“What do you think of garden gnomes?”
This was apparently asked of one Trader Joe’s candidate in an interview . A silly, irrelevant question for a job in grocery stores, you might say. However, questions like these that seem, on the surface, ridiculous, often provide more insight into a candidate’s aptitude for the role than you might initially think.
No one ever knows exactly what questions are going to be asked in an interview. However, there are trends that show up in every list of most common interview questions, which we have divided into five categories. We’ll provide examples for each, as well as an overview of how you should consider approaching them to showcase yourself in the best possible light.
“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
“Why are you leaving your current job?”
“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”
These tend to be the questions that open up an interview, giving you an opportunity to provide a brief bit of background information about yourself, as well as an overview of your aspirations, providing the interviewer context about you and where this role fits in with your career plans.
This is not to say, however, that you should approach these questions with any less preparation or panache than others. You should phrase your answers as a pitch of your career; linear, like a story, and this job as the next step that slots perfectly between the past and the future. It wouldn’t hurt, of course, to slip in a few specific achievements that you want the employer to know about, opening up the floor for further questions on those later.
While you should phrase your answers in a way that presents this job as an ideal opportunity, you should also be honest – you don’t want anything you said in a moment of panic to come back to haunt you if you are hired!
“How did you hear about the position?”
“What do you know about the company?”
“What do you think we could do better or differently?”
To separate the wheat from the chaff, employers will frequently ask interviewees to demonstrate their knowledge about the company they are applying to. Stumbling at this hurdle will almost certainly mark the end of your candidacy for the position! If you don’t know much about the company you’re interviewing for, they will question your passion for what they do and your ability to do the most basic of research.
Interviewers want to see that not only are you passionate about their company’s brand, but that you are able to assess their current infrastructure critically and constructively present feedback using your prior knowledge and experience. Small start-ups in particular look for creativity in their employees, and definitely would like to see how you could contribute to company development from the outset.
“Tell me about a challenge or a conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.”
“Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?”
“Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?”
To get an idea of how you handle conflict, your interviewer may ask a similar question to one of these. Often, they will start with ‘give me an example…’ or ‘describe…’. The idea is to get a sense of what your personal strengths are in pressurised situations, as well as how you structure your response to problems.
There is a technique to handling such questions, named the STAR Method. As set out by Al Dea, the founder of CareSchooled and a learning and development coach, STAR is “helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience,” i.e. giving your response a clear structure and minimising the opportunity to ramble.
S – Set the scene. What details do you need to share to ensure your example is clear?
T – Task. What was your responsibility and/or goal in this situation?
A – Action. What did you do to resolve the issue and complete your aim? What steps did you take?
R – Result. What was the direct result of your actions? What did you accomplish?
You can read more about the STAR Method here.
These questions could also expand to more personal ones, such as the personality types you tend to clash with, as well as your own strengths and weaknesses. Your answers to these questions can provide insight into how you might gel with the existing team, and whether the company culture is necessarily a suitable fit for you.
“How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?”
“How many pennies could you fit in this room?”
“Why are manholes round?”
These are questions of the same breed as “what do you think of garden gnomes?”. Questions that appear completely unrelated to the job at hand, and that there could be a million ways to answer, none of which jump out as being the ‘correct’ one. That’s because the hiring manager is not looking for a correct answer, but one that is reached in a logical, methodical manner.
If you articulate your thought process out loud, the interviewer can see how you are approaching the problem using existing mathematical abilities, as well as common sense and general knowledge.
They also reveal a substantial amount about the personality of a candidate. Your approach to the questions and ability to think on your feet speaks volumes about your character and may be a crucial insight to the employer as to whether you’d be up for the day-to-day challenges that are part of the role.
A calm-headed, logical candidate may handle the tennis ball question by demonstrating awareness of the measurements needed to perform the calculation, such as the volume of a tennis ball and the length, width and height of the limousine. An even more impressive candidate may turn questions back on the interviewer, asking as to whether there are any people inside the limousine at the time and how big the seats are.
However you choose to approach the puzzle at hand, maintain a cool demeanour, showcase your understanding of maths and problem-solving and use rational logic to show you could come up with a rough methodology to reach a correct solution, even if you do not.
“Are you under/overqualified for this job?”
“Why should we hire you over someone else?”
While these questions may appear a little forthright, and definitely intimidating, they actually present a brilliant opportunity to sell yourself to the employer in a brazen way that thus far you may have had to tiptoe around.
