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Posted July 16, 2016 by

10 most tricky HR questions for students

Interview photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You know what the problem is when you graduate and start the interviewing process? You have perhaps half a dozen, perhaps twice that number of interviews under your belt. The people sitting there behind those big desks staring at you steely-eyed? They have done hundreds. That means they know the tricks, they know the strategies, and they know how to make you stumble. If you want to stand a chance at beating them at their own game, you have to be prepared.

Why should I hire you?

This one catches people a lot. They are afraid they will either come across as too arrogant or that they will not push themselves enough. The thing is that is not really what the question is about, and both those traps can be easily avoided if you realize that.

This is not about you telling them how amazing you are. This is about you showing how much you know about them (which is everybody’s favorite topic). So show them that you know what the position entails and what skills will be required. After you have done that you can modestly admit that you have those skills (preferably with a few examples of where you’ve used those skills as showing is always better than telling).

Why is there a gap in your work history?

You have been unemployed for six months because you needed some time to chill out and get your priorities sorted. Or you spent some time living on a beach seeing if it is really true your skin turns green when you drink too many mojitos. Or you lived in your parents’ basements and played video games. Fantastic! You do not necessarily want to tell them that though.

Instead, talk about how you used that time to make yourself a better person. Talk about freelancing work you did, social outreach, or how you spent your time searching for the perfect job (which is obviously the one you are interviewing for right now). Put a positive spin on things by showing how much you grew as a person.

You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?

You have to demonstrate that you can take a blow without becoming either angry or resentful. So even if you are, burry that deep and instead tell them about how you used this as an opportunity to improve yourself so that nothing like this can ever happen to you again.

What is your biggest weakness?

A nasty question! There is no doubt about it. You better prepare to meet this one every so often, because a lot of HR managers have this one in their repertoire and like to throw it out there to see how you react.

The right way to go is to remember that strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin. So if you have a weakness, admit it and then explain to them how in some situations it can be a strength. Alternatively, take your greatest strength and admit when it might actually be a weakness. That way you show you understand yourself.

Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

This one is as much to see how you handle being put on the spot as to see if you will be honest. Remember, everybody is bound to have bad experiences occasionally. We are all human. So they are not going to believe you when you say ‘no, never.’ Instead think of something that did go wrong then admit that it was at least partially your fault and explain how you learned from it and how you will be better next time. That shows both humility and wisdom.

Do not bag on your previous employer! That will raise all sorts of red flags. Yes, it they might be bad people, but this person sitting opposite you will not have a better impression of you if you decide to tell them that.

Frustrated businesswoman screaming photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Tell about a day when you messed up at work

Another one of those situations where you have to be honest and admit you have done something wrong. After all, nobody is perfect, and if you are not willing to admit you have screwed up you can wave the job you are interviewing for good-bye. Just like with the last question the trick here is to show what you have learned.

How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?

Here is your opportunity to demonstrate empathy and your ability to deal with a stressful situation in a grownup manner. So do not suggest you would send them a text or first let everybody in the office know so that you can all have a laugh. Instead, show them how diplomatic you are.

Will you be out to take my job?

Okay, here you can lie. ‘No’ is the correct answer. ‘I doubt I could do it as well as you’ is a good follow up.

How did you prepare for this interview?

Here is where you demonstrate that you care enough about the job to actually have researched the position (you did research the position didn’t you?). So tell them how you went to the website and read this that and the other. Here you get to show off some of the things you learned, including talking a little bit about the industry as well as what their company specifically does.

Where would you really like to work?

‘Here’ is the right answer. Now you can be a bit honest and suggest that you want to ultimately move into another area in the company, but whatever you do, do not say another company name! That is a fantastic way to close the door on any opportunity to work there.

Last words

The most important thing to remember is that there will be other interviews and however many ‘no’s you get you only want one ‘yes’, so don’t get too stressed out. You will get there in the end. After that, you will have to go through the hard work of keeping the job. That is not exactly easy either, but at this moment, that probably feels more like a ‘wish I had that problem’ problem.

Need more interview tips? Visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Dante Munnis, guest writer

Dante Munnis, guest writer

Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics, and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance, you can get in touch with Dante via Twitter.

