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8 Misleading And Really Tough Questions You Could Be Asked In Job Interviews

8 Misleading And Really Tough Questions You Could Be Asked In Job Interviews

Knowing how to deal with tough interview questions properly can put you miles above other candidates. Your body language, voice and content of your answers are all factors that play into you getting hired.

This article will detail some tough and misleading questions that generally confuse potential employees and will help you get an insider view on what employers are looking for in your responses.

Remember in order to ensure your success you need to take the time to properly prepare your responses, practice them and always stay hungry for new information. This article will point you to the right direction for you to be successful in job interviews.

Tell me about yourself.

This is a very misleading question if you don’t approach it properly. Interviewers are looking for a lot more than just some information on what you do in your spare time. When you are asked this question it is important that you align your skills with what the interviewer is looking for. Don’t be afraid to play to their strengths and interests – in fact this is what they are looking for.

Start off by detailing your most recent and strongest accomplishments. Talk about the last position (or a position) that you held and what you made such a great fit for it. Discuss the skills and attributes that helped you and show how these skills will help you in the position that you are applying for. No interviewer really wants to hear about your personal life, instead only focus on the parts about your personality that make you a great employee.

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What can you do for us that someone else can’t?

Here employers are obviously looking for specific things that set you apart from the rest of the candidates. You have every right (and perhaps an obligation) to brag and emphasize your positive attributes.

Focus on your ability to get things done, give concrete examples when you faced deadlines and how you were able to meet them. Draw specific accomplishments from your resume and explain how you were able to achieve them. To wrap up this question talk about how your skills, attributes and record of getting things done makes you the perfect candidate to help advance the team.

What didn’t you like about your last job?

Trick question. While you are being asked what you didn’t like about your last position it is imperative that you do not focus on the negative. The interviewer is looking for signs that you might grow bored easily with the position and checking the strength of your commitment..

When answering this question be sure to preface your answer with a few things that you did enjoy about your previous position. For what you disliked keep it short and to point. Something along the lines of “looking for more responsibility” or “looking to expand my skill set” are answers that show your desire for growth. Make sure any answer you select shows off a positive skill of yours.

Are you a team player?

Everybody says yes to this question so it is important that you set yourself apart using concrete examples. Employers are looking for you to expand on your answer, a true team player will have a plethora of stories that show off skills related to teamwork.

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Center your answers around skills such as being empathetic, solving problems and sharing knowledge. Give concrete examples of a time you’ve had to resolve a conflict or a time you got people to work together.

If you were to win a million dollars what would you do?

When you get asked this question the employer is looking for where your priorities are and the type of person you are outside of work. Focus your answer on staying productive and maintaining your hard working qualities despite the fact you have money.

It is fine for you to say you would take a vacation for a little bit but employers don’t want to know the exact model of the car you would buy or how big your house would be. Stay away from material answers, focus on activities such as volunteering, passion projects and overall still being an active and productive person.

What is the main thing that gets you out of bed each morning?

This is a question to see what type of person you are by finding out what motivates you. Obviously answers like “I was hungry” or “I need money” are not what employers are looking for. Share with them an ambition of yours that you are working towards and how it inspires you to keep moving every morning.

Your ambition should be related to a skill needed for a job and once you have mentioned it you can mention other important parts of your life such as your family and friends. Show that you need little external motivation to perform your best each day.

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What are your weaknesses?

When answering this question be sure to stay away from typical answers. Answers like “I am too organized’ or “I am a perfectionist” are tired and cliched.

Instead focus your answers around improving specific skills of yours. The skills you choose should be related to the position your applying and should show your own desire for personal growth and growth in the work place.

Whatever weakness you choose slowly transform it into a strength with your explanation. Mention one or two things that you are doing to improve this weakness and show how the position you’re applying for will give you an adequate chance at improving on this.

Why do you want to work for us?

When you are asked this question employers are looking for you to show off what you know about them. Prior to any interview you should do research on the company, when you are asked this question you should play to the company’s needs.

Your answer should detail how your research has shown that this is a company that you would like to work for. List some reasons why you personally would like the position and how some of your skills align with what would be required of you. Emphasize that you chose them because you look to grow as an employee and that their environment seems like a place where you would have endless opportunities to improve your skills.

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Ending the interview

Practice these eight questions to get in the proper state of mind for your interview. Keep in mind interviewers may ask questions that seem normal and easy but there is always a hidden motive behind it.

Most importantly keep your ears open while being asked questions and take your time before responding. Do not think you are obligated to respond to every question instantly, giving thoughtful answers ensures that you are giving your best possible answers to the interviewer. Always stay learning to best prepare yourself for success!

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/george-papaconstantinou/7120970251/ via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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