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Last Updated on June 23, 2020

10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples)

10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples)

Looking for a new job can be quite a daunting task. You’ve got everything from researching companies to applying for jobs that fit your skill set to actually hearing from a company that they’d like to talk to you. And then once somebody does notice your resume and experience, you’ve got the whole interview process to go through.

Sometimes all this can feel like running the gauntlet and can be emotionally exhausting. Being in talent acquisition for 15 years has taught me a few things. I’m fond of telling people that sometimes getting a really good job is like dating to get married. A lot of boxes have to be checked on both sides, as a best fit for the company and a good fit for you.

There are lots of questions to be asked and lot’s of chances for things to not work out. That’s the nature of the job hunting and interviewing process. There are some ways you can greatly increase your chances of landing the role you want. It all comes down to research and preparation. And no where is that more important than in preparing to interview.

With that in mind, I’d like to take a look at the 10 best interview questions (with great answer examples).

How to Get Ready for an Interview

1. Preparation

So many people take the shotgun approach to looking for a new job. They have a general idea of what they want to be doing in a position and that’s about it. Performing a job takes up a whole lot of your waking hours, so it should be something that you enjoy.

The actual work, the people you do it with, the company you do it for, etc. This doesn’t happen by accident; it takes planning and preparation. Now is a perfect time to compile a list of the things that are important to you in a new opportunity.

Think in broad terms and then narrow it down. What type of role do you want? Maybe it’s accounting, perhaps it’s operations, maybe it’s even in recruitment like me. Okay, that part’s done.

Now look for roles that match your experience and skills. I’ve been recruiting for 15 years, have management experience, and tend to focus on sales roles. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to look for or apply to roles that are looking for 1-3 years experience. I’d be bored, and it wouldn’t provide the type of compensation I am used to.

Maybe you are used to being in a specific industry. Do you want to stay in that industry? That will either narrow or broaden the field you are looking at. Do you like working in a larger or a smaller company? Is a large corporate office an environment you enjoy, or perhaps a smaller office with a lot less people? Think about if you like working for big multinational publicly traded companies or a smaller local organization.

The culture of a company tends to be a big factor for many people. These are all parts of the puzzle you should be thinking about as you prepare to go about your job search.

2. Research

Research is so important during your job search. Now that you’ve made a list of what is important to you in your new role, it’s time to do some research. Part of this research is preparing for the interview questions, which we will get to in just a minute.

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First, do research of which companies offer the types of role you are looking for. If you want to work for a large company, do a search for large companies in your geographic region that have positions like the one you want. Don’t just do an online search, but make sure you ask family and friends. It’s amazing what we can learn when we ask others for their thoughts and guidance.

Ultimately, what you are looking to do here is to build a list of companies where you want to apply or see who you know that works there that can maybe help you snag a meeting. This doesn’t mean you can’t apply for other roles as you become aware of them. You just want to have a list of companies to keep an ongoing eye on.

Now that we’ve got our job search parameters built and we’ve done some research on the types of companies we want to work for, let’s look at the interview process. This will help us prepare for the questions.

3. Interview Process

The interview process can vary a great deal[1]. Many times, when interviewing for a new role, you will go through a phone interview. Then, if that goes well, you will be invited to go to the office for in person interviews.

Phone Screen

Many times a phone screen is conducted by a recruiter such as myself. When I get a resume that looks like the experience is a good fit for a role I am working on, I will contact the individual to set up a phone screen, or interview.

Depending on the position, I will schedule between 30 – 60 minutes for the phone screen. During the phone screen, I do a fair amount of talking, as well as asking questions. I want to ensure the candidate is well informed about the company and the position. I then, of course, ask questions, some of which you will see below. If the phone screen goes well, I will then talk to the candidate about having in-person interviews.

In-Person Interviews

Assuming the phone screen goes well and both the interviewer and the candidate want to move things forward in the interviewing process, a live interview will be set up. This is where it can depend on the position. Sometimes I set up one live interview with a hiring manager, and if things well an offer will be extended.

Other times there may be a series of in-person interviews, depending in how difficult that is to schedule on both sides. Sometimes I line someone up to interview for an entire day if it’s a senior level role. If you are actively interviewing and working with a recruiter, ask the recruiter to prepare for any in-person interviews. In my opinion, all good recruiters do this, but some needed to be reminded.

Now let’s get to the really good information. Here are the 10 best interview questions (with great answers).

10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples)

On any interview you go on, you’ll likely encounter at least one of the following questions, so get ready!

1. Walk Me Through Your Work History

The interviewer wants to see that your job history makes sense. Ultimately what they are looking for is progression and growth in your career and that you don’t quit a job on a whim. They are looking for a good performer they can count on.

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Great Answers

“When I was at ABC Company my position was Inside Sales Supervisor. I was responsible for a team of 6 that…and I ultimately decided it was time to look for an opportunity outside the company due to lack of growth options inside the company.”

“I accepted a position as Team Leader at Genomix because it allowed me to both grow my level of responsibility and learn a new industry. There I managed a team of 12 Sales Representatives that sold Medical Genome services in a 3 state area.”

2. What Are You Looking for in Your Next Role?

The interviewer is wanting to ensure that what you are looking for in your next role matches up to the job you are interviewing for. If you are wanting to manage people and this isn’t a management role, it’s probably not the best fit.

