Job Interviews

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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“So, any questions?”

If you’re someone who immediately answers “no” when asked if you have any questions, it’s time you break the habit. Being a little more curious can help you land that dream job.

By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman

Three days before the actual job interview, you’ve already researched the company in detail, rehearsed your astute response to the basic opening question (“So, tell me more about yourself.”) and chosen The Outfit. Now, leave it up to fate – or rather, the hiring managers – and maybe utter a prayer or two.

Over-preparation for a big interview is a distinguishing trait of most novice jobseekers. Most hasten to anticipate possible questions and expect the far too unexpected. Some candidates are articulate when it comes to overtly marketing themselves. But when posed with two simple words – ‘Any questions?’ – they stare, flummoxed.

It’s time to evict the assumption that there is nothing wrong with being completely bereft of doubts and queries during the interview. The truth is, there are some things that no amount of homework can help you find out. Asking questions indicates your level of interest in the company and the position you’re applying for, or lack thereof.

Here are 10 pertinent questions you can ask at a job interview, to show that finding a good fit is as important to you as it is to your recruiters.

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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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Why didn't I get the job?

Create the right first impression, establish rapport with the interviewer, and the rest may be straightforward.

You have all the qualifications and work experiences that the new job asks for. You are more enthusiastic, responsible and capable than charity fundraisers. You don’t smoke or swear or cheat on your girlfriend and past employers. What more can a job interviewer want?

Yet after the first interview session, there’s complete silence from the company until you finally call and they tell you the job has already been filled.

What went wrong for you?

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What You Should Not Do at an Interview

A successful interview is not only dependent on what you did right, but also on what you avoid doing as well. Read on to find out what are the mistakes you should not be making.
By Leona Ang

Most people are focused on doing everything right in an interview. They research and ask around for tips on how to handle an interview. Sometimes, in the fervent spirit of doing everything right, you might end up doing the wrong thing. Hence, while finding out what needs to be done, you should also take note on what to avoid in order to increase the chance of a successful interview. Here is a list of things to look out for!

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