Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making Sense of Interview Questions That Make No Sense.

I was teaching a class on interview techniques last night. One of the attendees was discussing why interviews are so challenging for her.She brought up the fact that she is a logical person who has a hard time with being asked questions that are illogical. Believe it or not, even the most illogical questions are asked for a reason.

When you stop and consider the motivation behind an interview question, you can begin to formulate an answer that will meet the expectations of the interviewer. In this article I will attempt to explain why interviewers may be asking some questions that don’t seem to have a purpose on the surface.

Tell me about a time when . . .
These types of questions are called behavioral questions and these occur when the interviewer asks you for an example or story. The reasoning behind these types of questions is that the interviewer can gain insight into your skills and experience from past accomplishments and examples. Answering these questions allow you to offer proof of your knowledge, skills, and experience.

Tell me about yourself.
An employer does not want to know where you grew up, how many dogs you have, or what you like to do in your free time. So why do they ask this question? Usually this is the first question that is asked and it is used as an ice breaker.

Instead of offering personal information, tell the interviewer how many years of experience you have in the career field for which you are applying, what are the skills you bring to their company, tell them about an accomplishment that proves your skills, and elaborate on why you are the right person for the job. Think of this answer as a 2 minute synopsis of why you are the right person for the job.

Why did you leave your last job?
This question is often a fishing expedition to see if you will speak negatively about your former employer. Don’t ever offer the details of why you left a job; simply state that you made a decision to take your career in a new direction. Even if you feel like you were wronged, when you tell a story that paints your former employer in a negative light, you look like a problem employee.

Puzzle questions.
How many quarters would it take to stack as high as the Empire State Building? If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why? These types of questions are intended to see how you react to uncertainty, how fast you can think on your feet, and test your problem solving skills.

If I was asked the Empire State Building question, I would simply say “I don’t know. However, if you give me five minutes, a calculator, and an internet connection, I can find out the height of the building, the thickness of a quarter, and do some quick calculations to get you an answer.

No comments:

Post a Comment