Questions You Are Likely to See on a Job Application and How to Answer Them in the Best Manner

December 3, 2019 by  

Application forms are designed by employers and recruiters to quickly retrieve the information they need about you as a candidate and make an informed decision about who deserves to be taken to the interview stage.
So, like with your CV, it’s crucial that you showcase your abilities and stand out from the rest of the candidates. But when someone else is asking the questions, how do you get across what you want them to know?

Here are 15 question types you are likely to face and how to make the most of your answers:

Employers want to make sure you are applying for this job for the right reasons and that you will be a good fit within the company. Here is how they might word it:

1. Why do you want to work for this company?
2. What about this sector interests you?
3. What about this role do you think you would enjoy most?
4. What are your career goals both short and long-term?
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is where your research of the company comes in. Show that you have done your homework and mention things about both the company and the wider sector that peaked your attention. And what are your personal motivations by sharing a brief overview of your five-year plan.

Employers don’t just want to know where you worked and when. They want to know what you learnt during your time in each role and how that experience is relevant and can be applied to the job you are applying for now.
For example:
6. What was your most challenging experience? And how did you overcome it?.
7. Discuss a time when a deadline couldn’t be met. How did you deal with it?
8. Describe a time when you had to convey a difficult concept to someone. How did you tackle it?
9. Talk about a time when you challenged the normal ways of working or thinking with a new approach.
10. Give an example of when you have successfully worked with a team to complete a project or task. How did you contribute to the project?

The employer wants to understand what type of worker you are and picture how you will fit into the team. They also want to determine whether your experience and reactions to challenges are right for the role you are applying for. This doesn’t have to be limited to work scenarios either. The best way to get across an honest and concise answer is to use the STAR formula (situation, task, action, and result) to give structure and tick all boxes.

As part of understanding how you will fit into the role, the employer will want to establish what your strengths are. They may word this in various ways:

11. Which tasks do you find naturally easier?
12. What tasks do you most enjoy doing?
13. What subjects did you excel at in school or higher education?
14. Which of your achievements are you most proud of and why?
15. When do you feel the most motivated; at the beginning or end of a project?

It is important to be truly self-aware and honest when answering strength questions. Try to consider what the employer is looking for as well, based on the initial job description, and try to match your own strengths with those in the description.

One final tip for job applications: always go back through and make sure you have answered every question (and sub-question) in full, and haven’t made any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Then keep a copy before submitting as it could be handy to look back at when interview stage comes around.

Interview Mistakes to Avoid

March 4, 2017 by  

It seems that due to the differences in the way women and men communicate, that a few extra rules need to be considered during an interview. These issues can apply to men however, they must be carefully contemplated by women.

Here are some issues to consider.
1. Appear Stiff:
Perception is everything, and the power of likeability almost always trumps experience. A lot of women are good at connecting with others, but for some reason, they seem to turn the ability off when they go into an interview. Just be yourself and let your personality, energy, and optimism be evident to the interviewer. This demonstrates to your potential boss just how passionate you are about the position.

2. Talk Too Much:
Women tend to talk too much in interviews. Experts suggest that the hiring manager should speak for at least 60 percent of the interview. Any prospective candidate should keep their responses to less than one minute and watch for signs that the interviewer is actively engaged. The engagement can be confirmed by the body language of the interviewer. Remember to spend 60 percent of your time listening and only about 60 seconds talking.
Many women are reluctant to tout their accomplishments, fearing they’ll appear arrogant or overly ambitious. All prospective candidates should clearly and confidently state their achievements and talents when the time is appropriate, to show how they will be valuable to the organization. (This is not usually a problem that men have.)

3. Not Negotiating the Offer:
One of the biggest and most overlooked interview mistakes made by women is accepting a job offer without negotiating for a better deal. Women tend to have a depressed perception of the market and often set salary targets too low–sometimes as much as 30 percent lower than their male counterparts. This means it is very important to do your due diligence ahead of time and find out what the market rate is for this sort of position. There are websites that can help you with this information. You can check out: as well as speak to job recruiters in your network to determine the current pay rate. Again, men tend to not be afraid to ask for what they feel they are worth.

4. Inappropriate Dress:
With a wider range of clothing to choose from, it’s easier for women to make a fashion faux pas as opposed to men.
A common mistake that women can make is appearing “too flashy,” by showing too much skin or wearing too much makeup. This can damage an applicant’s chances for employment.
Instead, you may want to as around or even go to the business and see what employees are wearing so you can take note of how formal or casual they are. It is always best to keep colors muted, choosing navy blue, dark gray, or black, and tone down your jewelry and makeup. A good rule of thumb is to dress one step up from the position you’re applying for. It’s always better to overdress than under-dress.

