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Preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking. With our job interview tips, you’ll increase your chances of getting the job.
Of course, you want to dress your best, be well-groomed, and arrive on time. But you must also be ready for the barrage of questions you have to answer. What you must keep in mind is that it is not solely the answers you give that potential employers look at, but also how you give them.
Hiring managers, recruiters, and human resource personnel look for specifics in the way you think and react to their questions. If you have been landing job interviews but continue to have no success, maybe it is time to think more strategically as you prepare to walk through that door.
1. Be Aware of Your Body Language
While it can be difficult to control at times, our bodies may react in ways we are unaware of. Paying attention to your body language is important during a job interview and here is why.
Avoid Showing Discomfort
Your interviewer will immediately notice awkwardness or discomfort. For example, if they ask you a difficult question, maybe regarding a past position you held, they will certainly notice if you begin to act nervous by fidgeting or defensive by crossing your arms.
When that uneasy question pops up, try to take note of how your body is reacting. Do your best to stay calm and relaxed.
Remain Respectful and Interested
While it should go without saying, you should silence or turn off your cell phone before entering the interview. However, if you do forget and that phone starts making noise, be sure to apologize and then turn it off.
The worst thing you can do is look at text messages, emails, or anything else on your phone during a job interview. This clearly shows a lack of both respect and interest.
In addition to making sure your phone is quiet, be sure to make eye contact with your interviewer the whole time. Continue to look them in the eye even when you are answering the questions. And as they talk and explain the job, nod along to show you agree and understand.
Looking around the room or out the window while they speak to you will again display your lack of respect for what they say and your lack of interest in the company and position.
2. Be Ready for Questions That Evoke Emotion
Along with how your body reacts to questions, your interviewer will look at your emotional intelligence. This is the part where those questions regarding strengths, weaknesses, frustrations, and the like come into play. Be ready ahead of time to answer these types of questions:
- What are your biggest strengths and/or weaknesses?
- What type of work environment is best for you?
- How do you feel about conflict in the workplace?
- How do you handle difficult situations, stress, or pressure?
- Why did you leave your previous position?
When you answer, be honest but careful not to put up any red flags that will sink your chances at the job. For bad answers to these and other types of interview questions along with how to better answer, brush up on these common interview questions.
3. Be Prepared to Answer Strategically
In addition to questions that may make you feel a little vulnerable by evoking your emotions are those intended to test your strategic thinking. Questions about problem-solving and tactical planning fall into this group.
Solve a Problem
During the job interview, you might be asked to solve a specific problem. This could be an issue that has come up with the company in the past or a current one. Take a few moments and think this problem through before answering. While answers will vary depending on the problem, these are the types of steps your interviewer will be looking for you to include:
- Review the strategic plan.
- Identify financial, environmental, or industry factors.
- Consult with other departments or stakeholders.
- Review the company’s forecast.
- Test possible solutions with customers or clients.
Review a Strategic Plan
Another type of thinking measure that potential employers may use, is to have you review a strategic plan and identify mistakes or oversights with it. Since they obviously know what is wrong with the plan or what is missing, they will be looking for you to find a considerable number of these.
Do not let this kind of interview question throw you off. Clear your mind and then soak in the plan as if you are already in the position to cover it. You may even have experience with a similar situation you faced in the past that can help you answer.
Additional Tips, Advice, and Questions
Since there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to questions you will be asked during a job interview, it can become overwhelming to prepare for anything and everything. But these additional sources have suggestions that can help.
According to Harvard Business Review online:
“Individuals that routinely quantify their results in dollars or revenue impacts are highly likely to be strategic.”
With this in mind, the site suggests using phrases such as “connecting the dots,” “strategic goals,” and “increasing profitability and margins.” But just make sure you are ready to explain how the phrase applies to the question asked.
When responding to questions regarding your skills and qualifications, Monster.com suggests that you provide an example for each case.
“For example, if during the interview you say that you work well under pressure, be ready to describe an example where you did work effectively under pressure and delivered the results required.”
Providing true examples is the best way to back up your statements. And, those instances really should come easy to you.
Management magazine leader Strategy+Business provides additional questions you may be asked that revolve around your strategic imagination:
1. If you had one month and a $50,000 budget to tackle any project, what would it be?
2. Which external jolts or wild cards have the potential to significantly impact our industry?
3. Which new customer segments will emerge in five years? How will those customers discover our product?
The interviewer may ask these types of questions to find out if you are an idea-generator and can evolve creative concepts into business concepts.
Do You Think Strategically During Job Interviews?
We all know which questions are the most commonly asked during job interviews. But, there are many times when questions that you are not anticipating pop up. Those that are intended to test an emotional or strategic response can be unexpected and intimidating. We hope that our job interview tips will help you relax and present yourself from your best side.
Are you someone who foresees these types of questions being asked and are prepared? Or do you find that you struggle and stumble with answers to questions you were not expecting? Share your thoughts and tips with us and others in the comments below.
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