Top 10 Interviewing Questions

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1. What are your weaknesses?
“What are your weaknesses” is one of the most popular questions interviewers ask. It is also the most dreaded question of all. Handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: “I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very helpful.”

2. Why should we hire you?
Answer “Why should we hire you” by summarizing your experiences: “With five years’ experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”

3. Why do you want to work here?
By asking you, “Why do you want to work here?” the interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

4. What are your goals?
When you’re asked, “What are your goals?” sometimes it’s best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility.”

5. Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job?
If an interviewer asks, “Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job?” and you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20% reduction in the workforce, which included me.”

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”

6. When were you most satisfied in your job?
The interviewer who asks, “When were you most satisfied in your job?” wants to know what motivates you. If you can relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. “I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me.”

7. What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Emphasize what makes you unique when you’re asked, “What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?”. This will take an assessment of your experiences, skills and traits. Summarize concisely: “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly.”

8. What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
It’s time to pull out your old performance appraisals and boss’s quotes to answer the question, “What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?”. This is a great way to brag about yourself through someone else’s words: “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me, and he likes my sense of humor.”

9. What salary are you seeking?
When you’re asked, “What salary are you seeking?” it is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: “I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?”

10. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
Don’t be alarmed if you’re asked, “If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?”. Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer “a bunny,” you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer “a lion,” you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality would it take to get the job done? What impression do you want to make?

Five tips for your next job interview

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If you’re beginning the job search for the first time in several years, you might be a little rusty on getting through the interview process. Often highly qualified positions require multiple interviews with managers, coworkers, and even executives in order to assess how well you’d fit at the company or firm. If you’re wondering what’s the best way to interview, here are five things to consider during the interview process to give you the best chance at success. We’ve developed these ideals from our decades of work at helping candidates find successful matches.

  1. Express confidence

When you walk in the door, everything about you, from your clothes to your smile, must express how happy you are to have the opportunity to meet with a potential employer. This is all an extension of how confident you should be during the interview process. Whether it’s a screening with human resources, a lunch with a manager, or any other interaction, it should show the confidence you have in being a successful partner in the success of the company.

Being confident will also make you more comfortable during the interview. This is something employers care a lot about when determining how well you’ll fit at the company or firm. Keep this in mind throughout your interviews.

  1. Be honest and straightforward

When you’re applying for a highly qualified position, the interview process isn’t designed to trick or deceive you. The interviewers are trying to understand more about you as a candidate, why you want to work at their company, and how well you’ll fit with the rest of the company. It’s important to be straightforward in answering the questions they ask you. There will always be questions about your weaknesses, times you’ve failed, or about things you do not know. It’s important to frame honestly what you do know, to explain what matters to you, and to express interest in learning more about what you don’t already know.

  1. Be genuine

Sometimes candidates forget that an interview is about more than how well a job you’ll do in the office. When you’re spending 40 hours or more a week in an office, coworkers and managers alike want someone they’ll look forward to seeing in their meetings. Everyone has hobbies, and another way to stay relaxed and confident in interviews is to stay genuine. While interviews are important, professional meetings to learn about your skills, opportunities may arise to share a hobby, sport, or activity that your future coworkers or managers may relate to. They want to know you’re a hard worker, but that you enjoy your personal life as well and will bring a positive atmosphere to the workplace.

  1. Ask questions and express interest

When being interviewed, always be ready to ask follow-up questions, even for things you already know about at the company. When being interviewed by a manager, they want to see you’re interested in working at the employer, as well as knowing more about the company or firm’s mission, goals, and values. Asking questions shows your interest in engaging with these ideas, and is a helpful way to set yourself apart from other candidates. It’s also a way to show your genuine interest in the career and an interest in having a conversation with an employer, rather than a one-way dialogue. A great search firm helps candidates with staying engaged and will often prove this through their satisfied clients and candidates.

  1. Always be thankful and forward thinking

Whenever you finish an interview, it should always end with a “Thank You,” a smile, and a kind handshake. You should also express interest in following up, and it’s not uncommon to send along a thank-you letter to whomever you’ve spoken with, whether they’re a co worker, a manager, or an executive. Even if you never see a reply, it means a lot to show a company or firm how much you care to be thankful and thoughtful for their time, and could be all the difference in the opportunity to receive an offer. Always be thankful and forward thinking, so don’t forget to ask everyone for a business card.

Get started today with a search firm

This is just a taste of what you can learn in the job search process with the help of a highly qualified search firm. If you’re a tax professional looking for the next step in their career, then we invite you to learn how the Tax Recruiting Specialists (TRS) at the Jay Heino Company, LLC can help you discover new opportunities. Call us today at (516) 791-1958, view our current openings, or email us at info@taxrecruitingspecialists.com to get started.