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You Should Know These 8 Answers Before Your Job Interview

You Should Know These 8 Answers Before Your Job Interview

Companies are continually restructuring and employers are always hiring.

Along with constant change in the business world comes constant opportunity to find employment. Every application process has a job interview and there are some things you should keep in the back of your mind when answering interview questions.

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Before your next job interview you should know these 8 answers to commonly asked questions:

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Answer: Your answer should be well-rehearsed and be about 2-3 minutes in length. Try to avoid the typical statements about your family and where you’re from, and focus more on your experiences and background that best relate to the job. This is your opportunity to develop a great first impression, so think through a couple of your key achievements to date and mention these as part of the flow of conversation. Keep things lighthearted by throwing in some of your personal interests at the end of your answer.

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Question: Why did you leave your last job?

Answer: Your answer should be honest, and you should speak positively about your experience, even if you had a rough time and were made redundant or if you disliked the employer. If you were made redundant, discuss the reason for the company restructuring and focus on the fact that it now allows you to explore your interest in the company you are interviewing for.

Question: What has been your biggest achievement in your career?

Answer: Think of an achievement that you had control or influence over. Choose an example that is work related and preferably one that relates well to the job that you are applying for. Describe the role that you took in making the success and outline how it impacted others and had a benefit for the organisation.

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Question: What is a mistake you have made and what did you learn?

Answer: One thing to note is that everyone makes mistakes and you’re interviewer knows this, so the worst answer for this would be to say you don’t make any at all. Instead, describe a real mistake that you made and what the impact was. Note how you quickly addressed this mistake and what actions you took to prevent this mistake from taking place again.

Question: What would you say is your greatest weakness?

Answer: Try to avoid cliches in answering this question such as “I’m a workaholic” or “I’m too efficient for those around me”. Instead, showcase a weakness that is less related to the job, such as difficulty in communicating with someone from a foreign country (only if this is not a core part of your role) or on a weakness that you are taking proactive steps to improve, such as public speaking. Following this, describe the actions you are taking to address this weakness to show that you are focused on your own personal development.

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Question: Why have you been out of work for so long?

Answer: Time off from work can arise from a number of different reasons, such as being made redundant, deciding to travel or simply being dismissed. If you left voluntarily to do your own thing—such as traveling, starting your own business or simply taking some time off—then this is the easiest to tackle. If, however, you were made redundant or dismissed, make mention that you have used the opportunity to take the time to re-evaluate where it is that you want to go in your career.

Question: Why do you want to work with our Organisation?

Answer: Your answer should reinforce the fact that you are the best candidate for the role. Show your passion and enthusiasm for not only the role, but also for the product or industry. Perhaps you know of others that have worked in the organisation, or perhaps the company has a fantastic reputation. Just make sure you stay away from suggesting that you just need money or that you don’t have any other employment options.

Question: What are your salary expectations?

Answer: Salaries are not normally negotiated in the interview so you should try avoid this if you can until you get to the offer stage. However, if you are asked this question in an interview, provide your honest answer. You don’t want to sell yourself short by suggesting a salary that you wouldn’t be committed to, and you don’t want to suggest a salary that is extremely high that will make the employer question it further. Instead, give your interviewer a broad salary range that you would be comfortable with and make mention that salary will not matter once you have the opportunity to work for the company.

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Brendan Baker

Brendan helps people who feel stuck doing work they don't like start to make a difference and an income doing what they love.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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