Thursday, October 18, 2012

Successful Job Interview Questions & Answers

Are you going for a job interview and feeling nervous and unsure of how to answer certain questions, what to wear, and the general "etiquette" of interviewing?

Here you will find hands-on, practical help.

From 15+ years experience as a Career Counsellor, plus experience as an employer and of course, experience as a job seeker, Fiona MacKay has written a series of useful, ready-to-make-use-of articles to help you ace that interview.

For a sneak peak of what is in store, look at the tables of contents below.

You have a choice of format:
In PDF format you can instantly download Volumes 1 and 2 combined:

The Successful Job Interview: Questions and Answers
Volumes 1 and 2 Combined
Only $7.47

.......................If you prefer to read on-the-go with Kindle,
the two volumes come separately, for your convenience.

Volume 1 

and Volume 2

Read below to see the content of each separate Kindle volume,
or all of the contents as are in the combined PDF book.
Or you can click here to read a free PDF table of contents of both Volumes.

The answers you give to questions are important, but you need to know not only the answers but the best way to give the answers, and all the other things that make an interview go well or fail. Don't miss out on your next "dream job". Here you will find the help you need. 

Articles in Volume 1:
  • Interviews: know what you want to say
  • Informational Interviewing - the Benefits
  • Power up your Interview with your own benefit statements
  • Interviews: the last question you should ask as you leave
  • Interviews: Demonstrate skills with stories
  • Think Transferable Skills
  • Illegal Questions: and what to do if they are asked
  • What extra Employer Benefits do you bring?
  • Know what you want to tell the Employer
  • Relate back to what the interviewer said
  • Interview Tips and your Cell Phone

 Continued from Volume 1 - More help on how to interview successfully. Interview questions and answers, tips and tactics to help you impress the employer, ace the interview and get the job you want.

Articles in Volume 2:

  • Behavioral Interviews need Powerful Stories
  • Telephone Interviews
  • Smile at the Interview
  • What colors to wear to an interview
  • Interviews: Remembering names
  • Confidence in Interviews
  • What did you least like about your last job?
  • Interviews: What NOT to say
  • In General, here are some tips
  • Employers are people too
  • Handshake: it is more important than you think
  • Interviews: First Impressions
  • Interview questions: What if I can't think of an answer?
  • Interviews: telling stories is powerful
  • Interview Dressing
  • Behavioral Interviews
  • Behavioral Interviews: the STAR format

So Ace your next Interview with
"The Successful Interview: Answers and Questions"

Volumes 1 and 2 combined in PDF format

or Kindle format


And all success to you in your interview.

(c) Fiona MacKay 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interviews: Demonstrate skills with stories

When I facilitate workshops on interview skills, so many participants have trouble identifying what skills are included in their stories.

The chances are, no story only demonstrates one skill. Each story will demonstrate many skills. And it's your job as the job applicant/ interviewee to know what skills each story includes and tell the employer.

Don't assume that the employer will identify them.

Let's say you were telling a story that showed your organizational skills. At the end of the story, you could recap for the interviewer, saying something like "so that was a time I used not only my organizational skills, but also my communication, team playing and problem solving skills." (assuming the story showed you used these!)

This is you taking advantage of every opportunity to market yourself during your interview.

Always take any opportunity to include any skill you know is good for this job. But keep it brief. Long winded replies turn any interviewer off.

If you have trouble seeing what skills are in a story, write down a short version of the story, then go through it and analyze what skills you used where. Once you get in the way of doing this it will come quite easily.

Stories are not only a great way to demonstrate the skill the employer has asked you about, but a great opportunity to tell him (or her) about some other skills you have too.

Need some one on one interview practice?

More on Successful Job Interviews: Questions and Answers

(c) Fiona MacKay

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Think Transferable Skills

When you are preparing for an interview, and when you are actually in the interview, think transferable skills, not job duties.

It's easy to say, but if it's a new concept for you, it's not always easy to do - to begin with. Once you make the shift, you'll find you start thinking that way and it become much easier.

