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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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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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