Three Big Interview Questions and What They Mean

If you ask for interview advice, you will always hear: “ask questions” as an answer. It shows you are interested. But what are you interested in? Why are you asking questions? Often, you are so nervous and eager to start working that you just ask things for the sake of completing the task. The whole interview is a routine: enter, smile, shake hands, sit straight, hair out of face, answer, ask, follow up and finally (hopefully get the job). What we are quick to forget, is that there is (or should be) a purpose to everything we do during an interview. The interviewer does his job to make sure you are a good fit for his company. You should be looking out for yourself, making sure that you are a good fit. You might counter me, stating that a job is a job. That’s understandable in this economy, but if you are looking for a career, you cannot just settle for “a job.” Asking meaningful questions will help you find out if you’re interviewing for a job or a career. Here are the best questions to ask and a breakdown of why you should.

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Question 1.

Is this a new position? If so, why was it created? If not, what kind of expectations do you have for the next employee?

This will accomplish a few things. First, you will find out if the company is expanding and if so that could mean a few things. It shows economic stability. It’s a large commitment for a company to decide to take on new hires. Before you go in, research if the new position is part of larger contract the company signed for a year or more, which will dictate if the position will be around for a while or just a test. The second half of the question should give you a good idea about what your work will be like, day-to-day and lead to more questions about your role. With that idea, you should be able to determine if it’s something you would enjoy doing during 40+ hour weeks for at least a few years.

Question 2.

What do you expect the new hire to accomplish within the first month, 60 and 90 days? Do you expect there to be a learning curb, how long?

This question should solidify your expectations. You will find out if there will be a lot of pressure and multitasking expected. If you’re not a person who can handle that, it’s better to focus your energy in pursuing something else. Basically, can you handle this position or will you be running out cursing after a month of work? Perhaps the company wants to spend a month time training you at first and that’s something you know you need when you start a new role, then congrats, continue in this direction.

Question 3.

What do you enjoy most about working for Company X?

Your Interviewer should be able to name at least one thing. If they are interviewing you, they are likely in a senior position and should have a good reason they have stayed with their company. On the same note, if the person interviewing is rude and short with you and you did not warrant this type of reaction, it might be sign they are not happy with their situation. Interviewing you is just another nuisance they have to do to fulfill their job requirements. Someone who is smiling and welcomes your warm attitude (which you undoubtedly brought with you) will certainly have a thing or two to say about why they love their job. Hopefully their enthusiasm will be contagious and get you excited to work with them.

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How to Overcome Your Shyness for an Interview

So you’re shy. Being outgoing is not exactly a talent the majority has been blessed with. That being said, coming into an interview and giving one word answers will not exactly make the impression that gets you the job. Here are a few ideas to help you get over the intimidating first meeting.

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              1. Don’t Focus too Much On Your Nerves

You have a purpose there, to get the job. You absolutely cannot be thinking about how hard this might be for you or how you’re not going to get the job anyway. There is no room for negative thinking once you’re in. They already chose you based on your resume, all you have to do is put the cherry on top. This is your chance to not be neurotic and stuck in your own head. Learn as much as you can about your potential employer by listening. You hear that? You don’t have to talk so much anyway. If the interviewer stops talking, ask another question and listen away. People who are outgoing enjoy talking and they will gladly fill in the silence you were so nervous about.

               2. Fake it ‘till You Make It

OK that might be a cliché but that does not mean it won’t help you. Let’s face it. You know no one can do the job as well as you. The interviewer has yet to find out this useful piece of information that will determine the status of your employment. Now, there are two things you need to focus getting out there. One is emphasizing your qualifications. The latter is showing that you are listening. If you are really getting into it, again, you should even ask the interviewer a few questions. To do so without stumbling, try using short sentences. Most importantly, try practicing. It would be best to do so with a friend that you have known and have no problem being open with. If none are available at the moment, try using a mirror. Or post a picture of someone you like on the wall and pretend to talk to them. Prepare your answers so they are straightforward.  Basically, if someone asks: “Why do you feel you’d be a good fit in our company?” You can answer: “My previous work in such and such was very similar to the work you are doing here.” But don’t stop there, make sure to give an example. Such as “The work Magnet Corp has done with magnets is very similar to the research I have done on them. Now I would like to apply my research. Two magnets with positive charges with move away from each other. Perhaps I could prove otherwise.” Obviously that’s an example, but the point is, focus on the knowledge you are confident with and the rest will just fall in.

And Make sure to take the picture you were talking to off the wall when you’re done. A lot of questions will arise to those who didn’t have previous knowledge about your exercise.

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             3. Make sure your handshake is firm and you smile

When you come in and leave, perfect these basics. They will be the impressions that last without you being too aware of it. A firm handshake will offer muscle memory and muscle memory makes the brain remember you. A firm handshake lets someone know you mean business. If you smile, your interviewer will know you are pleasant and happy to be where you are. Combine the two and voilà! No one even knew you were shy.

Remember, sometimes being outgoing means that you say the wrong thing because it’s the first thing that came to mind. Just look at it from the angle that you have the time to calculate every thought before you say it. You’re taking a pause to find the courage to speak and you also have the time to really think through an answer.