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Client Feedback

Tui made me feel welcome and showed me that the position I was seeking was her focus and getting me there was paramount to her. The facilitative questioning she used had me examine my personal and philosophical beliefs to do with my work. Tui got into my heart and had me examine who I am and what would be invaluable for the managerial position. She prepared me in all aspects of my job search. Tui is totally professional and worked quickly to a high standard on my behalf. She has also celebrated my success in securing the managerial position I was interviewed for.

Jude, Adult Seeking Career Advancement

Common Questions Asked

Once you have prepared yourself for answering common questions as outlined below, start learning how to answer Competency Based Interview Questions.

Tell us about yourself?

This is an opportunity to share your story and for interviewers to identify with you and find some common ground. Keep your response general and a big picture perspective of who you are. Give them the best of your personal, education and experience. Avoid talking in detail about your skills and achievements. You want to keep some of that for questions that follow.

Structure your answer by breaking your response into four areas:

  • Personal –born and raised; ancestry or pepeha for kaupapa Maori work environments.
  • Education –training institute or university attended and qualification gained.
  • Experience –industry, sector/s of work, employers and significant positions held.
  • Current Situation –current position, employer and professional development

Quick Tips for Answering this BIG Question

  • Focus on relevant experiences.
  • Avoid details this is a big picture perspective of who you are.
  • Cover the four areas as highlighted above.
  • Speak in narrative – tell your story.but keep it short.

Why should we hire you?

This is where you would highlight your point of difference, how you add value or as expressed in business your 'competitive advantage'. What sets you apart from others? Describe how you have stepped up and managed relevant tasks or solved similar problems with reference to the position in question.

Talk about (knowledge, experience, specialist skills and personal strengths) that are relevant to the position being applied for. Especially industry experience and specialist knowledge or qualifications that are relevant.

Mention the value-add stuff that you would bring to the job. Also mention how your goals align with the position, team and organisation and be enthusiastic about why you want the job (enthusiasm sells).

Don’t make the mistake of talking about the benefits for you in terms of being hired. Always talk about the benefits to the employer.

Structure your answer by talking to each of the subject areas below:

Experience: "I've got extensive experience in [mention paralleled roles, sectors or industries of work].
Job Specific Skills: “I have the specific skills/knowledge you are looking for in particular (highlight your job specific skills and how you have demonstrated your competence in using these skills.)
Personal Strengths: Concentrate on a couple of your strengths (your value-add or point of difference). Qualities that are important to the position. Provide examples of how you have demonstrated these in the past.

What are your greatest strengths?

By this, an employer means, “What do you do best?”

Focus on your top 3-4 greatest strengths especially those that align with the position and employing organisation, and always give examples of how you demonstrated those strengths.

Before the interview, really soul search what your personal strengths and key skills are,  Think about what others would say especially past employers and those that know you well. Read references, performance appraisals, client feedback etc. to remind yourself of what others would say. Also, think about what you are most proud of or your achievements in life as this will help you to consider what your strengths are.

Endorsements or statements from your written references or performance appraisals are good to mention; confidently state what they are.

For example: -

“I offered constructive, creative ideas in a team for example...”

I am enthusiastic about my work and I love learning new skills. This is evident in my performance appraisals for example ...

"I am exceptional with customers. I enjoy the challenge of turning an unhappy customer into a satisfied one. Just last week I had an experience when ......."

What has been your greatest work-related accomplishment?

Provide an example that is directly related to the job in question. Give specific details about what you did, how you did it, and what the results were. Employers like to hear about accomplishments that reduced expenses, raised revenues, solved problems or enhanced a company's reputation.

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What do you know about our company?

Do your homework on the organisation and talk about products, services, size, reputation, image, values, mission and history etc. Find some common ground when answering this question by adding why you are interested or attracted to the organisation.

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Why do you want this position?

Here's where your research about the company will help you stand out among the other candidates. Again, combine comments about fit and perspective of the company with how your qualifications and objectives complement/fit with the company's mission/vision and values (use specific examples).

If you are applying for a position in a company for which you already work, explain how you'll be able to apply and expand on the knowledge and experience you've gained from your current position, and how you will be able to increase your contributions and value to the company through your new responsibilities.

Talk about opportunities to perform, to be recognised, to utilise abilities, to share specialised knowledge/experience. Share some of your work values especially those that are a fit for the job in question and organisation. Remember it is more about what the organisation will get from you rather than what you will get from the organisation. Think of this when you answer this question.

 Why do you want to work for us?

Comment on ‘fit’ and ‘positive view of the organisation’ where appropriate e.g. your interest in the organisation, industry, products, services, reputation, mission, direction, vision etc. If you have done your research on the organisation you will have some knowledge of any current or future plans that you could mention in terms of opportunities to be involved. Look at the organisations values, mission, vision and successes. How will you compliment or contribute to these? "I know that your goal is to become the biggest provider of hardware supplies in the area. My knowledge and experience of suppliers and the customer base would contribute to this goal greatly."

What are your weaknesses?

Do you know what your weaknesses are? How do you manage them?

Acknowledging a weakness and knowing how you manage them is a sign of maturity and self-understanding.

Do not state more than three and do not use ‘weakness’ examples that are an absolute requirement for the position you are applying for. Keep this simple and always state how you manage your weaknesses or limitations.

Never say, “I can’t think of any weaknesses.”  This answer is unrealistic everyone has weaknesses. Also do not go to the opposite extreme and bombard them with all the things you hate about yourself.

Ways to express your weaknesses or limitations are: -

  • Present a weakness that is really a hidden strength: I was not confident speaking to large groups, however I stepped up when required and realised that the anticipation was scarier than actually speaking. So, I keep telling myself if you are prepared; once you get past that anticipation, you are awesome!. Even though I still feel the fear in the anticipation, I just do it and my confidence has been build up over time.
  • Cite a lesson-learned story: In this strategy, focus on a specific mistake rather than a generalised area of weakness, and tell about the recovery. Ensure the mistake is not a major one and is not relevant to the job in question."In the past I have struggled with delegating however I worked on developing personal effectiveness through coaching and workshops. I now fully utilise staffing resources, talent and my time more effectively”
  • Cite a lapsed skill / or personal attribute: This involves choosing a skill area, preferably one that is unrelated to the job in question, or a skill you prefer not to use again...for example:“My accounting skills are a weakness, however understanding the basics of accounting principles and using calculators, accounting software and spreadsheets alongside my ability to pay attention to details and maintain accuracy has helped me to manage this extremely well”.

QUICK TIPS ON WEAKNESSES QUESTION

  • Don’t state a weakness that is an essential part of the job.
  • Give them at least 2 and a maximum of 3 weakness statements
  • Always tell of how you manage your weaknesses
  • Be authentic and strategic with your weakness statements
  • Emphasise how your weaknesses are hidden strengths.

© Common Questions Asked by Tui Needham, Strategic Career Services

 

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