Great Answers

“I noticed in the job description that you are looking for a highly creative person. Creativity is one of my strengths and something that I am extremely passionate about.”

“One of the things I find to be very important at work is a culture of collaboration. In my next role I’d really like to work and interact with a team that places collaboration high on their list of priorities.”

3. What Gets You Fired up to Go to Work?

They want to know if you will bring passion and energy to the role or if it’s simply a paycheck for you.

Great Answers

“As my 15 years in digital marketing indicates, it’s a field I absolutely love. I am a constant learner and doing this work everyday is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

“I always like to learn new things in the field of electrical engineering. I read numerous publications, and getting to integrate my newly found knowledge into my everyday work is something I always look forward to.”

4. How Do You Handle Stress?

They aren’t really looking to see if you will get stressed at work; everybody does from time to time. What they want to see is if you handle stress in a constructive way and are able to work through it effectively.

Great Answers

“When I feel myself getting stressed, I stop and take a deep breath. I assess the situation and ask myself what I’m trying to accomplish. I then break the project down into smaller, more manageable pieces that I can tackle.”

“I have found that setting up a system that keeps me on track and organized greatly reduces my level of stress. This way I stay on top of just about all work situations. I also feel it’s important to take a short break from time to time and walk around a bit.”

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5. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?

No real shocker here. Your interviewer want to know if you are able to adapt to shifting priorities and timelines. Are you able to juggle a large workload? And what do you do when too much gets heaped on your plate at work?

Great Answers

“I’m used to working with a heavy workload and multiple priorities. When I start to feel overwhelmed and have too much going on at once, I take a minute and write down a list of what needs to get done. I then number the items according to what’s most important. From there I work my way from #1 onward.”

“While I consider juggling multiple projects one of my strengths, there have been times when there is simply too much to get done in a designated amount of time. When this happens, I typically ask my manager for guidance on what I should prioritize.”

6. What Skills and Strengths Would You Bring to This Position?

The interviewer wants to know that your skills and experience match what they are looking for closely. By this point, you should know that what you are good at matches what they are looking for. Otherwise, you’re at the wrong interview!

Great Answers

“As a recruiter I find one of the best areas to know about is how to find candidates. I pride myself on my ability to identify hard-to-find candidates. I have a certification in this area that I keep current as well.”

“My level of knowledge in the data analytics field is pretty solid. I supplement my day-to-day work with additional learning by taking online courses to stay up to date on current trends.”

7. What Do You Know About Our Company?

Hopefully you did your research. They want to know that you care enough about the opportunity to have taken 5-10 minutes to do research on the company.

Great Answers

“While I am certain there’s a lot I don’t know, I found some really exciting things about the company when I was looking online. I had no idea there was such a high demand for injury prevention training in the workplace. How long has that been part of your services?”

“Since it’s a newer industry for me, I still have a lot to learn. I talked to several of my friends in the industry, and they filled me on some of the large scale projects your engineering firm completed recently. How exciting was it to land the renovation of the football stadium?”

8. How Do You Handle Disagreements With a Boss or Colleague?

They want to know how you handle disagreements and differences of opinion with your fellow associates. Since you’ll likely be working closely with other people, it’s important to show that you can handle disagreements in a productive way.

Great Answers

“My manager recently wanted to put in place a bronze level of service to a new client. I completely disagreed as we’d worked over a year to land this client, and it was going to be one of our largest. I set up a meeting with my manager to show her how upgrading them to the silver package would ultimately lead to more revenue. She finally agreed with me, and we changed it.”

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“Several years ago a coworker and I were not seeing eye to eye on setting up marketing for a client. We butted heads for almost 2 weeks before I suggested we talk about it over a meal. Being in a more informal setting really helped us come together and agree on a blend of what we each wanted to do.”

9. How Do You Stay Current on Industry Trends?

The person you are speaking with is interested in knowing if you care enough about the industry to put forth an effort to keep up to date on it.

Great Answers

“One way I’ve found to stay current on the latest and greatest is to go to the ERE conference that happens in Orlando once a year. It’s a two-day event bringing together some of the most innovative companies in our field. I always learn lots of new things that I then implement at work.”

“Do you read the magazine Financial Planning? I’ve had a monthly subscription for years. It always has great articles and helps me stay abreast of the latest trends in our industry.”

10. What Are You Compensation Requirements?

It’s pretty simple; they want to know if the compensation you are looking for fits in what they have budgeted for the role.

Great Answers

“From my research and talking to several colleagues ,I’ve found that the compensation range for this type of role with the number of years experience you are looking for is typically between $60,000 – $70,000. Is this aligned with the budgeted compensation for this role?”

“Based on my years of experience and expertise in this field, I’ve been targeting roles with a compensation range in the $60,000 – $70,000 range. Is this role in that range as well?”

Conclusion

Looking for a new position is hard work and can be a daunting task. It’s a good feeling when you get to the interview stage. Being prepared is absolutely essential and will help you out immensely during the interview process. Review the 10 best interview questions with answers to help you feel ready to tackle any interview you might face. It just might help you land that new dream job.

More Tips on Nailing Your Interview

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Balance Careers: How to Prepare for a Job Interview

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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