This is especially important if your job deals with public relations, team environments, or any kind of crisis management situation. While you have to give an example of the you-know-what hitting the fan, be careful not to sink your own ship. Instead, pick a minor incident in which something went wrong. But most importantly, pick an example of a problem which you fixed and successfully turned around.
People use ask this question not because they desperately want to learn about your life, but because they want to see how adept you are summarizing a lot of information in a short amount of time. Do your best to keep your answer to a minute, two at the most. This is your elevator pitch you should have memorized to sell yourself, and most of it should be about professional accomplishments instead of personal details.
Throw in a few of the latter for good measure, but in the end they care about what you will bring to the company, so focus on results and recent experience. But you still have a chance as long as you minimize the damage. Did you leave the workforce because you were raising kids or taking care of a sick relative?
The good news is many employers see value in that. You should have read the annual report to see how the company is doing financially. This is where far too many people who fear self-promotion start to stumble and mumble and blow their chances. However, they also want someone with a track record of securing high profile media placements and you just had a client on the TODAY Show.
Identify what they value most and then talk solely about your qualifications and achievements that directly relate to those attributes. This is a tough one and there are lots of people with lots of different advice on how to handle it. Do your best not to throw out a number first. When pressed, be sure to give a range instead of one solitary figure. She then asks these questions to identify whether a candidate is an adaptable learner:. What have you started? How would you describe yourself in your own words?
How would a colleague describe you in three adjectives? What current trends are you seeing in your profession? What new things have you tried recently? The last two questions are strong indicators that your candidate is self-motivated to explore and embrace new trends, routines, and technology. Take note of this as a critical demonstration of self-learning in your interview. Dwane advises probing more about the new process he or she introduced, why it intrigued them, and the results of implementing it. You want someone who is going to enjoy talking about the topic and putting the presentation together.
For more on how to spot, hire and nurture adaptable leaders, read more from Dwane here. As VP of Engineering at Airbnb with an impressive track record behind him, Mike Curtis has seen the dire impact that bureaucracy can have on a company. In his experience, hiring well to begin with is one of the most powerful antidotes to paralyzing bureaucracy.
You want to recruit and onboard people you know you can trust, so you that you don't have to set up a bunch of newfangled process just to ensure productivity and quality.
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To hire specifically for this type of trustworthiness, Curtis recommends allocating at least 45 minutes to an interview that is entirely about culture and character. At Airbnb, Curtis found that these four moves truly extract the most value out of this type of interview:. Let them shine first. The idea here is to get a sense of what excites them — is it technical challenges, for example, or perhaps personal interactions? Then make them uncomfortable. Ask them about difficult experiences, or moments when they were somehow not in control.
What happened? How did you handle it? Or do they start talking about how they understood another person's point of view and collaborated on a solution? Calibrate your results. It takes time to get on the same page, but you can help the process along. Essentially, try to make the subjective as objective as you can. Watch out for signs of coaching.
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If a candidate seems to have uncanny command of your internal language, take note. The public domain is exploding with tips and tricks from past interviewees and journalists. If people start quoting things to you that they obviously read in an article or something that is your own internal language, they were probably coached.
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For more from Curtis on not only how to hire, but onboard and train new employees to head bureaucracy off at the pass, read more of our interview with him here. Bestselling author and Wharton professor Adam Grant has spent years researching and interviewing people he refers to as 'originals. Here are the questions he suggests asking to recognize and recruit them in a startup setting:.
Tell me about the last time that you encountered a rule in an organization that you thought made no sense.
What was the rule? What did you do and what was the result? I first did some research to figure out how it was created and why it was this way. I got tasked to lead the committee to change the rule. We made a change and here's the evidence that we had an impact. What questions would you first ask and to whom?
Presidential candidates are often asked what they plan to accomplish in their first days in office, and hiring managers tend to evaluate candidates for leadership positions similarly. Originals distinguish themselves by asking questions that no one else has thought to ask, and posing them to people who have fresh perspectives to offer. How would you improve our interview process? Two, it's a window into their thinking process.
When they encounter something that they don't like, do they have the instinct not only to raise why it may be broken but also suggest how it can be better? It gives you a little bit of perspective on their ability and inclination to improve their environment.
For more on fostering an environment where original talents can truly thrive, read more of our exclusive interview with Adam Grant. Todd Jackson has led product organizations across some of the best companies in tech, from Google to Facebook to Twitter. In every product manager interview, he recommends making sure a candidate fits the following criteria:.
Instead, interviewees should consider the specific position they are applying for and tailor their answers accordingly. If you could boil down the best of you to pitch to the company, what is that one word? Everest, start a nonprofit or save an endangered bird species? If not, keep it in the professional space. Candidates can easily overshare in interviews when they feel like the interviewer has asked them a personal question. The tricky part comes in making sure the right strengths are highlighted. Chances are, candidates who got called for an interview already have plenty of strengths that got them there.
Instead, showcase a strength that is more relevant to that type of work. An anecdote or two to bring them to life will also make them stick with the interviewer. The key to this one is sincerity. Instead, job-seekers should be honest about their weak points and focus on the changes they are making to improve those weaknesses.
But it is critical that you highlight how you have already started improving in this area, and the actions you continue to take to improve on this weakness. My weakness is [a common weakness you experience and have learned from] which has forced me to [show maturity in how you have recognized it in your life] which has led me to [insert something positive about how you have grown because of it]. Rather than launch into an exhaustive account of interests and accomplishments, interviewees can treat this question as an opportunity to give their elevator pitch — a concise, professional rundown of who they are, what they have to offer and what they hope to accomplish.
Balani recommends focusing on what drives you, and proactively answer why you want that particular job. In that case, focus on the characteristics of the career situation you hope to be in at that point. Positions are expensive to fill, and if you are planning to leave before you even get the job, that can be a red flag. Pivot the question to the here and now, and your commitment to this position.
Balani suggests pairing your specific career goals with the qualities of the open position. When employers ask this question, they want to know that a candidate will handle uncomfortable situations honorably, discreetly and tactfully. Stenson suggests moving with caution when asked this question.
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Job-seekers who have been out of work for an extended period should expect to answer this question. Many employers consider employment gaps a red flag, since they may indicate the person was fired. Balani suggests that interviewees focus instead on the opportunity they are pursuing. Sometimes, employees have to make quick decisions without a thorough understanding of the situation. Too often candidates give a lowball number out of fear, and then get disappointed with the compensation, rather than indexing their compensation to the value they will bring.
Consider the hours you have to work, the amount of time off, health benefits, employee perks and discounts, commute time and other factors. Depending on the job, employers may want to know if prospective employees have the potential to move up the company ladder. Balani says this is a good time for an interviewee to show that they can hold their team to high standards, while also demonstrating empathy and grace in managing situations where performance is falling short.
Their former manager? Their mentor? Such insights can be valuable not only on this question, but on related queries about personality and abilities. However, the interviewer only has a short time to get to know a potential candidate, so this question can be a valuable opportunity to make sure nothing important is left unsaid. Have a powerful, concise answer of why the company needs you.
According to Stenson, this is by far the hardest question for an interviewee — in part because it takes a lot of thought and research to put together questions that are useful and convey genuine interest and effort on the part of the job-seeker. Ask questions about the culture, about the interviewer and how they like their job or the company, how success is measured in this role — questions no one but that interviewer can answer for you.
If you do not bring questions, that tells me you do not care. Practicing interviewing skills can help job candidates craft thoughtful responses and go into their interview feeling confident and prepared.
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