 

Posted March 26, 2015 by

How to Stop Technology From Robbing You of a Job

Adrian Cruce

Adrian Cruce

A 2014 Harris Poll of hiring managers and human resources professionals revealed that 20 percent of those surveyed had replaced employees with automated technology. For companies with more than 500 employees, the number jumped to nearly one-third. Similarly, Gartner predicts that one in three jobs will be replaced by robots or software by 2025. Numbers like these could make anyone nervous about job security. However, you are far from defenseless against technology’s mass usurpation of the workforce. Read on to find out how to protect your career from a robotic hijacking. (more…)

Posted September 15, 2014 by

Applying for an Entry Level Job Online? Make Your Resume ATS Compatible

If you are applying for an entry level job online, you want your resume to get through the applicant tracking system, or ATS.  For that to happen, apply these tips in the following post.

It can be frustrating to send out multiple resumes every day and hear nothing back. Yet recruiters find it overwhelming to sift through the approximately 1,000 applications that come in for a single job post. To help manage this large flow of resumes, recruiters use something called an applicant tracking system (ATS). These

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Posted September 04, 2014 by

6 Ways to Leverage Twitter to Find Entry Level Jobs Sooner Than You Might Think

If you are using Twitter to search for entry level jobs, learn six ways to use the site to your advantage and find employment as soon as possible in the following post.

Clearly, Twitter is a “love it” or “hate it” social platform. But regardless of what side of the fence you are on one thing remains certain: Twitter is a powerful tool that can help you build your own personal brand and establish expertise. Just as important: it’s a gold mine of

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Posted August 05, 2014 by

Are Recruiters Not Contacting You about Your Resume? Here are 7 Reasons Why

So, you have put your resume online, but recruiters are not contacting you about job opportunities.  There are seven reasons why according to the following post.

I’ve probably read (err, perhaps I should say “perused”) 1,000+ resumes in my time. Some of those resume are good… most really suck. I’m usually a positive guy, but in this case – based on all the trend mistakes I’ve seen as I built, acquired and grown several businesses and personally hired every employee

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Posted July 14, 2014 by

Will Increasing Minimum Wage Reduce Entry Level Jobs in Restaurants?

There is talk that an increase in minimum wage will cost entry level jobs for the restaurant industry.  Learn more in the following post.

… the minimum wage mean fewer entry-level jobs. With a shortage of entry level work nationwide recognized recently by Hillary Clinton, CRA urges people not to reduce jobs even more with higher minimum wage demands.

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Posted July 02, 2014 by

College Students, Writing Resumes to Apply for Jobs? Make Sure to Customize Them

When applying for jobs with their resumes, it’s important for college students to customize them for each opportunity.  Get some tips on tailoring resumes in the following post.

Customizing your resume for each opportunity is not optional in most situations. Resume/application customization is becoming increasingly important now that most resumes and applications are stored in an employer’s resume database or applicant tracking system (“ATS”). In addition, several recent studies have indicated that the human reviewer – if/when they

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Posted June 23, 2014 by

10 Attitudes College Graduates Should Have to Increase Their Hopes of Landing Jobs

College graduates looking to land jobs should adopt any of these 10 attitudes found in the following post.

Employers are looking for people with not just technical skills, but those with the attitude your co-workers, customers and vendors respect. So choosing the right attitude makes a huge difference to their business, and your chances of getting hired there. Here are 10 value-adding attitudes, what they look like, how they help you and employers, and some questions to

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Posted May 07, 2014 by

Searching for Entry Level Jobs, College Grads? Don’t Show Desperation to Find Employment

It might be easier said than done but when searching for entry level jobs, college grads should not act desperate an for an opportunity.  Learn more in the following post.

You’ve tried everything, and it seems no one recognizes your potential; that you’d be a great employee… at any company, for any work! All you need is for someone to see you for what you are. Right? Trouble is, they may already have seen the “real” you. If you’ve done any of the following, they may already have classified you,

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Posted May 01, 2014 by

One Networking Strategy to Improve Your Entry Level Job Search

If networking has not been your strength when searching for an entry level job, there is one strategy that just might work for you, according to the following post.

When you’re in the market for a new job, what’s the same piece of advice you hear over and over? NETWORK! YOU NEED TO NETWORK! And there’s good reason why people give you that advice. Experts estimate that anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of people find jobs through personal contacts. But what if you don’t have a network with which to,

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