Q:  Tell me about yourself.

A:  “I’d love to, where would you like me to begin?” (This helps you narrow down what can be a very broad question)

Q:  What are you looking to do?

A:   Briefly mention that you “would like to be a CONTRIBUTOR to an organization by using your technical and business skills” – that you would like to “make an impact” and “help an organization grow” then politely say” I’d like to best hear what you are looking for so I can tell you how my experience can be of assistance to you” — once you hear what they are looking for, you can focus on your experiences that are relevant for the position. In general, always try and gear your responses toward the needs of the interviewer.

– please note that when asked “what would you like to do” – your positive attitude could easily separate you from others that seem more like self centered and focused on money, advancement etc.   Everyone looking for a new job wants to grow professionally, but please put the message out that you’d like to make an impact, make a contribution and of course, grow within the organization.  This attitude can often win you the job if the skill set is there.

Q:  Why are you looking to leave?

A: It is always best to stay very positive about your current firm. (E.g., don’t badmouth your boss or co-workers). State that it’s “been a great experience but it’s now time to move on to grow your career” or ‘that you were happy in your current firm and we had approached you with what sounded like a great opportunity to advance your career and contribute to a great organization.”

Q:  Why are you interested in our firm?

A:   Always research the company. Review their Website, or consult news articles to learn about the company – you don’t have to memorize all the information, but you should know the business and the key products/services. If it’s a large company, you should mention that you’ve always been interested in joining a top tier organization with a great reputation in the marketplace. If you are meeting with a smaller firm, or a start-up organization, you should stress the importance of wanting to be involved in a more intimate environment. Being in a small firm can allow you to make a bigger, more immediate impact. Also, you can say that you enjoy the “entrepreneurial spirit” that comes with a smaller company that is just getting started.

Q:  What salary are you looking for?

A:   This is a tricky question and must be handled carefully. If you give a number too low, then you will most likely be offered that number. It is very difficult, and embarrassing, to then state that you “didn’t mean it”. It’s best to be up front about what you are earning and then say “I’m looking at a position for the opportunity and trust that you would make a fair and competitive offer”. When

pressed for a number, try to steer away from negotiating for yourself — you can tell them that you would like to hear how their compensation package is structured and are open to what they feel is a fair package. If still pressed for a number, you can say that the positions you have been considering have been the __ to __ range.

Overall, it is best to let us handle this intricate part of the interview process for you. Please give positive reinforcement of your interest in the position, organization, and project.

Q:  Tell me about your job history or background.

A:   When you know your background well (e.g., dates of jobs and reasons for leaving), you will be able to easily discuss your background. It may seem like you should know this, but it’s best to practice the highlights you achieved at each job and a good reason (NOT MONEY) for leaving each one. This once again goes back to the concept that practice makes perfect. You will be much clearer and relaxed if you are rehearsed ahead of time.

When discussing a previous employer, best to focus on the SOLUTIONS you’ve created not the PROBLEMS that you would like to leave. Focus on what can you accomplish or bring to the table, rather than complaining about the difficulties in your firm. When talking about changing positions it’s important to focus on desire for growth and future opportunities

Q:  What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is probably one of the most basic questions, HOWEVER, many people have lost job opportunities by saying a “weakness” that truly reflects badly on their character or skills (e.g., not organized, or have a bad temper)

A     it’s possible to mention a “weakness” that you have had trouble with in the past but have been working on to  improve – can say that it was an issue and are always continuing to improve yourself in this area (e.g.,  delegating,  multitasking priorities).    You are mentioning a weakness, but going back a bit in your career and showing how you have improved – if needed, this can be a good way to express a weakness but showing strength and growth.

Another type of weakness can be something mentioned that is NOT needed for the role. E.g., is a Business analyst role – can mention you are weak at Development (in other words, it’s not a skill needed for the position).

Of course for strengths – please try to mention attributes that the position needs (e.g., Proactive, not reactive; well organized, great ability to translate technical issues to the business – please avoid anything can be understood as a negative quality – such as “too demanding, perfectionist, strong willed).

Please note that many clients do a BEHAVIORIAL TYPE interview, for example:

Q:  What challenges have you faced?  How did you overcome them?

Please be prepared to talk about key projects/accomplishments and how you addressed tough issues.

  1. What did you learn from your challenges? What might you have done DIFFERENTLY if faced with similar situation?

Managers seek to hear that you are smart and learn from your experiences… that there are different ways to do thing, many things to learn… different ways to work….

No Manager wants to hear that you think there is ONE way to perform tasks… a sign of intelligence and analysis skills is the ability to  view situations in different ways and LEARN from it!!

Here are some questions that were asked of candidates recently – please be prepared for anything similar…

How would your colleagues define you as in a sentence or less?

Give an example where you exercised conflict resolution between competing technologies

or conflict resolution between 2 members of a group you managed.

How did you provide mentoring to direct reports?

How do you deliver bad news to management?

What process did you follow when faced with making a significant technology change?

How do you resolve resource contention when there appears to be 2 priority 1 projects?

How do you manage a major operational crisis when no one is clear on what is going on?