Sunday, January 09, 2005

facing the job interview

I feel that job interviews are perhaps the single most important part of the selection process—for both you and your future employer. Once your resume (or/and a written initial test has been taken and some candidates have been shortlisted amongst the short it has been established that you meet the basic skills and background requirements, it is the interview that establishes you as a candidate who will fit well into an organization’s culture and future plans.While most interview questions are generally straightforward, unambiguous inquiries, some interviewers will throw in surprises specifically intended to explore your thinking and expectations at a deeper level. Or they may be meant to throw you off guard to see how you react in high stress or confusing circumstances. Or they may not be intentionally tricky at all. They may merely be invented by the interviewer, or borrowed from lists of questions available on the Internet, with no idea what their value is, or how to assess your response as it relates to the requirements of the job.How you answer tricky questions could determine whether you would receive an offer from the organization. But it’s also important to remember that what those questions are, and how your answers are received, can tell you volumes about whether this is a company you want to work for.

Here are some of the questions you might want to consider as you’re preparing yourself for a job interview:
1) What aspects of your career do you feel especially good about and how can you make sure those are discussed in the interview?
2) What aspects of your career so far do you feel especially worried about discussing?
3) Can you formulate answers to questions about those aspects in advance?
4) How can you use the interview to learn about the potential employer?

Interview: The interview is an opportunity for an employer to get to know the candidate behind the resume. It is also the chance for candidates to get a sense of a company’s culture, values, and plans for the future.Interviewer: The interviewer is the person seated directly across from the candidate and charged with leading the conversation. Sometimes this person is a professional especially trained to assess candidates for fit. More often, however, he or she is doing this work in conjunction with a larger job description. In this case, the interviewer could be burdened with a difficult attitude about the meeting—for example, being resentful at having to be pulled away from his or her regular duties, or shy, or confused about what kinds of results to expect from the interview.Tricky questions: These questions make a candidate uncomfortable for any number of reasons—they’re too personal; they’re not obviously related to the open position; they require fast thinking under hypothetical circumstances, or they prompt the candidate to reveal crucial information (such as salary expectations) before he or she is ready to do so.