Columbo’s immortal words, and if he was interviewing a suspect and he said them, then that was it. Case closed. Columbo’s MO was to patiently question, bide his time, give the suspect enough rope to hang themselves, before catching them out with his final question; just one more thing….
Most interviewees will never come across an interviewer as shrewd and cunning as Columbo, however many have found themselves caught out by the typical final interview question; do you have any questions for us?
The problem with this is that most people feel the need to ask a question even if they don’t have one. So they think on their feet, hope to be inspired and …..end up asking a stupid question. Real life examples of such questions include:
- What type of coffee do you have in the coffee maker?
- Do you pay for sick days?
- I’ve a couple of other offers right now so what’s the most you can go on the salary?
Another problem is the timing. It’s generally asked right at the end of the interview. While first impressions last, last impressions are pretty important too. Ask a stupid question and all that hard work you did to create a good impression will have been wasted. The case will be closed and that stupid question you have just asked will hang around the interviewers like a bad smell long after you have gone.
“That was a really good interview”, they will say. “Right up until he/she asked that ridiculous question!”
So how do you avoid this nightmare scenario? First of all prepare thoroughly for the interview – and I don’t mean check out the company on their website. Instead adopt Columbo’s meticulous approach and ask lots of questions! Research the market; where does the company fit in? Research their competitors; how do they compare? Are they bigger, smaller, cheaper better etc. etc.? Ask your friends what they know about the company? Make discreet enquiries in your network. If possible call or visit the company to get some information first hand.
Your meticulous research will give you a better understanding of the company and the role which in turn will allow you to more easily highlight your relevant skills and experience. It will also impress the interviewers. Any questions not covered can be asked at the end of the interview.
Secondly, never miss an opportunity to compete for the job. If you have no more questions left to ask, use the opportunity to either ask for the job or reinforce your relevant skills for the role.
Examples of questions you can ask here include:
- Is there anything we spoke about today that would suggest that I’m not the best person for this job?” (Gives you a second chance to match your skills if you were unconvincing first off) Or
- “No, I have no more questions but I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your time today. I am very interested in the position and I hope to hear from you soon”. (Gives you a chance to close the deal) Or
- “When do I start?” (Ok maybe not this one, unless you’re absolutely certain you nailed the interview and have the charisma to pull it off)
Remember the vast majority of interviewers are not trying to catch you out like Columbo. They are instead looking for the person who will suit the role and their company best. You will convince them of your suitability by meticulously researching and then matching your relevant skills and experience, not by asking an inspired question right at the end of the interview.
Posted by Rossa Mullally, Sales & Marketing Manager on 28 November 2017
Why You Should Research The Company Who Want To Interview You
Why You Should Research The Company Who Want To Interview You
Before entering into an interview situation, we HIGHLY advise that you research your prospective employer as thoroughly as possible. Not only will this increase the chances of your interview being successful, it can also help you decide if the business is a good cultural fit for you, and also offer peace of mind that the company has good intentions. Provide Company Authenticity Allow me to briefly divulge to you a personal experience I’ve had. During my years of studying I was signing up to agencies in the hope of getting some money to help with living expenses. I was contacted by an agency that said a company was looking for assistants to help out in their studio. I went along to the interview and after the usual questions and formalities, I was offered the job on the spot! Amazing right? Well, shortly after I verbally accepted the position, I was informed that before they would send a contract over, I was required to send £500 to the company accounts team to cover any potential ‘damages and expenses’ to equipment inside the studio. Naturally, this was some cause for concern, and long story short, after a quick flick through their online social presence, I found that most of their followers were paid for/bots and the company address listed on their website was actually a room above a laundrette 50 miles from where it should be! It is the unfortunate truth that there are some undesirables who will pray on the good intentions of jobseekers by offering opportunities in industries that are traditionally challenging to enter. Prior research into a company that has contacted you will provide peace of mind that the company exercises lawful practices and that their business is authentic and genuine. In the case of my own experience, it's certainly a rare occurrence, but unfortunately, not an impossibility. Is The Company Right For You? The average person will work for around 37.5 hrs pw, some more and some less. This is a long time to be spent at the workplace, so in order to avoid any negative feelings or resentment towards work developing, you must make sure that the company’s culture aligns with your own. Ask yourself the following questions, am I able to complete the level of work required, can I work within company deadlines, am I able to handle the demands of my role, can I adhere to the company's work location i.e. work remotely, in office or hybrid? All these things will help you determine whether you can meet the demands of the role and perform consistently. Demonstrates an Interest in the Company As an employee of a company, you will be expected to act in a way that reflects the company’s best interests and core values. Employers will be looking for candidates in interviews that they feel best resonate with their core company ethics and philosophy. Demonstrating knowledge of the company’s history and expansion and recognising its achievements and accolades is sure to impress your potential employers. It conveys your own passion for the brand and desire to be a part of a company’s growth. This will help show