Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Answer interview questions properly | Job interview advice from career experts

It's just that sometimes, it burns. Talking about career is never easy anyway, what with its many intricacies, but you probably get the drift. We've received compliments from people many times before, saying that we make the task of discussing career building, job hunting and other career topics look so easy to do. Heck, we still do. But the reality is, we're no different than others in thinking that nothing's easy when it comes to this realm of life. Whether or not we'll produce something great out of a career topic is a matter of mood and our experience with it.

So there goes our explanation to the issue of why we're not consistent. Don't raise an eyebrow at us. Well, maybe we're just playing critics to ourselves again, but this confession needs to be let out, really. We don't like failing people, remember?

If it's so hard (that we have a library of rants just for it), then why do we keep on doing it? You may be asking...

Because no matter how stressing, it fits us the best. And we're right in assuming that it'll keep us preoccupied rightfully. To this date, it does its job well of preventing us from feeling job dissatisfaction and taking the risky career change path. You know we're not into that option... we know you do.

Now that we're done clearing things out, what do we have in store for you guys today?

Although we work in a very strict schedule, sometimes we give way to other things. When there's an overwhelming demand over 'something' is one such instance. You see, our mailbox and this blog work side by side, for the comments and all, so that we'll know what has begotten another hard day at work. Receiving many questions for a single topic in a short span of time sparks red alert, that we have to answer 'it' the soonest possible. Like right now, as advised by the mails we've received yesterday.

This must have been due to our special feature on Impress your prospective employers with your resume, a seminar on resume writing by Career Events last Monday. But oh well, we're quite happy for the reactions it has garnered, so despite the looming difficulty, motivation's pretty much covered and you can expect a good outcome for today.

Let's proceed to the task at hand, shall we?

Many people have asked: How about dealing with job interview questions? How can we impress our prospective employers in this regard? It's a career discussion that we've been tackling on this blog since ages, really. So...what's up with this conspiracy? We admit to nothing. We're getting things straight for once today.

Job interview questions range from common to odd. So our idea of preparation is to go beyond what's expected. Don't just base your preparations on the job ad you've been called for an interview. Allow us to give you some ideas.

The funnies
" If you could write the description for your dream job, what would it be?"

Let's start with the odd ones. The absurdity is beyond comprehension, but many have experienced it, so you might as well prepare yourself in this regard of job interviewing too. Career Advice has an article on this topic by Read to see examples.

What's our say on this? To answer funny interview questions correctly, be creative. Open mindedness is also a must. Throwing back a witty retort to such a question will give you the edge. However, be subtle with it or you'll appear cocky. Needless to say, that's a bad thing for your personal brand.

The psychologicals
"If you had to fire a friend, how would you go about it?"

Creativity is the in thing among HR professionals and executive recruiters nowadays, what with the fact that asking creative questions draw out the best responses from interviewees. Behaviour-based interview questions may be tricky in general (it gets many speechless, really), but it's not impossible to nail them down.

The key is honesty. Doing otherwise, although may be ego-feeding, poses the danger of inconsistency and you won't want that. Looking for a listing of such questions on the internet, like this one from career expert Lynda Ford, can help a lot with your preparation.

Here's a suggestion: Using your resume as backdrop, try to answer each of the questions that Linda has listed. This will give you a library of comprehensive answers that you can use, come the actual interview.

The personals
"Why did you choose to study Marketing?"

Personal questions may be the easiest to answer in the fold, but you also have to be careful in your choice of words and experience to share. Raise a censor and share only those bits about yourself that are relevant to the position you're applying for. Don't bum the interviewer. Focus on your achievements and how you've gone about problems. Those are what they want to know.

The commons
"Why did you quit your former job?
"How do you see yourself five years from now?"

The questions you most expect to be asked fall into this category. It's never easy to impress in a job interview, so prepare for these questions as well. Do some research, needless to say.

There's no key to answering these questions, but it's always advised to be honest. "A lot with this question is in the way you answer rather than in what you say. Be positive and confident rather than defensive and unsure", says career expert, Shelley Tilson. Read her complete advice at

Something that has become a staple in our job hunting write ups: Ask questions as well and you'll impress. Interviewing is a two way process, so have a list of questions to ask the interviewer at the end. Shelley has provided examples in her article. Check them out to get ideas.

Here's additional advice in this regard from recruitment expert Jonathan Kwan, "If you want to impress someone, the last thing you want to do is simply talk about yourself, and ask questions that only you care about. If you want to leave a lasting impression, try to ask questions that they will care about."

Related Career Advice articles:

Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions

10 Funniest Interview Questions

The Top 10 Questions Most Often Asked

Questions That Determine Types of Behaviour

How to Ask Good Questions? It’s Not About You, It’s About Them Singapore
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***edit (because we find this satisfying to do). Though it's a public holiday today, are you not planning to hold down your job search? Yes? This bit is for you. New Advertising Jobs, Engineering Jobs, PR Jobs, Telecoms Jobs, Education Jobs, and IT Jobs in Singapore have just been added to our database.