There are a few basics that anyone preparing for an interview or facing an interview should know. An interview is not an interrogation or an investigation. You are not guilty and you are not on trial. Indeed, you have a great opportunity to get an exciting job. But before that, let’s understand the interviewer’s job. The interviewer’s aim is to make a selection. You have already been vetted and pre-selected by many candidates as your resume seems to document the skills required to succeed once you have been hired. For this reason, you were invited to a personal interview. At this point the interviewer will determine if you fit into their organization’s culture. To do this, he will ask various questions and then make a decision based on a number of things. Some are objective; others are subjective. What kind of questions could the interviewer ask? Here are a few examples.
- The most common interview questions. There are probably 20 or 30 common questions that are usually asked in interviews. They are easy to find because most interview books or articles have many of them listed.
- The behavioral or situational questions. These questions begin with “Tell me about a time when. . . “Or” How was your experience with this and that situation? “Most of these questions put you in a situation from your past, and the interviewer wants to hear how you dealt with them. The intent is to predict your future based on past behavior.
- The creativity questions. Yes, some interviewers enjoy asking such questions. For example, “What would you do if you woke up one morning and found out you were a frog?” This is where they test your creativity, how you deal with ambiguity, how well you communicate ideas and so on.
- The high-tech questions. These types of questions are industry specific. For example, “How many gummy bears can a one-gallon jar fit?” These types of questions test your logic, ability to estimate, intuition, math, and assumption skills. These questions are common with Microsoft, Apple, Google and the like.
The interviewer approaches the interview openly from the start. He wants to find out your particular strengths that the company can leverage and your weaknesses. If he finds the weaknesses critical, you lose the competition.
The best way to prepare for an interview is to make a list of, say, 20 potential questions and then answer them in a simple format, starting with a brief description of the background and situation, followed by your post and ending with the results and benefits for the company. The caveat here is to make the narration short and eloquent. Most people go on and on instead of giving a short and pertinent answer. And that is a sign that you are not fully prepared. In order to be able to recite your answers in the best possible form, it is advisable to clarify them with a professional career coach or other person who has experience in the field. Good luck! You will need it!