your employer that you are committed to the future of the company and intend to work within the business for a long time. It helps you prepare meaningful questions Now you may have seen a post on our knowledge centre about questions you should ask your interviewer. These are all tried and tested ways to go the extra mile in an interview by seeking additional insight about your employer and demonstrating an interest in the company ethos. However, if you truly want to go above and beyond to impress your interviewer, mould your questions in such fashion that they directly relate to the business. Example: I recognise the company’s overall mission is X. But can you share some of the company's short and long-term goals during the next 3 years. What part would I play in helping the business to achieve these targets? Formulating your questions about matters directly concerning the company shows your employers you are eager to become an asset to the business. This will also provide an opportunity to match the business goals with your own! It can help you learn more about the industry If you’ve decided that you need a change in your career path and want to pursue a role in a different industry, research into a company can help provide insight into what the work actually entails and how the industry and company itself operates. Learning the ins and outs, the rough and the smooth of the job you’re looking to apply for will help you make the right decision for both your career and wellbeing. If a company advertises a fast-paced quick response attitude, will you be able to keep up? Similarly, if the role operates within both high-pressure and relaxed periods of work, are you ok with an irregular balance of fast and slow-paced environments? Researching the company and role you wish to pursue will help answer some of these questions that should always be considered when trying something new. In Conclusion As you can see, there are many benefits to researching your employer. Prospective employers are always going to be looking for candidates that will go the extra mile, so this is good practice into the mindset of always going one step further to impress and prove why you are an important asset to any team.
Best Questions To Ask At The End Of Your Interview
Best Questions To Ask At The End Of Your Interview
"So, do you have any further questions you’d like to ask us?" Yes. Yes, you do! This part of the interview is a very clever way employers can gauge your interest in their company, and briefly switches the ‘Question and Answer’ roles associated with the interviewer and candidate. Of course, when presented with this question, your initial answer would be no. I mean, you’ve just spoken about the role and the job for the last 45 minutes, no doubt outlining your various experiences, skillset, responsibilities, salary expectations and company history. So, all bases should have been covered right? INCORRECT! Employers aren’t looking to hire somebody that simply performs the bare minimum of work and walks away with the pay, they want to see your passion for their business, your recognition of its achievements, and your desire to help the company grow. Here are some questions to ask at the end of the interview that will provide further insight into the culture of the company, whilst conveying further interest in the role to your employer. What Are The Plans For The Business In The Next 3 Years? This is a great question that shows not only your commitment to the company but also the development of the business. In an ever-changing, ever-evolving market, asking this question to your employer shows that you demonstrate a knowledge and an awareness that a business’ longevity rests on its ability to move with the times, never settle in one place and constantly expand and grow within the field. This can also provide a heads up on any major upcoming projects and will give you a general idea about job security. Can You Describe The Working Culture Of The Organisation? Asking this question is a good way to assess the working environment of the company and whether you’ll fit in. You will learn how the company prioritises employee happiness and wellbeing, the work-life balance, and any benefits rewarded to employees on behalf of the company. If I Were To Be Successful, What Advice Or Resources Would You Recommend That Would Help Me Prepare For This Role Further Be careful how you word this question, as you don’t want to come across as arrogant and that the interview is a foregone conclusion. However, this is a great question to ask for both yourself and your interviewer, as it will show them that you are keen to perform in the role to the best of your ability. It also provides you with resources to help you prepare for employment so the first few weeks of work are less daunting, and you can start your new job feeling prepared. Will There Be Opportunity To Progress Further Down The Line? This question shows your employer that you have ambition, and you are conscious of your further career goals. Knowledge about opportunities to progress within the company will provide scope and allow you to look forward to the future. You don’t want to realise too late that there is little to no scope of progression into new roles and responsibilities, or that the only way to ascend the company ladder is to wait for somebody higher up to leave. Can You Describe A Typical Day or Week In The Job? Asking this question will provide an opening to address any queries or concerns you have found while reading the job description. Maybe a certain task wasn’t presented clearly, or you want to find more specifics when the job description alludes to a ‘variety of responsibilities.’ You’re going to want to know exactly what will be expected of you on a day-to-day basis, so you are prepared for what each week of work entails. Some interviewers will respond to this question by saying ‘Every day is different.’ In this instance, your best bet is to politely push for an answer by providing a period of time to draw experience from. Can you tell me more about what the last month looked like for the person in the job currently? What took up most of their time? In Conclusion It is impossible to cram every single piece of information into a job interview, so there will always be a question you can ask your employer at the interview's conclusion. We will follow up this blog post with some more questions soon, however, those aforementioned are a great way to learn more about the company you’ll be working for, what is expected of you, and the plans to grow the business, whilst also conveying your own excitement to be a part of that journey!