Use questions such as these to summarise your core strengths and the value that you would bring to the company, emphasising that you truly are the perfect fit for this job. Be careful not to overly criticise your imaginary rivals, as that’ll present you as petty – rely on your own positives in your pitch to convince the interviewer that you should get the position.
BONUS – Ask Questions Back!
It’s no secret that the key to finishing an interview well is to walk in with a few pre-prepared questions to ask the hiring manager when prompted. These should demonstrate your curiosity, prior research and genuine desire to know more about the company and the role. Perhaps more importantly, this interview is an opportunity for you to gauge whether this position in this company would be the right fit for you. Therefore, be sure to maximise this opportunity to answer any questions you still have by the end of your time with the interviewer.
Here are some examples of questions that could provoke interesting, informative answers from the employer:
“What’s your favourite part about working here?”
“What can you tell me about the company’s plans for growth in the future?”
“How would you describe the company culture?”
So, there you have it – an overview of the most common questions that could arise in an interview. If the specific question is not listed above, it is guaranteed to fit into one of those five categories. Prepare to handle questions from each of those angles, be aware of what exactly they want to see from each answer, and you’ll knock it out the park.
Posted by Susannah Hunt on 6 June 2019
Six Benefits of Working Over the Christmas Period
Six Benefits of Working Over the Christmas Period
No annual leave left? Or maybe the high demand in work has meant you’ve been requested to come in? Don’t worry, whatever the reason there are some benefits to working over the Christmas period. Getting Ahead of Work The best part of being one of the few people working this time of year is that you will have the peace and quiet you need to get things done. Catch up on work and get a head start on work for the new year. With the phone not ringing constantly and emails not flooding your inbox, it’s an opportunity to get some headspace to really get ahead of your workload. Getting a Seat on Public Transport For anyone who commutes to work this will really feel like a Christmas miracle. Having your own seat and maybe even a seat for your coat and bag is a really nice perk to working this time of year. Avoid Unappealing Christmas Parties This time of year brings a lot of nights out and they’re not always nights out you’re in favour of. Working gives you the perfect excuse to turn down any unwanted invitations for a Christmas session. Although, if you do want to go, working shouldn’t stop you. Just pace yourself and be sure to stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Christmas Organised If you’re working over Christmas chances are you’ve known about it for a couple weeks or even months, so you’ll be organised well in advance. It’s a great feeling coming up to Christmas knowing you won’t be part of the mad Christmas Eve rush to buy last minute presents. Being Recognised as a Team Player Maybe you were asked to work over Christmas because of workload or because of staff demand. Accepting you have to work and coming in with a smile, will go a long way with your supervisors and colleagues. It might be fun! It’s Christmas and everything this time of year is joyful! Take the time to treat yourself and indulge. Get that Christmas latte or treat yourself to a fancy lunch or a delivery to the office. Whether you will be working or not, Sigmar Recruitment would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and every success in 2020.
Lessons Halloween Can Teach a Job Seeker
Lessons Halloween Can Teach a Job Seeker
Because it’s Halloween we thought we would have a little fun and come up with 5 ways job seekers can learn from this festive season and apply it to their job search. Carve Out a Plan Approach your job search like carving out a pumpkin at Halloween. You need to carve out your plan before you can start applying for jobs. This is the time that you decide exactly what you want to do, the type of company you want to work for, the type of salary you are looking for etc. Once you know what you want, it’s time to get your CV together. Job seekers need to be specific in their applications, so having a plan will definitely improve your application. You can’t just apply for batch of jobs and hope for the best. Know what you want and demonstrate your interest in your application. A hiring manager can always tell when someone applied without any real interest or plan in place. Do Things That Scare You Halloween is a time where we enjoy being scared and job seekers should use this same approach. Looking for a new job is an opportunity to come out of your comfort zone and try something new and that can be scary. Maybe you would like a career change, or work in a new location or just work in a completely different type of company? As a job seeker you have the ability to push yourself to new boundaries so don’t be afraid to be afraid. Sometimes a little fear is a good thing. Trick or Treat Job seeking is kind of like trick or treating. We’re not saying you should trick anyone who doesn’t give you a job but remind yourself of the concept. Don’t be afraid to knock on a few doors to ask for what you want. Kids look for sweets on Halloween and they’re not afraid to ask for it. You should approach your job search like this. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask people for what you’re looking for. Contact some old colleagues or college friends and see if they know of any opportunities. You could even approach HR managers directly on LinkedIn and ask if there are any available positions. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Be Inspired and Have Some Fun! Looking for a new job is not all doom and gloom. Halloween is a great time for creativity and so is job seeking! Get excited about your new venture and explore different options and be inspired by other people working in your field. This is a time for you to shoot for the stars. It may seem scary at first but when you start seeing available jobs that match what you’re looking for and jobs that you match the criteria for, it’s starts to get really exciting! Enjoy it. Enjoy finding new opportunities and discovering what your options are. We hope you take something from these tops this Halloween and Sigmar would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Halloween.
