Companies work hard to develop their brands. You must do the same with your “personal brand,” which identifies you. It shows your merit and explains why a company would want to hire you. Your cover letter and your resume, which should be filled with keywords, need to reflect this brand.
Preparing for the questions interviewers may ask will help you give good answers. Below are some of the typical types of questions asked and your answer to those:
- Icebreakers, screening or sell yourself:
Tell me about yourself.
Why do you think you are the best person for this job?
Early in the interview process expect such set-ups. See these lead-ins as opportunities to sell your capabilities and talents. Answer succinctly, but depict your career as the perfect preparation for the job.
- Resume, experience and job history:
What skills have you acquired from your work experience?
Tell me about your promotions.
Make sure you know your resume inside out. Provide just two or three salient facts about each of your jobs. Focus on your accomplishments.
Tell me about when you dealt with a sudden problem.
The logic is that “past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.” So respond thoroughly to such questions. Be specific.
Here the emphasis is on how you would manage a given situation. To explain, say, “I would handle it the way I did in my old job,” then fill in the details.
- Illegal and inappropriate:
When asked questions about age, national origin, marital and family status, religious affiliation, and so on, try to address the underlying meaning that prompts the question. For example, “Nothing about my personal status would get in the way of my doing a great job for your company.”
- Yes or no:
Are you a team player?
Reply with sufficient detail: “Yes, I am. Let me tell you how I have demonstrated that in the past.”
How much will it cost to make you happy here?
Without a formal job offer, you possess no negotiating leverage. So deflect these questions if you can. “I am sure your compensation program is a fair one. The main thing is, I know I will be happy to work for such an outstanding firm.” If the interviewer insists, supply a salary range based on your research about what similar jobs pay.
- Comprehension and contribution:
Tell me what you know about our company.
If you’ve done your research, this is where your preparation proves its merit.
What do you think it takes to succeed in this career?
Tie your description of your achievements and expertise to the position’s requirements.
Give me an example of one of your major accomplishments.
Your achievements are the “meat of any interview.” When asked such a typical question, pick one that is most relevant to the job you want.
Describe the characteristics of a successful leader.
Executives are leaders, so the interviewer must check your leadership credentials. As an effective response compare yourself (humbly, but favourably) to leaders in the interviewer’s firm
- Future and goal:
“I would like to become the very best [job title] that your company employs.” Indicate that you can envision a long future with the firm.
- Innovation, creativity or improvement:
Describe a time when you created a new way to do things at work.
Original thinking is a hallmark of successful executives. Plan a response to this question, that will reveal your ingenuity.
If the interviewer asks what you know about the company’s speciality, your answer is especially crucial if you are changing industries. Demonstrate that your professional skills translate to the new job.
- Mistake and failure:
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Everyone makes mistakes. The interviewer wants to see if you can own up to yours. Speak openly about a past failure and how you have gained from it.
You’ll cover a lot of this in the actual interview. The key thing to remember is to focus on the needs of the company instead of your own when answering any job interview question. Don’t be nervous and give it your best shot!
This article is based on the book Top Notch Executive Interviews by Katharine Hansen.
P.S. We all could do with more help to prep for all our super important job interviews. Fill this link for the Interview Guide! and we will send you a special Guide to the Most Important Important Interview Questions and How to Answer Them! It’s a must read for ever job applicant!