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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 June 18, 2015 by

Hunting for Your First Job in IT? Here Is How to Land It!

Young engineer business man with thin modern aluminium laptop in network server room

Young engineer business man with thin modern aluminium laptop in network server room. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Although there are tons of open job positions for IT specialists all over the world, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get your first job in this sector. There are many professionals with better skills, greater experience, and more recommendations that will attract an employer’s attention. How do you get the right people to notice you?

It is hard to get a job of this type with no previous working experience, but you cannot gain the needed experience if no one is willing to give you a job. That’s a paradox we’ll never solve. Don’t despair; there is always hope for everyone with the right set of skills needed for success in this industry. After all, you can attract attention with your own projects, right? Read on; the following tips will teach you how to get that first job in the IT sector. (more…)

Posted May 19, 2015 by

Why You Should Go Back To School–At Any Age

Portrait of a college student in adult education class

Portrait of a college student in adult education class. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Many individuals believe that they should stop studying when they have found a career field that they enjoy and have secured a good job. However, an undergraduate degree may not be enough to take someone to the highest levels in their field, and many people find that their best option is to continue on with their education. There are a number of reasons why successful people decide to go back to school at any age. (more…)

Posted December 10, 2014 by

How to write an amazing internship cover letter

 

A cover letter for an internship highlights the answers to 3 main questions:

1. What is your reason to pursue the internship program? The answer to this question will include details such as ‘what do you know about the program?’ and ‘how it is of interest to you?’

2. What is your reason to pursue the internship with a specific employer? You can write about ‘what you know about this employer?’ and why you have chosen an internship rather than a full-time program?

3. How will you best use this internship opportunity to excel in your career? You can answer with details about your short-term and long-term goals. (more…)

Posted August 27, 2014 by

8 Effective Ways To Handle Failure At Work!

Young, female office worker suffering from headache or stress

Young, female office worker suffering from headache or stress. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Who hasn’t heard ‘I want this done today!’ from their employer at least once in a day, or at least a lifetime? There is not a single employee who does not feel under pressure with the tight deadlines, hectic work schedules, low salaries or no work-bonuses etc. Be it a fresh graduate or an experienced employee, facing failures at the workplace is normal. But what matters the most is the ability to deal with the stress in the most civilised manner.

Take a look at the following ways to deal with criticisms and failures at workplace without going insane: (more…)

Posted July 02, 2014 by

Are You a Recent Graduate Interviewing for Jobs? 8 Traits that Can Help Employers Answer One Question

There are eight traits that can help employers answer one question about you as a recent graduate interviewing for jobs.  Learn about these traits and find out what the question is in the following post.

Someone who knows how to get hired is the Millennial CEO, Dan Newman. He’s the guy who got to the Big Chair before his 30th birthday – and not at a company he founded. What’s his secret for job search success? Dan’s answer is simple: create a compelling answer to the interview question that trumps them

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Posted July 02, 2014 by

Think You’ve Found Your Dream Entry Level Job? 10 Signs that Prove You Right

Let’s say that during your entry level job search, you find an opportunity that you believe is perfect for you.  How will you know if it is?  In the following post, learn 10 signs that prove you have found your dream job.

Many dream of landing the perfect job. But do we really know what that means? Is it a specific company? The size of the company, or the location? Successful work-life integration? Four-day work weeks? Maybe a casual dress-code and Friday happy hours? Surprisingly enough, ultimately our vision of a

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Posted June 17, 2014 by

Following Up Your Interview for an Entry Level Job? 7 Rules to Remember

When following up about your interview for an entry level job, you should approach doing so in a certain manner.  In the following post, learn seven rules for an interview follow up.

While we live in the digital age where immediate information and feedback is the norm, that is not quite how the hiring process works. So follow up after you submit a resume and after a job interview requires a delicate balance of assertiveness, respect for your contact’s time – and patience…

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Posted May 27, 2014 by

Job Seekers, Not Landing Those Recent Graduate Jobs Yet? How to Still Show Your Appreciation

If you are a job seeker who has not landed one of those recent graduate jobs yet, it’s important to still show your appreciation.  The following post shows you how to do so.

You find an internal listing. You prepare for the interview and nail it. There’s no way you’re not going to be chosen for this position. After all, you fit and surpass every single criterion listed on the job description. Oh, and your mom’s first cousin knows the hiring manager’s best friend. You’re a shoe-in, right? Well, not

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Posted May 14, 2014 by

6 Tips an Internship Finder Should Know Before Starting a Position

As an internship finder, keep these six tips in the following post in mind before beginning your new position.

Whether you’re finishing your freshman year in college or getting ready to graduate, when you start your first internship you never really know what to expect. So, to help you get the most of out of your internship, here are six pieces of advice that I wish someone would have shared with me as I

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