Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Prepping for the Interview: Common Interview Questions

Last month I was meeting with a wine industry contact who is just starting to look for a new job after many years in a highly demanding position.  She asked me if I had a list of interview questions that she might be asked.  Why yes I do, and here they are:
  • Tell me a little about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What do you know about this company?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What has been your biggest challenge in a past role, and how did you overcome it, if you did?
  • What is your biggest strength, and biggest weakness?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • What type of manager are you?  How would your staff answer that question?
  • How did you get into the wine industry?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
Doing your homework on a potential employer can really pay off.  If you know how to answer the basic questions with truthful and insightful answers, you could set yourself apart from any other interviewee.  On themuse.com there is a great compilation of 31 commonly asked questions and potential ways to answer them.  Take a look at it here.  Glassdoor also have a good list of common interview questions here.

Now, while you are doing your research and coming up with your answers to these questions, there may still be a question during your interview that will leave you dumbfounded.  This is okay, and can happen to anyone.  One way to deal with this is to say you want to rephrase the question to make sure you understand it.  Then restate the question as you understood it.  Saying it again bides you a little time, and also tends to allow you to formulate an answer that is appropriate to the question.

Some interviewers like to ask off-putting or seemingly unusual questions to rattle you a bit.  It gives them a chance to see how you handle yourself, how you deal with things that are out of the ordinary, and also how you can tie things together.  I think it is okay to ask for clarification or get their input on why they are asking that question--if you feel comfortable doing that.  Getting an interviewer to engage with you as an equal can help you show your strengths and cultural fit for the position.

Remember, if you are interviewing it means you've met their basic requirements for the position.  Now you want to get in there and create a connection with the interviewer and show off your strengths for the position.  Your interviewer most often wants the meeting to go well.  If she can find the right talent for the job, she has accomplished her goal of interviewing.  So go in there with that in mind, and help her be successful in her hiring mission.

And, a quick list of some blog posts that might be helpful in prepping for the interview:

If things go poorly, lick your wounds and read my blooper reel for some mistakes other interviewers have made when meeting with me.  Not every mistake costs you the  job.  http://winetalent.blogspot.com/2015/05/cranky-recruiters-interview-bloopers.html

And after the interview, say thank you.  http://winetalent.blogspot.com/2017/03/mind-your-manners-dont-forget-to-say.html

Good luck, and remember to tell yourself you are a winner!  (Read one of my favorite tips on interviewing here:   http://danariely.com/2013/02/16/ask-ariely-on-interviews-luck-and-the-canoe-test/)

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