Benefits of Using a Recruitment Agency
Benefits of Using a Recruitment Agency
What is the best job to apply for? Do I have the right experience? Is my CV presentable? How do I prepare for this interview? Job seeking can be daunting and it can be very hard to answer all these questions yourself. The natural inclination for many is to look at job hunting as a numbers game and send your CV to as many companies and vacancies as possible. Surely, by the law of averages, you will get in somewhere, right? This approach is outdated and will extend your job-hunt time significantly while putting you in danger of missing out on that perfect job. Using a reputable recruitment agency offers you dedicated professional assistance to guide you through the process from start to finish while offering a wide variety of benefits; CV Help Recruiters invest their time in you and your CV. Your CV is your first opportunity to make an impression with the decision makers in the company you are applying to. Therefore, it is important to go through it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure your skills and experience are a match to the specific job requirements. Recruiters are well-versed at teasing out relevant information that may correlate to the specific job specifications from your employment history. You will then be advised on how to make your CV stand out from the others, with the aim of securing an interview with your desired company. Relationship with the Company and the Hiring Managers Sigmar Recruitment has established long-standing relationships with large multinationals, SME’s and start-ups across a variety of industries. Our recruiters have a direct line to the HR departments and decision makers in the companies that we hire for. We know when the jobs are coming up, what they are looking for both in terms of specific job requirements and cultural fit. Through liaising with hiring managers, our recruiters are able to ascertain the real requirements for the job, exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. Navigating Recruitment Management Systems Direct applications are becoming a thing of the past. If you have applied direct to a company, we cannot represent you for that company for a period of 6-12 months, under their Recruitment Management Restrictions. This means that an application that you haven’t put any thought into can hold you back from applying to your dream company for several months. Further to this, it is important to note that an application isn’t role specific and Recruitment Management Restrictions could apply even if you simply create a profile on a company website and don’t necessarily apply to any jobs. If you see a role advertised that is of interest – Contact your dedicated Sigmar Recruitment Consultant to see about them submitting an application on your behalf! Feedback A recruiter can provide you with timely feedback at every stage of the process, offering both formal and informal feedback. On the contrary, a direct application can often result in frustration whereby you, being any one of a hundred applicants on that day, apply directly and hear nothing back. Recruiters have a direct line of contact to the hiring manager expediting the process. Recruiters can also forward on your thoughts on the business and interview panellists after the interview, which may be able to put you in an even better light. Interview preparation So, the recruiter has submitted your (now amazing) CV to your dream company, and you have secured an interview… Now what? You will be provided with extensive interview preparation to ensure that you will be fully prepared to wow the interviewer. Over a coffee or a brief meeting at a time that suits you, you will go through mock interviews, be provided with insights on what the companies are looking for, what type of questions they ask and offered guidance on how best to answer them. You will walk into the interview confident and ready to knock ‘em dead! Negotiate on your behalf Negotiating salary and benefits can be unnerving, so why not leave it to the experts? Recruiters spend five days a week negotiating terms, conditions, salaries and rates. Recruiters are well-versed, they know what to ask, how to ask and what is attainable. It’s Free The service that recruitment agencies provide for the candidate is free of charge. The company that hires you will be charged a fee when you start working but this will in not affect you in any respect. If you are looking to move jobs or simply want to see what’s out there contact get in touch with us by email or call. If you are coming from a different background/industry/location pop onto our website: www.sigmarrecruitment.com and reach out to any of our dedicated Recruitment Consultants.