I had a client recently who was making the transition from a manufacturing job to health care, specifically care of seniors.

In answer to almost every question we practiced, she got into long stories about mechanical equipment, production lines and product.

Even after we'd discussed it, she was still having no end of trouble identifying the skills she used in her manufacturing job that would be relevant to her new job in health care.

Her "hard skills" included being able lift, bend and do physical work with regard to her safety and the safety of others.

Her "soft skills" included her organization, attention to detail, ability to stick to a schedule, enjoyment of routine work ... to mention just a few.

If you are having difficulty seeing how your previous job gives you relevant skills for the work you would like to find, write down the job duties of your old job.

Then for each job duty, write down what skills it took to perform them. Think of someone doing a really bad job, in your old posiiton. What would that person be doing or not doing, that made them bad at the job?

The opposite of that is what you must have been doing to do a good job!

For example, if someone doing the manufacturing job was allowing product to be damaged because of careless packaging, the opposite to that is, obvious, taking great care to wrap product well.

What skills are there in this? Attention to detail, pride in job well done, manual dexterity.

Now, how can you apply these to your new job? Continuing with the health care new job theme:

"In my last job, to make sure the end product went out undamaged, I had to pay great attention to detail, be on the look out for anything that was different than usual and check it out. I took pride in making sure all my work was of the highest quality and my supervisors not only satisfied, but very pleased with my work. And also, because I worked with my hands, I demonstrated good manual dexterity. All of these skills are directly transferable to working with seniors."

That could be a possible interview answer to "what did you do in your last job that prepares or qualifies you for this one."

Think transferable skills. Don't think job duties, if you're changing careers.

One-on-One Interview Practice, in person or by phone.

More on Successful Job Interviews: Questions and Answers

(c) Fiona MacKay

Monday, January 12, 2009

What did you least like about your last job? - Interview Question

If you are asked "What did you least like about your last job," you want to honestly answer with something that you didn't like. However, it may or may not be the thing that you most disliked.

If, in an office administration job you hated filing and filing will also be part of the next job you are looking for, then telling the interviewer that you most disliked filing might not be your best choice.

Instead think of something that you disliked in your last job that will either not be part of this job at all, or will be a very minor part of the new job.

Also make sure it does not put anyone down. "I disliked the way my previous boss barked orders," would not be an advisable response.

However, I disliked the long commute and the part time hours would be fine, assuming this job is closer to home and full time.

Or, if true, "there was nothing I really disliked about my last job, and I felt I did well in all areas of it, which is why I am applying for this one which appears very similar."

That would be a good answer.

So bear in mind not to opt yourself out of anything by saying you don't like part of the job for which you are applying, and instead see if you can turn it around to tell the employer why you are good for this position.

Here are some more great tips on interviews.

More on Successful Job Interviews: Questions and Answers

(c) Fiona MacKay

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Behavioral Interviews: the STAR format

Behavioral Interviews: the STAR format

The easiest way to make sure you get all the information you need into a behavioural interview answer is to use the STAR format.

You may see this under different acronyms, but all will probably mean the same thing ulitmately.

ST stand for Situation or Task. What was the situation or task you were faced with?
A stands for Action. What action did you take?
And R stands for Result. What was the result, or the employer benefit of what you did?

In normal story telling we often just give the STA - this needed done, I did it - and forget the R - Result. In interviews the Result can be the most important part so don't leave it out.

Here is an example:

The filing needed done - this is the situation
I filed - this is the action

So far, not very interesting.

The result:

My accurate, careful filing made documents and reports available for quick and easy access by all staff.

Wow! That sure makes it sound better.

Don't forget the results. It will probably take a bit of thought to come up with powerful results until you get used to the idea, but the skill is one that will help you write a resume that will get interviews, and then to ace the interview itself.

Remember, you're a STAR!

Want more help answering interview questions?

More on Successful Job Interviews: Questions and Answers

(c) Fiona MacKay