistic. Say that, while you would expect to pull your own weight from the first day, it might take six months to a year before you could expect to know your organisation and its needs well enough to make a contribution.

7. Do you think you are overqualified or too experience?
Emphasise your interest in establishing a long-term association with the organisation, and say that you assume that if you perform well in this job, new opportunities will open up for you. Mention that a strong company needs strong staff. Observe that experienced executives are always at a premium. Suggest that since you are so well-qualified, the employer will get a fast return on his investment.

8. What is your management style?
Possible styles include:
• Task-oriented: “I enjoy problem solving, choosing a solution and implementing it”
• Results-oriented: “Every management decision I make is determined by how it will affect the bottom line.”
• Paternalistic: “I am committed to taking care of my subordinates and pointing them in the right direction.”
• Participative: “I prefer an open-door method of managing and getting things done by motivating people and delegating responsibilities.”

9. Why are you leaving (did you leave) your (last) present job?
Be brief and as honest as you can without hurting yourself. If you were laid off in an across-the-board cutback, say so: otherwise, indicate that the move was your decision. Do not mention personality conflicts.

10. What do you think of your boss?
Be as positive as you can. A potential boss is likely to wonder if you might talk to him in similar terms at some point in the future.

Source: Article by Sattar Bawanym Head of Transition Coaching Practice with DBM Asia Pacific.

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