Doing These 10 Things will make you the Best Boss in the World – According to Google
Doing These 10 Things will make you the Best Boss in the World – According to Google
Today, 16th October is officially known as Boss’s Day. It’s a significant day considering we all have a boss or we are a boss, but what we want to know is makes a great one? You can go to great lengths to hire the best team but without a great manager the team will ultimately fail. Google is acutely aware of this, so for the last 10 years they conducted extensive research on this topic under the code name Project Oxygen. The goal? Figure out what makes the perfect manager, so companies like Google could train its leaders to be the best in the worlds. The research has paid off, as over the years Google has seen improvement in employee turnover, satisfaction, and performance. Want to know what make the perfect boss? It all comes down to these 10 behaviours… 1. A Good Coach A great boss allows their employees to solve their own problems. Rather than doing everything themselves, they teach others to do the work so they can be responsible for their own tasks. Taking the time to teach staff and encouraging them to upskill makes for a more empowered staff. A great boss allows their employees grow and guides them as much as they can. 2. Empowers Team and Does Not Micromanage Giving staff the freedom to do their job is key to being a great boss. Employees need to be trusted in order for them to succeed. Robert Gibbs, Chief Human Capital Officer of NASA is an advocate for this. During Robert Gibbs keynote at Talent Summit he explained how NASA’s raison d'être boils down to the flourishment of human kind, giving NASA the ultimate competitive advantage. Robert believes in “the power of presuming positive intent”. Belief goes a long way and sometimes to get the best out of people the best thing a boss can do is to just believe in them. 3. Creates an Inclusive Team Environment, Showing Concern for Success and Well-Being Putting emphasis on building social capital in the workplace is a trait of a great boss. Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer and keynote speaker who understands that social capital takes time, focus and energy, but if the ingredients are right, can bind human capital to achieve success beyond measure. A great boss will know that loyalty, friendship and comradery in the workplace create a shared commitment to success, something we may struggle to replicate in the gig economy. In short, being trusting and trustworthy is the basis of creating a just work culture that inspires success. 4. Is Productive and Results-Oriented The best type of boss will motivate and inspire their team purely by just working hard at their job. If a manager is lazy and their team doesn’t really see them doing much it really just encourages the staff to do the same. Having a boss who is not afraid to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to any given task is the type of leader that inspires their staff. 5. Is A Good Communicator — Listens and Shares Information A great boss shares information from their staff. Having a transparent boss means staff learn more and are encouraged to be transparent themselves. A great boss is a good communicator but an even better listener. 6. Supports Career Development and Discusses Performance A great boss will always encourage their staff to develop, praise them when they do well and constructively criticise when it’s needed. Sir Ken Robinson is a believer in the importance of a culture that gives us the opportunity to engage in creativity and how creativity should be encouraged in our businesses. Humans are born with endless capacities but they need to be adapted in order to become abilities. Sir Ken uses a clever anecdote about learning to play guitar to explain his theory. We are all born with the capacity to play guitar, but we don’t have the ability until we learn to play the instrument. We need to open up our employees to new opportunities to learn and adapt skills and unlock talents they didn’t even know they had. Criticism is also very valuable to employees. A great boss will always praise their staff on doing a good job but will have the capacity to explain in a constructive way when work isn’t at it’s highest standard. This kind of behaviour encourages learning and development which is a key behaviour of a great boss. 7. Has A Clear Vision/Strategy For The Team A great boss had a plan. They know where their team is, where they are headed and what is needed to reach their end goals. A great boss needs to be catalyst for the team/companies vision. When the team loses motivation or drive, the boss needs to be there to remind everyone of the strategy and keep things in motion. 8. Has Key Technical Skills to Help Advise the Team Understanding every staff member’s job is crucial to being a great boss. A great boss will appreciate the work that goes into completing tasks and is on hand with useful advice when needed. If a boss has unrealistic expectations because he/she doesn’t understand their staffs role, employees will only ever feel like they are underdelivering and when they need advice they feel their boss doesn’t quite understand the problems at hand. A boss who has the technical skills will welcome their staff seeking guidance. 9. Collaborates Across Effectively A great manager always sees the big picture. They work for the good of the company as a whole and encourage their teams to do the same. A great leader will promote camaraderie and integration and encourage everyone to come together and work on goals that benefit the company as a whole. 10. Is A Strong Decision Maker A great boss is decisive and not impulsive. They are confident in their knowledge and make decisions that they stick to. Being a leader means being brave in your actions to lead and guide others. You need to be courageousness to lead beyond the odds, stick to your decisions to be a great boss. Google have really hit the nail on the head with these behaviours. If you can promote these behaviours and train your leaders using these 10 points from Google, you’ll build teams that will trust and inspire one another to achieve success beyond measure.