Monday, March 18, 2013

The Job Interview Questions of Doom

I like being prepared for things, it's just who I am.  Illustrated by my hate of travelling with backpacks, instead of suitcases.  A backpack implies drifting, packing up at a moments notice and moving on.  A suitcase to me signifies planned events, knowledge of moving-on date, calm organisation.  Try organising your things in a pack, I dare you.

Anyway;  (random segue, travel is totally on my mind) The job interview typically contains Questions Of Doom, to weed the losers from the winners, as I'm sure everyone knows by now.  My preparation for job interviews includes significant research via both internet and brain-picking of friends who have 'gone before'.  I've had a couple of peeps ask what questions I've had, in turn, and thought I'd pop that shiz in a handy dandy list for future reference.

My own prep-list was quite a bit longer, and I physically wrote in answers to everything.  Thus if you actually get asked on the day, you don't have that moment of panic - oh my god what do I say where do I start.  But I have cut out the job-specific questions here, and more than likely you are prepared to answer that sort of thing already.

It's probably worth noting too, that no matter how much preparation you do, they are still highly likely to throw you a curve ball; I know when I am in the position to be interviewing people in the future - I will be trying my darnedest for the sneaky curve balls.  And, most likely - I've missed out some crackers.  Feel free to hit me up with some sticky QOD lurking in your past, if you like.

In no particular order.

1. Tell us about a time you've had to deal with conflict and how you felt with it?

If you hate dealing with conflict, that is ok too - just know responsible strategies for dealing - like delegation, or having a mediator to handle the sticky stuff.

2. How would your best friend describe you?

This one is my most dreaded (and experienced).  I've never asked any friends to describe me!  But incidentally - I'm good with words, so email me, my lovelies, and I'll describe you, no sweat.  At least you'll be prepared!

3. What do you think will be challenging to you in this position?

4. Tell us your plan, what would you do in the first three months? First year?

Don't stress too much here, you are obviously allowed, and expected, to earmark time in there for learning/settling in.  Its always good to start a new thing with a goal in mind though, and no one wants a lay-about straight off the mark.  Things like becoming fully confident and competent with company rules, processes and regulations, developing trust and reliance within the team etc are all important too.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  10 years?

As for question 4, I don't honestly think anyone expects you to have your life planned out in significant detail.  I figure this question is basically asking: "do you plan on quitting this job any time soon, if we give it to you?"

6. What has been your most disappointing experience?

7. What are your strengths?

8. What's your biggest weakness?  

The Veined One tells me Stephen Fry suggests you avoid the cliché answer of 'perfectionist'.  I'd suggest being honest, and avoiding the deliberate humble-brag.  If you have to be sneaky or lie to get a job, I doubt you're the kind of person who would care to read this list anyway.  Or my ramblings, for that matter.  Trust in your mad skillz, yo!  And everyone is allowed weaknesses, you just have to know how to work around them.

9. What do you consider your greatest achievement in life?

10. What motivates you?

11. What do you think about team work? Are you a team player?

The significance of this question changes with the role - will you actually be working in a team, or will you need to be fine with spending long hours isolated and self-motivated?

12. How would you handle a tough boss/client whom you think is being unreasonable?

13. Can you give me an example of your multi-tasking ability?

14. Can you handle pressure at work? How do you deal with it?

15. Do you prefer working independently or do you require constant supervision?

16. What do you expect to gain from this job?

17. How would my previous experience be an asset to the company?
Some of the questions are obviously hinting towards the answer wanted, like number 15.  And you're a smart thing, so I'm sure you know to try and make your answers relevant.  If your greatest achievement in life is to grow 5cm long big toe hair, then firstly - big ups, that's amazing!, second - perhaps pretend your second greatest is first, just for the interview.

Always, always have some questions prepared to ask them at the end (prior, company research!).  And try your hardest, even if the Skype connection keeps dying.

And remember that you will still most likely make a fool of yourself over one question, at least.  But the odds are you will notice it more than they, and a bit of nerves is expected.  And finally - I doubt anyone by now has worked out how to tell what the interviewers thought of you, so go do something random (like bake Kermit macarons) to distract yourself, it is now out of your hands.

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