5. Worrying Too Much:
Women tend to worry more than men. Anxiety can be seen during an interview and will project a lack of confidence. What could be temporary stress will come likely appear as a nervous personality.
It is better to walk into an interview thinking that they are going to absolutely adore you. That sort of positive energy will have a much greater impact on the way the interview will go. Also, try to exude positive nonverbal cues during the interview, such as a smile, good posture, and a firm handshake.
6. Failure to Market Yourself:
This is an issue that almost exclusively affects women because, unlike men, who can seemingly get away with appearing arrogant or pushy, women tend to be too modest about their accomplishments. The interview is the time to project confidence and pride in your work, not reticence, so you show the interviewer how you will valuable to the organization.
Applicants should only focus on the assets they will bring to the job, instead of anything negative.

7. Issuing Disclaimers:
Women frequently “testify against themselves,” saying something like this, “To be honest, I haven’t actually been in charge of an entire division, but …” Instead, the candidate should answer with something like this: “I’ve always been great at motivating a team, and could apply those same skills as a manager here.”
Prefacing an answer with a disclaimer cancels out whatever positive information will follow. Therefore, it is important to concentrate on strengths as opposed to perceived insecurities. Sometimes an interviewer with as about weaknesses, then you must give an answer that shows you are aware of the issue and what you have done to overcome it.

8. Talking About Unfamiliar Topics:
If an interviewer asks you questions on an unfamiliar topic, you should respond by saying, “that’s a really good question, however, I’ll need to do a little research first before I can respond,” or, “I haven’t encountered that superior.” Also, it is not really necessary to bone up on things you’re not familiar with just to impress your interviewer. Remember to be true to who you are and what your expertise is.

Remember that the organization has a position to fill, and positioning yourself to fit the needs will benefit both you and the potential employer. Another thing to remember is that the interviewer generally knows less about what you’ve accomplished and sometimes less about the job than you do. You are the expert on you so be sure to “market” that effectively during the interview!

Tips for Successful Interviews

January 28, 2017 by  

Today when an organization is looking for a new hire they generally have a large pool of candidates to choose from. Therefore, if you are seeking a new position, it is very important to prepare well before an interview so that you will have a good chance of doing well during the interview.
So what should you do?

Here are some tips to consider:
1. Take a practice run to the interview location so that you know exactly where it is, how long it will take you to get there, and where you can park.
2. Research the company ahead of time so you know their history, their core values, their goals, and their mission statement.
3. Practice for the interview by preparing possible answers for the most frequently asked questions. However, do not memorize those replies or you will sound robotic.
4. Don’t rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. No matter how qualified you are for the position, you will need to sell yourself to the interviewer.
5. Dress appropriately to suit the culture of the organization. If you are not able to determine that ahead of the interview, it is always better to be a bit overdressed and conservative in your attire.
6. If an unexpected question is offered, one you did not prepare for, you can ask to have them repeat the question to give you a bit more time to compose an appropriate answer. In any event, a short pause is okay, not a long one.
7. Do not appear “desperate” for the position, rather be interested and exude confidence rather than aggression. Be sincere and honest.
8. Be sure to be well groomed, polite, and attentive.
9. Greet the interviewer (by name if you can determine that ahead of time), look them in the eye and firmly shake hands.
10. Good idea to bring along extra resumes, just in case they ask for one.
11. Try to demonstrate how you will be valuable to the organization, not what they can do for you.
12. Prepare a few questions you wish to ask. If the information you are seeking is shared during the interview, you will not need to use them, however, if there are some points you wish to determine, there is nothing wrong with asking.

Remember, the organization is likely interviewing many candidates and if you want to stand out and earn the second or third interview for this position, you want to make the right impression at the first interview. In order not to leave a poor impression, be sure to turn off your cell phone before entering the interview room, make sure to come a few minutes early, and if they require any further forms to be filled out, do it neatly, completely, and accurately.

Finally, never speak negatively about former employers, colleagues, or managers as this will not endear you to a new organization. Best to keep the conversation professional and positive. Always be truthful, to the point, and simple.
I wish you success and your preparation will help you to win that new position so be sure to put in the time necessary to arrive prepared and confident!