5 Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
5 Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
Whether you have been working in the same company for several years, or if you’ve been working within a wide array of industries in a variety of roles, at some point, we have all experienced the ‘Job Interview.’ We each have our own experiences with job interviews, some good, and some, unfortunately, less so. Interviews can be a very daunting concept, with the mounting pressure that the next step of your professional career hangs on the balance of your performance within the next 30–60 minutes. However, like many challenges in life, this process can be made significantly less stressful and much more successful with the right amount of preparation. Therefore, we have compiled a list of some of the most popular questions that an employer will ask you during an interview, and crucially, what the employer is hoping to learn about you from the answer you give. Familiarise yourself with how you should approach each question and the traps you could fall into. Think of ways you can apply the given examples to your own experience and you’re sure to leave your next interview feeling full of confidence. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what has led you to applying for this role? What may on the surface seem a relatively innocuous question, it is actually one of, if not the most important question of the interview. This is most likely the first time you and your potential employer will be sat face to face, and they are going to want to see how you hold yourself, convey information and how you act when meeting new people. Answers given may also provide openings to further conversation, though try not to waffle. My advice would be to give a brief overview of your education and relevant experience, the moment, or ‘thing’ that attracted you to this particular industry and a ‘golden skill’ that has allowed you to become successful in your working life. Wrap this answer up with your career goal and its close link to the role that you are being interviewed for and you will have provided a very strong introduction to your interviewers. Can you describe your Strengths and Weaknesses? This question can prove to be somewhat of a ‘gotcha’ moment in the interview if you are not prepared, as the interviewer will not only be interested in your direct response to this question, but the manner in which you address it: Strengths The key thing to keep in mind when answering this question is to not come across as boastful or arrogant. Of course, you are going to want to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job, however there is a fine line between providing relevant skills vs listing your long and attributed list of accolades. Employers will be looking for skills relevant to the role, so study the job description and focus on three key qualities you possess that can be directly applied to the role. Make sure to give relevant examples too! Weaknesses Despite what the word weakness implies, you’re going to want to avoid being too negative when providing this answer. The key when answering this question, is to let the employer know that you have recognised an area of personal weakness, and that you are taking steps to improve upon this so that it will no longer hinder your performance at work. It is important to give examples of the steps you have taken to improve, show your current progress, and emphasize that your progress has been acknowledged. Example – I would say my greatest weakness, is the fact that I sometimes find it quite hard asking other people for help. I tend to try and figure things out for myself, instead of asking the people in my team for guidance, which would be a faster way of working. Having said that, I am seeking to improve on this, and have since become more mindful of situations where this may occur in the future. Why do you want to work for us? This is a great opportunity to convey your passion and interest in not just the role, but the company as a whole. Preparation for this question is key, as knowledge of a company’s history, practices and its various accolades that have incentivised you to apply for this position, shows an employer that you acknowledge the companies’ key practices, ethics and progression within the industry. Discuss how this particular role is best suited to your own particular set of skills, and that your values and goals are aligned with those of your employer. What are your salary expectations? This question is almost certain to come up at some point, and if you aren’t prepared, it can cause a moment of panic in an interview. You don’t want to price yourself out of the job by asking for a salary that is too high, neither do you want to undervalue yourself and end up getting paid a lesser amount than what you could, or should, be working for. In order to avoid an uneasy atmosphere, prepare your response in advance. Research similar roles within the field and look out for consistencies in pay. The job you’re applying for may even have a listed salary attached to the description. We here at Sigmar prepare a yearly salary guide that covers many different roles in a wide range of industries. Take a look at this year’s guide, it will give you a good starting point when considering the salary being offered to you. This link will take you to our Sigmar Salary Guide: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.com/blog/2022/02/salary-guide-2022 How would you deal with potential conflict in the workplace? This question is an open door to an employer for assessing your level of emotional intelligence. By demonstrating your capacity for empathy, and your understanding of different personality types, you will show that you are highly emotionally intelligent, and understanding that ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’ However, you will want to be mindful of not appearing overly negative when answering this question. Generally, negativity should be avoided during an interview, however, like our assessment of the question regarding personal weakness, there are ways to address negative issues in a constructive way. Key points in the right direction are to lead with empathy and compassion, focus on your own subjective experience without pointing out flaws in others, and replace ‘but’ with ‘and,’ which deescalates a conversation from an argument to a discussion. In Conclusion Of course, we have only covered a select few questions in this post, and no doubt you will have come across one or two more ‘repeat questions’ in different interviews. We will be exploring further interview questions in later posts, however, these 5 questions are certainly amongst the more popular questions interviewers will pose to you, so preparing you’re answers to these will certainly increase your chances of a successful interview.
