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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 May 06, 2015 by

Effective Job Search – How to Impress through your Resume?

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job

Young smiling man holding his resume applying for a job. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

You never heard of the word resume until before college, but here you are drafting and making your own resume right after your college graduation. Your resume is the initial, first or the fundamental step towards the professional life. It acts as a gateway, as it is through your resume or the CV, your interests, forte and your abilities are reflected and analyzed by the employers. With the help of this formal piece of document, you can demonstrate yourself. All your skills, abilities, your educational life and part time activities are discussed in this document, which allow you to sign up for the professional life. Also known as a CV, it mentions all your past academic aspects, your earlier job experiences and other achievements and awards you might have received. CV or a resume is drafted carefully and with intense detail, the reason behind this is that, it is through this paper, an employer will take further decisions on whether to hire an individual or pass on. Creating and initiating the resume is a complex part, some individuals, even though with an impressive background, are sometimes not able to get the job they desire. All because, they might have flaws in their resume or might have not cautiously and wisely put their strengths and abilities aside. So make sure, before applying, your CV stands out and is highlighted among the piles of many others. As hundreds of people apply for work every day, it becomes a challenge for the employers in terms of hiring and employment. They look for diversity and variations within the document, something that excites them and removes them from the monotony. So how can you make your resume stand out? Here are some of the basic tips. (more…)

Posted February 20, 2015 by

Five tough questions you should be able to handle during your next job interview

Young clever woman during her job conversation

Young clever woman during her job conversation. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Handling yourself with poise during a job interview takes preparation and practice. Not only do you have to do your research on the company and the position, you also have to practice your answers to tough interview questions. Before you go on your next interview, make sure that you have prepared answers to the following interview questions: (more…)

Posted January 05, 2015 by

4 questions asked in every interview along with their answers!

Recruiter checking the candidate during job interview at office

Recruiter checking the candidate during job interview at office. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

While interviewing for a job, you have to be composed and calm and give the best answers even when you are sweating! The interviewer, most probably a panel of interviewers, will be judging your every word and your every move to analyze your abilities and skills. So, you should go fully prepared to provide effective answers in the first go! Here, we have compiled a list of 4 questions, which every interviewer will ask, despite the nature of the job. Read ahead and get yourself acquainted with the answers beforehand! (more…)

Posted December 31, 2014 by

The Crack in the Chronology of Your Career

Conceptual hand drawn career flow chart on black chalkboard. Skills, Education, Values, Vision, Interests, Goals, Talent. Vector Illustration

Conceptual hand drawn career flow chart on black chalkboard. Skills, Education, Values, Vision, Interests, Goals, Talent. Vector Illustration. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The task of seeking a new job can be a stressful one. As the world’s population grows by 1.14% each year (meaning approximately 75 million babies are born every year!), the global need for work and employment increases simultaneously. I don’t mean the babies need to work (duh)!

What A Career Gap May be Interpreted As:

You may be skilled, educated, and very passionate about a certain job while applying. However, that itty-bitty gap in your chorological resume (again, this is preferred by most employers) can be a red flag for an employer who may interpret it as: “not familiar with current trends in the field” or “I wonder why no one was willing to hire this person.” (more…)

Posted September 09, 2014 by

New Grads, Interviewing for Entry Level Jobs? Don’t Make These 12 Mistakes

Once they have landed interviews for entry level jobs, new graduates should avoid making these 12 mistakes in the following post.

So much work just to get the job interview, let alone the job. The research, the resume writing, the applications, the networking, the follow-up… And then some job seekers throw it all away by making these common, and completely avoidable, mistakes…

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Posted September 08, 2014 by

What Does Body Language Say about People?

While we might not realize it, our body language plays a role in how people look at us.  The following post includes an infographic that can help us understand body language and can benefit job seekers during interviews or when networking. (more…)

Posted August 14, 2014 by

Interviewing for Jobs, Recent College Graduates? How to Deliver a Winning Performance

The goal for recent college graduates interviewing for jobs is show the interviewer you are the best candidate for a position.  In the following post, learn how to deliver a winning performance during an interview.

Interviewing feels like a performance. You carefully put on your costume, assemble your props, and repeatedly go over your lines until you can recite your strengths and weaknesses in your sleep. However, you’re not a character – you’re you. Here’s how to give an award-winning performance, based on your true story.

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Posted August 13, 2014 by

Recent College Graduates, How Honest Are You Being in Your Search to Find Jobs?

We have heard that honesty is the best policy.  When it comes to finding jobs, recent college graduates can get some advice on being honest in the following post.

How far would you go to get a job? Would you bend the truth? Exaggerate your work history, education and skills? Blatantly lie during a job interview? The Greek word parrhesia means “freedom of speech.” It also implies that one is obliged to speak the truth even if that involves a degree of risk. And most certainly: unless

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Posted July 22, 2014 by

College Students, Interviewing for Jobs? 5 Questions You Can Answer in a Confident Manner

When college students are interviewing for jobs, they should prepare to answer these five potential questions in the following post with confidence.

The interview process can be a nerve-wracking experience. For some, it’s tough to be the center of attention answering rapid fire questions for 30 minutes. Others lack the confidence and organization to make sure they hit all the points they want to emphasize. But, undoubtedly, the most stressful part of interviews is the standard questions that seem

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