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Students of English: How can you WIN in job interviews?

4 years ago
Do you need to prepare for a job interview in English? (Maybe you have an interview in the next few weeks; maybe later this year, or "sometime" in the next year or two: NOW is the moment to start preparing yourself to win).

Have you had job interviews (in English or other languages) in the past? How did they go? Did you get a job offer afterward? Why were you successful? Why were you unsuccessful? How can you guarantee future success?

At the bottom of this preamble here, you'll see a list of typical job interview questions. Choose about 5 or 10 of them which you are most likely to be asked in your next job interview, and think about how best you can answer those 5 or 10 questions. Then comment on this thread about how you can best answer those 5 or 10 questions, and I'll give you some feedback as to whether you're on the right track, or whether you're carelessly setting up a trap for yourself to fall into.

Above all, think about this important, common question: What are your greatest weaknesses? What are YOUR greatest weaknesses? Tell me: answer that question here on this thread.
Some general rules:
1. Always tell the truth (because the truth is the easiest thing to remember).
2. Always say positive things about yourself, about your professional and personal history, about the organizations you have worked for and studied at, about your current and previous superiors, and about the organization that is interviewing you.
3. Tell stories/anecdotes to exemplify what you're saying (i.e., DON'T just say "I'm good at meeting deadlines", instead, TELL A (short) STORY about an important deadline that you had to meet recently and explain how you organized your tasks so that you successfully met that deadline).
4. Give SUFFICIENT, APPROPRIATE information in answer to each and every question (i.e., don't "talk too much", and don't give short, one-word answers).
An exception to rule no. 1: if the truth is not positive, then you have to lie. General rules about lying:
1. Be careful to make sure that you tell as few lies as possible.
2. Make sure your lies are plausible, believable and consistent with other information you are providing.
3. Prepare your lies WELL BEFORE the interview, so that you don't find yourself having to make up lies in the interview.
4. Memorize your lies and be ready to say them calmly and casually, as if they were actually true.
5. Never lie about something which the interviewer can easily check.

Ok, so here's that list of common questions. Choose 5 or 10 which you think you're most likely to be asked at your next interview, think about how you can best answer them, and comment to me as to how you will answer those questions so that I can then give you some free, high-quality feedback and help you to SUCCEED:
1. How do you handle stress and pressure?
2. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you successfully overcame the difficulty.
3. How effective are you when working as a member of a team?
4. Do you work better on your own initiative or as part of a team?
5. What leadership skills do you have?
6. How do you deal with "difficult" customers?
7. Do you possess strong negotiating skills?
8. Would you be willing, occasionally, to make personal sacrifices in order to achieve the company's goals?
9. What are your greatest strengths?
10. What are your greatest weaknesses?
11. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
12. How quickly do you learn -and make effective use of- new skills and information?
13. How do you deal with "difficult" co-workers?
14. What would you do if your immediate superior ever instructed you to do something which you know is against company policy?
15. What steps can you take to ensure that your your employer avoids legal challenges?
16. Are you the kind of person who pays attention to details?
17. Do you consider yourself to be a "moral" person?
18. How effective are you at meeting tight deadlines?
19. Have you ever failed to complete any project which your employer was counting on?
20. Do you think it's better to always adhere strictly to the rules, or to finish tasks as quickly as possible?
21. In what ways do you apply what you learnt at university in your everyday work activities?
22. Do you believe it's possible to behave ethically and still make excellent profits?
23. Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
24. How well do you handle disappointment or failure?
25. If you disagree with a co-worker about a strategic matter, whose idea usually prevails?
26. If we hire you, how quickly will you make a positive impact on our organization?
27. What was the toughest decision you've ever had to make?
28. Define "crisis"; how successful have you been in your career whenever you've had to deal with a crisis?
29. How well do you deal with boredom? Do you get bored very often at work?
30. If things are going "too smoothly", how do you react to that situation?
31. Why do you want to work here?
32. If things are going "too smoothly", how do you react to that situation?
33. From your research, what threats do you see on the horizon for our organization, and how would you recommend we should deal with those threats?
34. How do you motivate people working under you to "go the extra mile"?
35. In what situations would you prioritize meeting your targets more highly than maintaining compliance?
36. Is it ever acceptable in business to behave unethically?
37. If we identify a new business opportunity in another part of the world and we decide you're the person we want to lead that project, how would you feel about that?
38. Is there anything you've done so far in your professional career which you wish you had done differently?
39. Is there ever a good reason for sharing confidential information with competitors?
40. What makes you a good fit for our organization?
41. Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years from now?
42. Are audits and inspections a threat or an opportunity?
43. How would you deal with a "lazy" person in your team?
44. How would you react if an ambitious member of your staff seems to be trying to "take over" your job?
45. Are laws sometimes an obstacle to achieving business success?