Mastering Body Language For Your Job Interview
Mastering Body Language For Your Job Interview
It only takes somebody between 6–30 seconds to form an opinion of someone they’ve met for the first time, and job interviews are no exception. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ and though it has become somewhat of a cliché, utilising this information can determine your success in an interview. So, you’ve researched your employer, practiced your responses to typical questions, arrived on time and appear neat and well groomed. Here is how to make the best first impression, along with some dos and don’ts to be mindful of during the interview: The First 30 Seconds Enter The Room With Confidence This will likely be the first time the interviewer sees you (unless they have greeted you upon entering the building), so make sure you appear as professional as possible. Don’t slowly open the door, nervously poke your head around and tippy toe over to your seat with your eyes locked to the floor. Stand up straight, open the door and walk in with calm confidence and good posture. Offer an initial greeting as you enter, such as a ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Hello there it’s nice to meet you,’ and rather than turn your back to the people in the room as you close the door, use your less dominant hand to close the door behind you whilst maintaining eye contact. Walk over confidentially to shake your interviewer’s hand or take your seat if you are prompted to do so. The Handshake Mastering the perfect professional handshake is a key skill you will utilise at many points in your professional career, though its important to neither be too forceful or too submissive. An overly aggressive handshake can come across as trying to hard, yet a weak handshake conveys a lack of confidence. Keep your handshake firm, but don’t crush their fingers, maintain eye contact and smile. Eventually you will develop the muscle memory needed when applying the correct amount of assertiveness for a handshake, but in the meantime, it never hurts to practice with a friend or relative. As You Sit Down Under no circumstances should you simply slump into your seat like a sack of potatoes. This shows a general ‘I’d rather be anywhere but here’ attitude, which of course will negatively impact your interviewer’s perception of you. As you sit down, keep your back straight and tuck your chair in if you are sitting at a table. During the interview Posture Maintain good posture but stay relaxed and try not to fidget. Don’t appear too rigid or stiff, as this shows you’re ‘on edge’ or trying too hard to look a certain way. When you’re sat up straight, imagine there’s a circle around your head, and try to keep your head inside this circle. If you lean back too far into your seat, you appear disinterested or too relaxed, but if you lean too far forward, it can come across as somewhat intense, or that you are trying too hard to seem engaged in what the interviewer is saying. It is OK to lean forward slightly ever so often, as it shows that you are listening, but don’t overdo it. Appear Open DO NOT CROSS YOUR ARMS! If there is any bigger indication that somebody is nervous, reserved, or holding back, I have yet to discover it. It is best to keep the hands on your lap or position your arms either at your sides or on the table. Avoid twiddling your thumbs or touching your hair or face. All of these are your body’s unconscious efforts to shy away from a situation. Remember to show confidence and that you are at ease with the situation. It’s fine to gesticulate when giving answers, but don’t go overboard. Smile A job interview can make anyone nervous, and recruiters seldom employ miserable people. The simple fix is to just smile. A smile can lower the stress levels and make you feel more relaxed. You will look comfortable, personable and ultimately, more likeable. The Eyes We have addressed the importance of maintaining eye contact without staring into your employer’s soul, however, when not maintaining eye contact, your eyes can give away more than you realise. Typically, when a person looks to their right while formulating a response, they are creating an artificial construct i.e., creating something that they haven’t seen or heard before. On the flipside, if they look to the left, they are recalling information about something they’ve seen or heard. A lot of these are unconscious movements that the body makes in a reaction to formulating a response and can be difficult to control, namely casting eyes to either relevant sides of the brain that deal with memory or imagination. However, the best way to avoid this happening is to simply prepare your responses to common interview questions in advance, so as not to be tripped up by a question you weren’t expecting. At the End of the Interview Don't Appear Rushed Your behaviour here will confirm your interviewer’s final perception of you, so quickly scrambling out of your seat, gathering your things and bolting out of the door is a sure fire way to leave a bad lasting impression. It makes you look like you just can’t wait to get out of there and breathe again. Instead, try to leave as confidently as you entered. Offer a final handshake and thank your interviewer for their time and express gratitude for the opportunity. If everybody is leaving the room together, match their pace and offer to hold the door if they aren’t already holding it open for you. Offer a final goodbye as you turn to exit the building. It’s worth bearing in mind that you may be watched as you walk out of the building, so try not to break composure and stride just yet! In Conclusion Ok so we’ve covered A LOT here, and you may finish this article with even more things to worry about than before. However, if you take one thing away from this, it’s that the simple way to avoid giving a negative impression to your interviewer is to remain calm, composed and confident. Should you worry that things are going astray, just remind yourself that your employer has chosen to interview you, so they are already impressed and think you are a good fit for the role. Remember to be open and polite, and you’re sure to walk away with a smile on your face.