Article 18 - How to Ace Your Interview - Questions and Answers

Have you flustered in a recent interview or are you preparing for an up-coming interview? Many companies are interviewing candidates using typical questions but with great expectations that are far from the typical answers. This article will go through some of these typical questions. Pay attention.

What pay/salary would you like to be offered?

Your interviewer is not looking for a straight forward and direct answer, nor should you be giving one. You also do not want to give an answer that is either too high or too low from what the interviewer is expecting. Otherwise, the interviewer will either believe that you are dishonest by overstating your value, or not confident by understating yourself. So, how do we give a good answer without knowing what the interviewer wants to hear?

You can try a reply questions by asking "What is the average pay for this position?" This eases the tension and shows to the interviewer that you care. The interviewer might respond with some value, or small range, for example, $50,000 for the position of junior programmer. Your reply should then be along the lines of, slightly above average, in this case, $50,000 to $55,000. This gives room for negotiation and will not surprise the interviewer because it is what the interviewer expects. You also do not undervalue yourself but instead, give yourself an advantageous because you presented yourself as "above average" in your response.

If your interviewer does not answer the first question, then just proceed with the usage answer but without a direct value.

Why should we hire you?

This question is important. You should take the time to prepare beforehand an answer that makes you stand out but does not over boast yourself. You want to show your confidence without being cocky. You want to impress your interviewer but not threaten his or her position (assuming the interviewer is the hiring manager). So how does one proceed?

It is not too difficult. First write down the skills and abilities that you believe the interviewer is looking for. You can always cross reference the duties, responsibilities, and requirements outlined in the job posting. Try to include relevant evidences such as prior experiences.

The most important factor is to keep this response short. You have about 30 seconds to 1 minute to capture your interviewer's attention. Also, try to put the most relevant and important statement at the beginning.

As a short example for a junior programmer position, "I recently graduated from University with honours and distinction at the top of my class. I have the theoretical foundations of algorithmic designs and programming concepts required for this position. I have applied these concepts in real world industrial applications during my previous internships. The experiences that I have acquired will be of great benefit as a member of your organization where I can learn and contribute to the greater success of your team (organization)."

Note the short but concise and straight to the point answer. Each statement should be unique, do not repeat but always focus your answer to the well being of the hiring organization.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

The interviewer is not looking for your strengths nor your weaknesses. He or she does not care. What he or she wants to hear is ratter how you apply your strengths (skill and abilities) in this organization and how well you adapt to trouble and challenges.

Your answer should first reflect your strength and ability to adapt flexibly to new challenges. Try avoiding referencing any weaknesses. But to avoid the interviewer pestering you about an example of your weaknesses, include a very short statement of how you used your strength to overcome any typical weaknesses a person would have.

For example, your weakness may be attention to detail such that you often err and mistake on your written reports or your programming contains bugs. Then you can give an answer along the lines, "My strength is my ability to program efficient and well-documented code. Although, the prototypes that I design may contain bugs, I am quick to fix these problems and provide a revised and enhanced version of my code."

You should be able to ace the interview.

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