Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Following is a list of questions often asked during job interviews.
·         Tell me about yourself. Suggestion: You should limit your answer to two minutes. In addition to providing factual information, emphasize the work experience you enjoyed the most and the positive results you accomplished. Point out to your strengths and good work habits. This question is a test of your ability to select the relevant portions of your background, and present that information clearly in a short time.
·         What are your major strengths? Suggestion: This is an opportunity for you to focus on your personal traits such as integrity, punctuality, persistence, enthusiasm, hard work, and the ability to get along with others. You should highlight two to three traits and describe how those traits helped you to do a superior job in your previous positions.
·         What is your major weakness? Suggestion: You need to give an honest answer, and at the same time, make a positive presentation. When you mention a weakness, also point out some positive aspects associated with it. You may also want to refer to your self-improvement programs such as training courses.
·         Why are you interested in this position? Suggestion: Describe how your skills, experiences and background match the job requirements.
·         Why do you want to leave your present job? Suggestion: Say positive things about your company and your boss (whenever that is true). Emphasize how the position for which you are interviewing, offers a better opportunity to use your skills and experiences.
·         Why should we hire you? Suggestion: This question is uppermost in the interviewer’s mind whether it is asked directly like this, or in another way. The right way to answer this question is to point out the benefits that will result to the employer by hiring you. You should offer some proof by relating how you helped your previous employers make more money by increasing sales and revenue or by reducing costs or solving problems.
·         What are your salary requirements? Suggestion: The best way to answer this question is to say that you are very interested in the position, and the salary would be negotiable. You should not name a number for the desired salary at this early stage. However, if pressed for this information, give a broad, but feasible range that can help the company determine if you fit within the salary guidelines for the company. When the salary question is asked by a recruiter from an executive search firm, you should clearly state your requirements. The recruiter needs to know if your salary requirements match the client guidelines, and whether you should be referred to the hiring company.
·         How does your experience relate to this job? Suggestion: This is a direct question, and an opportunity to emphasize how your experience fits the job requirements. You should pick each of the major job requirements and describe how your experience would enable you to do an excellent job.
Here is a great question some interviewers use to judge the quality of the candidate they are facing. They ask “Tell me how you spent your day yesterday”. If you have a disciplined and well organized daily routine, you will probably talk about reading the newspaper and trade magazines, checking the available positions of interest online and in print media, adding names and phones to your contact list, researching the companies you have targeted for job search, preparing follow-up letters and thank you notes, making follow-up phone calls, and doing your favorite exercise routine to keep your body in shape. On the other hand, persons who are not focused and organized will probably show their true character. This is a good way for employers to rule out unsuitable candidates.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Your job search preparation must include the following two elements: Define the Job You Want and Your Key Message; and then develop a list of Potential Employers.
Define the Job You Want and Your Key Message
This is a statement of the kind of job you want based on a clear understanding of your skills and interests. It tells your prospective employers what you are looking for. You may define it by picking a job title such as “Sales Representative” or by selecting a range of job titles such as “Marketing Management”. This would help you in putting together your resume and cover letters. By focusing on jobs that match your skills and interests, you improve the chances of finding a suitable position.
In addition, you need to develop the key message you are going to convey to prospective employers and to those in your network. This message describes how you are a good candidate for the position you are pursuing. You will put your key message in your resume and repeat it again and again in job interviews. That means going beyond determining a job title or cluster of jobs that will suit you. You have to prepare a key statement that describes you to prospective employers.
Prepare yourself to answer the question that often comes up in job interviews: “Why should we hire you?”  This question is a test of your ability to select the relevant portions of your background to show how you meet the job requirements, and present that information clearly in a two-minute presentation. You should write such a statement, practice how you will deliver it in a job interview, and review it carefully to use in your resume.
To prepare your key message, you need to go to your list of accomplishments and skills and then describe your strengths to do the job you want. You need to focus on your desired job when preparing your key message. It should provide evidence that you can effectively handle the job you want to do. You should state your skills, personal qualities, experience and accomplishments that support the cluster of jobs that you are seeking. Your key message will guide your communications including resume preparation, conversations with contacts in your network, and job interviews.
Preparing a list of your skills and linking your skills with stories of accomplishments is a good way to begin to develop your key message. As you proceed with your job search and share your key message in your conversations and written communications, you will certainly find ways to refine your message and present stories of your accomplishments. Keep your target audience uppermost in your mind when you prepare and revise your key message. Discuss your key message with some friends, and particularly with two to three professionals in your field, who can give you an objective assessment.
Most people underestimate their value. They do not realize the skills and experience they bring to the table. While you must not lie about your qualifications, you need to disclose them fully to get the kind of job and compensation you deserve.
Develop a list of Potential Employers
Once you have identified the job you want, you need to determine where you want to work. That depends on where the jobs are located or what business organizations are looking for people to do the type of work you are interested in doing. This exercise will lead you to the development of your target list of prospective employers. Your interest and preferences play a key role in developing such a list. You may prefer certain target employers because of where they are located or type of industry or the employer’s size or other factors.
The selection of your target list depends on where the jobs are for which you are qualified and what are your personal preferences. Some people do not want to relocate and have strong preference as to where they want to live. That puts a limitation on where they can work. Another consideration is your choice of industry. While some occupations may limit your choice of industries, many other occupations allow you to work in a wide range of industries. The size of a prospective employer (number of employees, annual revenue) may not be important in your search. On the other hand, some persons like to work for big companies with a lot of employees and resources while others prefer small organizations. If the size of a company is an important consideration for you, you will need to keep this in mind when picking your list of target companies.  Having a target list of prospective employers will enable you to tap into the unadvertised job market. It will give you the ability to talk to the employers you have chosen rather than depending exclusively on the job openings appearing in newspapers or on the Internet. It is estimated that between 50- 75 percent of the jobs are filled without ever being advertised. You will be able to research companies of special interest to you, and refine your target list as you move on with your job search. This will also enable you to make a better use of your network. You will have a list of your desired employers with you to share with contacts in your network.
When preparing your target list, focus on companies that are well suited to your skills and fields of greatest interest. This is a list of companies you want to work for; not a list of job openings. If you need help in developing your target list, go to your library and tell them the industry, location, and size of companies you want to research. They will be able to direct you to the databases and directories that contain such information. My suggestion is to start with a target list of 25 prospective employers, and then gradually add or delete as you move forward with your search.
Once you have your target list, you need to research each organization. You can do so by going to their company websites and reading information available on the Internet. The publicly traded companies have annual reports that you can access on the Internet. You may also obtain additional information about any company by putting their name in one of the search engines – Google, Bing, or Yahoo. There are also specialized websites that provide profiles for companies in a variety of industries. The best way to get information about a target company is to talk to some of their employees. As you gather information about companies on your target list, you can use that information to rank your targets, and establish your priorities.