Doostang News August 2: Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions – Part 1

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Director of Search Marketing, San Francisco, CA
Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Public Relations Associate, Raleigh, NC
M&A Research Analyst, Paris, France

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One of the biggest sources of pre-interview jitters is the anticipation you feel over tough interview questions.  And while you’re probably convinced that an entire series of curveballs lies in wait for you, the fact is that you’ll probably only receive one or two.  Nevertheless, it’s always great to be prepared for whatever is in store, so take a look at these zingers we’ve compiled:

Are You Considering Other Positions?

Your first inclination may be to answer “No”, as you want to seem fully committed to the opportunity that the interviewer represents.  But the reality is that you’re probably looking at a multitude of jobs – after all, who wouldn’t be?  You’re trying to situate yourself as best you can, so applying for multiple positions is advantageous – hiring managers know this.  Instead, answer in the affirmative.  It’s honest, realistic, and will position you in a way where you are selecting the company as much as they are selecting you.  Make them fight for you a bit.

Why Should I Hire You?

This one’s basic, but really make sure you think it through before you arrive at the interview.  Instead of giving the stock, “I’m a really hard worker” or “I’ll really make a difference” answers, cite specific examples of hard work or the difference you have made in a company.  No one will swallow such vague answers; the more precise you are, the better.

Have You Ever Had a Conflict with a Boss or a Fellow Employee?

If this question comes up and it turns out you have experienced office conflict, don’t shy away by brushing it off with a quick (deceitful) “No”.  Instead, consider how you might use this experience to your advantage.  Tell the interviewer that you had a disagreement with a certain boss or coworker, but that you were able to work through this difference and come to a compromise that worked well for everyone.  What a hiring manager really wants to know is how you deal with conflict, and so if you skim past this one, they may just pry until they find another way for you to respond to this issue.

Have You Worked With Someone You Didn’t Like?

Here’s a similar question that you might get, though it deals less with conflict.  It’s certainly okay to mention that you didn’t want to be best buds with everyone you ever worked with.  It’s more likely that you’ll come across several people that just rub you the wrong way.  But how you dealt with this situation is of strong interest to a hiring manager.  So talk about how you were able to rise above your dislike of said individual and focus on what made this person a valuable employee.  Describe how, while you may not have spent time with this person outside of the office, you worked together wonderfully at the office.

Tough interview questions can leave you with a pit in your stomach…if you are underprepared!  So take some time to work out how to turn negatives into positives and position yourself in a desirable light, and you can tackle them with confidence.

Go get ‘em,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang News June 14 – Three Important Interview DON’Ts (DO Read This!)

Research Associate, New York, NY
Director of Marketing and Operations, Los Angeles, CA
Trade Trainee, Chicago, IL
Business Development Intern, Washington, DC
Investment Banking Intern, Miami, FL

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Here at Doostang we like to advise you on all the things you should be doing during an interview.  But it’s also important to know what sort of actions you need to avoid.  Some of these may seem obvious, yet jobseekers often make related missteps along the way.  So let’s revisit the basics:

Don’t Under-dress

If you are familiar enough with a company to know that the office culture is very relaxed, it may feel silly walking into an interview in a suit and tie.  Nevertheless, it’s important that you dress up for an interview.  Putting effort into your wardrobe shows that you take the company and the job seriously.  And even if the rest of the office is in shorts and T-shirts, they’ll appreciate that you care enough about the interview to dress up for it.  No one will judge you if you show up looking polished and professional – they might if you dress like a slob.

Don’t Talk on the Phone

It’s obvious that you should, by no means, answer your phone during an interview. But take that a step further and don’t talk on the phone at all while you are visiting a company. Before you even enter the building, switch your phone to silent, or, better yet, turn it off. Not only is it important to do this in order to avoid the temptation of answering it, but also it ensures that your cell won’t go off while you’re speaking with the hiring manager. The interview lasts from the moment you step foot in the door until the moment you leave, and it’s imperative that you show respect and remain alert. Silence is golden!

Don’t Get too Relaxed

While you want to give off an air of confidence, don’t get cocky and start slouching in your chair during the interview.  It’s wonderful to have a fluid, easy-going conversation with an interviewer, but if you are too much at ease, they might think that you don’t really care.  Remain alert and engaged, appearing more eager than cozy.

Stay tuned for more interview “don’ts”, and make sure to brush up on your interview “do’s”.  Now go get ‘em!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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