Kelly Services wants to help you successfully advance your career objectives.
We've spent more than 50 years interviewing and being interviewed and have
compiled a list of some of the most common interview questions and effective,
appropriate responses. Be prepared, be yourself and make sure you're ready to
answer some tough questions.
Be prepared to talk for two minutes about yourself. Be
logical. Start anywhere, such as high school, college or your first professional
position. The interviewer is trying to evaluate your communication skills and
linear thinking. You may try to score a point or two by describing a major
This is a very critical question. Don't bad mouth
your previous employer or co-workers or sound too opportunistic. It's fine to
mention major problems, a buy-out or a shutdown. You may want to state that
after long personal consideration, your chance to make a contribution is very
low due to extensive company-wide changes.
A good answer to this
question can get you the job. Prepare extensively—discuss hard work, long hours,
pressure and important company issues at stake. You may want to tell a two
minute detailed story, discussing personal involvement.
Pick two or three
main factors about the job and about yourself that are most relevant. Discuss
for two minutes, including specific details. You may mention a technical skill,
a management skill and/or a personal success story.
interviewer is trying to determine your goal orientation, work ethic, personal
commitment and integrity. Prepare a good example where you overcame difficulties
and succeeded. Prove that you're not a quitter.
The interviewer is trying to determine compatibility with the open position.
Be careful; don't say you dislike overtime, like management, or get too
detailed. It's safe to say that you like challenges, pressure situations,
opportunities to grow, or that you dislike bureaucracy and frustrating
situations."How do you handle pressure? Do you like or dislike
these situations?"High achievers tend to perform well in
high-pressure situations. Conversely, these questions could imply that the open
position is pressure-packed and out of control. Know what you're getting into.
If you do perform well under stress, provide a good, detailed example. Be
descriptive."The sign of a good employee is the ability to take
initiative. Can you describe a situation where you did this?"The
proactive, results-oriented person doesn't have to be told what to do. To
convince the interviewer you possess this trait, give a series of short examples
describing your self-motivation. Discuss one example in-depth, describing the
extra effort, your strong work ethic and your creative, resourceful
side."What was the worst/most embarrassing situation of your
career? How would you have done things differently with 20/20
hindsight?"Your interviewer wants to know how introspective you
are, and to see if you can learn from your mistakes. Don't be afraid to talk
candidly about your failures, especially if you learned something significant
from them."How have you grown or changed over the past few
years?"Maturation, increased technical skills and increased
self-confidence are important developmental aspects. To discuss these
effectively is indicative of a well-balanced, intelligent individual. Overcoming
personal obstacles or recognizing manageable weaknesses can help identify you as
an approachable and desirable employee."What do you consider
your most significant strength?"Know your key five or six
strengths—the ones most compatible with the job opening. Discuss each with
specific examples. Don't include your management or interpersonal skills unless
you can describe specific examples of good management, or how your relationship
skills have been critical to your success."Deadlines,
frustrations, difficult people and silly rules can make a job difficult. How do
you handle these types of situations?"Most companies,
unfortunately, face these problems daily. If you can't deal with petty problems,
you'll be seen as uncooperative. How you overcome these are important.
Diplomacy, perseverance and common sense will prevail in difficult
circumstances."One of our biggest problems is… What has been
your experience with this? How would you deal with it?"Think on
your feet. Ask questions to get more details and break the problem into
subsections. It is highly likely that you will have had some experience dealing
with the subsections. Answer these and summarize the total. If you can't answer
directly, state how you would go about solving the problem. Be specific and show
your organizational and analytical skills."How has your
technical ability been important in accomplishing results?"A
potential employee needs a strong level of technical competence. Most strong
managers have good technical backgrounds. Describe specific examples of your
technical abilities, and how you resolved a technical issue."How
would you handle a situation with tight deadlines, low employee morale and
inadequate resources?"Your interviewer is looking for strong
management skills. You need to be creative and describe your toughest management
task, even if it doesn't meet all the criteria. Most situations don't.
Organizational and interpersonal skills, handling pressure and good handling of
this question are indicative of effective management skills."Are
you satisfied with your career to date? What would you change if you
could?"Be honest. The interviewer wants to know if you'll be happy.
Are you willing to make some sacrifices to get your career on the right track?
Your degree of motivation is an important selection factor."What
are your career goals? Where do you see yourself five or ten years from
now?"Be realistic! Pie-in-the-sky goals label you as immature. One
or two management jumps in 3-5 years is a reasonable goal. If your track record
indicates you're in line for senior management in 10 years, then mention it. If
you've had a rocky road, be introspective."Why should we hire
you for this position? What kinds of contributions would you
make?"This is a good chance to summarize. By now, you should know
the key problems. Restate and show how you would address them. Don't be
arrogant—instead demonstrate a thoughtful, organized and strong attitude.
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