Job Interview Hack #1




Missing out on a job is tough. But whether it’s nerves, inexperience or overconfidence, it’s often difficult to tell exactly what went wrong.

A 2014 survey of human resource (HR) managers from some of Australia’s biggest companies — including Woolworths, Toll Group, Telstra, Spotless, Rio Tinto, Leighton Holdings, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and News Corp Australia reveals what they’re really thinking. The anonymous results — commissioned as part of a the Generation Success campaign — asked HR managers about what not to do when looking for work. Expect questions about career goals and technical skills. Click here for more.

In an article posted by The Muse, they listed down four interview questions and what the interviewer really meant when they ask these to the applicants.

Question: Tell me about yourself.
Translation: Tell me why you’re the right fit for this job.
How to answer:
Give 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about. You can frame your stories or tie them together using a theme or a quote, Example: “My first boss told me that fundraising is really building relationships, and that’s the approach I’ve taken throughout my career. For example..”
Practice your answer aloud. It would be better if you can record it so that you can listen to your pitch. Check if you are engaging or if it sounds memorised.

Question: How would you explain our organisation’s mission?
Translation: Can you be an ambassador for our organization?
How to answer:
Start with one line that shows you understand the mission, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two. For example, if you’re interviewing at a school that stresses character, share some specific character-building education activities you’ve led for students in your last job. If you’re interviewing for a position at a hospital, talk about the 5K you recently ran to raise money for leukemia or your passion for volunteering your time to help children with cancer.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Translation: Do you care about our work?
How to answer:
If the position you’re interviewing for is on the track to your goals, share that, plus give some specifics. For example, if you’re interviewing for an account executive position an advertising firm, and you know your goal is to become an account supervisor, say that. And then add specifics about the sort of clients you hope to work with, which will help your answer sound genuine, not canned—and again show why this particular company will be a good fit.

Question: Do you have any questions for us?
Translation: Have you really been listening?
How to answer:
Think which key areas—job duties, company culture, the team you’ll be working with—haven’t been covered yet, so you can target your questions there. You can also prepare ahead of time by thinking of more non-traditional questions, or ask questions targeted to the interviewer herself, which probably won’t be covered in the interview.



(updated 2021)

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