Interview

Acing Tricky Questions

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by Dennis Nishi
September 5, 2010

On her second round of interviews for an editorial job in Chicago, Jess Wangsness was asked: If you could be a giraffe without a neck or an elephant without a trunk, which would you choose and why?

"Even though none of it had anything to do with the job, we had a fairly animated conversation about elephant behavior," Ms. Wangsness says. She didn't get the job but still wonders about the question. "Perhaps employers simply like to gauge just how interesting their candidates really are?" she says.

Regardless of how offbeat some interview questions may sound, most employers have their own hidden reasons for asking them. Usually, such queries are a way to uncover information about you that standard interview questions don't suss out. And whether the goal is to gauge your leadership aptitude or test your ability to handle stress, experts say you should stay composed and answer concisely.

The way you react to a question or work through an answer can actually score more points with the interviewer than the answer you give.

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How to Say Thanks After an Interview

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For job candidates seeking an edge, sending interviewers a customized thank-you is critical. Recruiters estimate that most candidates make the effort to send thank-yous, but only half go the extra mile to customize them for the job they’re seeking.

If you’re interviewing with several employers, check that each thank-you shows the correct company and recruiter name. After all, you don’t want to accidentally send a thank-you addressed to, say, the company’s competitor.

It’s also important to be specific and show off your listening skills. If you discussed a particular trend or issue with the interviewer, mention it again in your thank-you or even include a link to a recent news story on the subject. This will show that you focused on what was going on during the interview and that you are serious about the opportunity.

Try tapping into the employer’s culture. For example, a candidate for a job at Coca-Cola Co. signed his thank-you with the company slogan, “Have a Sweet Day.” But no matter how laid-back an employer seems, keep your thank-you professional. Thank-yous with slang or funky spelling are unlikely to impress. Expressing some individuality is OK, but what an employer primarily wants to see is that the candidate knows proper business etiquette.

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Checklist for The Big Interview

The days of head-spinning application procedures, challenging written tests and endless fretting are over – Yes, you have finally received a call from your scholarship organisation. Take a breather and then it’s time to tackle the next challenge in line – the interview.

By Becky Lo

As most scholarship applications involve more than one interview and a sizeable amount of effort is required, it is best if you can start preparations earlier. On a positive note, you are one step closer to that coveted scholarship. Now, all you have do is to stand out from the rest and convince the company that you are worth every cent they are going to spend on your education.

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The Perfect Answer?

The bad news is, there is no ten-year-series to give you the perfect answers to memorise for the dreaded scholarship interview. But the good news is, here are some tips on six of the common questions asked and some of the best ways to handle them.

By Becky Lo

1. Tell me about yourself.
Interviewers often like to start off with this question, which may sound very simple but can be very tricky. Your answer to this question sets the tone for the rest of the interview and gives the interviewers the first peek into your personality.

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Surviving Killer Interviews

Here’s what usually happens at an interview: You enter the room, answer some questions, talk about yourself, smile, and leave. Sounds simple? Unfortunately, that is hardly ever the case.

By Azhar Jalil

Job interviews are an entrenched part of the hiring process and considered the key step for deciding which candidate is best suited for a particular position.

At the same time, however, job interviews are also often highly subjective. Interviewers, being human, are naturally biased and thus discriminatory, whether explicitly or not. Also, interviews are frequently unstructured and therefore rather limited in terms of comparing candidates objectively.

Moreover, traditional face-to-face interviews demand substantial resources from employers but do not always effectively forecast a candidate’s actual working performance.

These factors have caused employers to take up alternative interview methods which are more valuable as predictive tools, so as to better assess potential hires in a more effective and holistic manner.

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