One of the most critical parts of the job search process is the interview. The first step in interview preparation is putting together a professional interview kit. The kit should contain the company profile, two or three copies of your resume, a pad of paper and a pen, the company contact name and telephone number, reference letters, a list of targeted job-related questions, and directions to the interview.
There are many different techniques that interviewers use in getting the information they want from a prospective employee. Generally, the interview begins with an exchange of information regarding the company and position you are applying for and a series of questions directed to you regarding your professional and personal background. Following this, an interviewer may begin asking more difficult questions designed to obtain information about your work style and personal strengths and weaknesses. Here are some examples of difficult questions interviewers may ask as well as recommended ways to structure your answers.
How does this job compare with others you have applied for?
Be careful how you answer this question. It is actually another way of asking, “How many other jobs have you applied for and with what companies?” Answer the question but put the right spin on it. For example, “No two jobs are exactly alike and this one is no exception. It is unlike any other that I have applied for."
Describe a difficult problem you have had to deal with.
This is a frequently asked question designed to reveal the approach you take in solving problems. Think about answering the question in two parts, describing how you go about solving problems in general (i.e., “I consider all options before I come up with a solution and then I take action”) and then addressing a specific problem you encountered and the way in which you solved it.
What are your greatest strengths?
Keep this answer short and to the point. Mention two or three of your strengths and relate how these strengths will enable you to perform well in the position for which you are applying.
What is your greatest weakness?
One way to answer this question is to mention a weakness you had in a previous job and how you overcame it.
During the final segment, the interviewer generally allows you to ask any questions about the job you are applying for and the company. Here are some important questions you should ask the interviewer.