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Difficult Interview Questions - Some responses

No matter how confident you are, being interviewed can be daunting.   Today, interviewing has become more structured and many interviewers ask a set of standardised questions, so that they can get a more objective view of the candidate.   It is a really good idea to have thought this through and to be ready with good, truthful responses that put you in a good light.

Some favourites are:

Strengths and weaknesses, conflict situations, what question should I be asking you and a success story. The examples below should give you some ideas.

Strengths for a Reception Position

  • I have a strong, clear speaking voice
  • I sound friendly when talking on the phone (I practised talking and smiling in front of a mirror)
  • I have a good memory for names, voices and faces

Weaknesses for a Sales Management Position

  • I find Admin is a bit of a challenge, but I have developed some personal models and strategies that enable me to be more effective
  • When sales aren't coming through, I get a bit demotivated, but I believe that sales is a science, and I work with my team to be constantly thinking about new ways of growing sales for the tougher times.
  • I can be impatient when stressed, and my awareness of this enables me to control it

Conflict Situations

Recently, I was working in a team of 5 on big project, with a very tight deadline.   After a few days, it was clear to 4 of us that one of the team members really wasn't pulling his weight.  We decided to sit down as a group to discuss it with him, instead of pulling in management, or getting angry.   We discovered that he was feeling extremely inadequate, as he had very little practical experience in the section allocated to him.   Some re-allocation, a little training and good communication allowed us to deliver our project to deadline.

What questions would you ask yourself if you were the interviewer?   And how would you answer?

Question:  What is your approach to change and learning new things?   
Response:  I love change, (I move my furniture around at home every 6 months), but it needs to be change that moves me or the company forward, so I am committed to change management processes.  Also I believe in life long learning, and while I enjoy going on training courses, I am constantly reading about general business as well as ensuring that I remain current with the drivers and trends in my areas of expertise. 

A recent success story

We took on a new client, and the Account Manager who brought in the business left.  When the client had a problem, they were sent from pillar to post, until I picked up on the call.  I was able to resolve the issue, and then followed up on a regular basis.   The client sent a letter to the CEO, complimenting me on my commitment, as well as knowledge, and what a difference it made to the success of the project.   I have attached  a copy to the back of my cv.

When advertising positions, most companies give some idea of the key performance requirements.  If they don't, do ask what they are when you are setting up the appointment.   Then when preparing your responses,  take into account what the company is looking for, and align your particular strengths with the key performance areas.  Remember to take your skills and expertise seriously, but allow the interviewer to see that you have a sense of humour, too.   




Ngoni Munetsi, at PeoplePlace, Sandton, offers a one-on-one 1 hour session on how to conduct yourself in an interview.   

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