Conventional Interviews

Conventional interviews can ranged from very basic questions to advanced questions. Here are some examples:

Tell me about yourself

Note: There are no hard and fast rules about these answers. The answers given here should only be a guide for your own preparation. You will also need to include Qualities and support them with examples fitting for that interview.

Answer:

I’d describe myself as a hardworking and enthusiastic person who not only works well with others, but also takes a lot of pride in completing tasks (both on schedule and at an elite level).

Furthermore, I think the best way for me to describe myself in a word is _____________ (Quality from your research that aligns with the company’s needs).

Over the last___________ years, my work as a(n) ____________ has allowed me to cultivate these qualities through different experiences.

Specifically, I____________ (insert success story from your past that demonstrates you having the quality listed above).

I strongly believe that this experience makes me an ideal candidate for this position and more importantly, will allow me to achieve the goals you have set for the incoming hire for this position.

Why Should We Hire You

Answer:

When I read the job posting for this position, something jumped out to me that made me immediately think I would be among the top candidates for this position.

Yes, I’ve worked and succeeded in many office environments and cultures similar to yours, and, more importantly, had two years of experience in fast-paced industry as an elite level tester.

But what sets me apart from other candidates is not only my ability to balance several complicated tasks, but also my ability to maintain that quality while under the most difficult conditions (which I believe I have demonstrated thoroughly).

Here’s a practical example: In my past position, I was championed as the person to communicate (or have an active dialogue) with the development team because of my background in web development as I understood exactly what they wanted in a bug report, and making this move proved vital when a project deadline was moved up by three months. I improved the bug reporting flow; giving developers more precise data in a clearer form. I also pin-pointed where issues exist in terms of saving the team’s time and the company’s money. 

Also, I receive a significant amount of personal validation from automation testing.

In other words, you should certainly hire me because I am qualified for the position. But more importantly, I will bring a joy and passion to the tasks that other candidates may find mundane. Automated testing is a job I enjoy.

I think it comes natural to me and if given the opportunity, I believe that I will definitely make an essential addition to your team.

Classics like: What’s Your Greatest Weakness

DO’S:

  1. Admit Your Weakness Honestly:

  •     Don’t try and outsmart the Hiring Manager; be as honest as honest could possibly be.

   2. But Demonstrate How You Conquered:

  •     It’s okay to admit a weakness if you demonstrate the steps you’ve gone through to correct it.

  •     Use a Success Story from your past to show how you conquered your weakness.

   3. Be Ready For a Follow Up Question:

  •    This question can often be followed up with a question like “How can I be sure your weakness won’t be a detriment to my company?”

  •    You need to be prepared for any follow-up question to be thrown at you.

 

DON’TS:

  1. Think You’re Perfect:

  •   “I don’t really have any weaknesses,” is not an acceptable response. This kind of response will get you crossed off the list immediately.

   2. Use a Strength As Weakness:

  • “I work too hard,” “I’m a perfectionist,” and other similar “weaknesses” are also not acceptable.

   3. Choose a Core Competency:

  •   As we said in the “Don’ts” section, you need to be honest. But be careful not to choose a weakness that is important to the job    you are applying for. For example: A “core competency”. Also, don’t say you are bad at typing if you are applying to be an         administrator).

   4. Place the Blame:

  •   Blaming your old boss or another co-worker for your weakness is a sure-fire way to get a pass” from the hiring manager. Own    it!

If Your Weakness Is: Working In Groups

Answer:

Coming from the computer science industry, I’ve grown accustomed to working long hours on my own. I have little or no need to work in a group dynamic. For this reason, working effectively in a group setting has been really challenging for me. Since there are so many companies who rely on group work for problem solving and completing tasks, I have recognized the need for myself to improve in this area. Hence, I started by making an effort to spend more time socially with my colleagues at my specific point of duty.

This was something I had never done in the past. During this period, I communicated effectively with them that group work was something I struggled with in the past. I also asked that they offer advice and tips where necessary. Finally, I focused on keeping an open mind throughout the process and made sure the intensity of my energy was fully placed on how best I could utilise my skills for the betterment of the group.

This was one strategy that allowed me to become a much better communicator. More importantly, it has also given me the experience necessary to better understand how to succeed in a “group dynamic”.

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job

Good Reasons

  1. I wanted a new challenge

  2. I decided to go back to school

  3. My family relocated to a city/state/country

  4. My job was outsourced

  5. I didn’t receive enough hours

  6. I was suffering from an illness

  7. I was looking for a higher-paying opportunity

  8. I wanted to reduce the length of my commute

  9. I needed to stay home to help raise my family

  10. I wanted to increase/reduce my workload (I wanted to work part/full time)

ANSWERS

Scenario 1 – You Didn’t Enjoy the Work

At the end of the day, I was proud to be an employee at __________ and I thoroughly enjoyed everybody on my team, including my boss. However, at a particular point during my time working there, I realised that I was not passionate about the type of work I was doing. Specifically, I want to be _______ which is why I am so excited about the opportunity to interview with this company. I strongly believe that my passion for ________ will complement this position well and grant me the opportunity to grow within your company on the long term.

Scenario 2 – You Needed a Change

The major reason I left my last position is that I had accomplished everything I needed to within the spheres of that role, and felt that I needed to be challenged. Prior to the time I made my decision, I had approached my boss and extensively discussed how I could grow and take on more within the company, but we both came to a conclusion that the size and budget of the company would not allow me to grow any further.

After ____ years of hard work and dedication to my role, my boss and I could agree on the fact that a new challenge would be the best thing for me. This is the reason for which I applied to this position with your company, and I’m really excited to use my knowledge and expertise to tackle the challenges that lie ahead; alongside the doubtless benefits of growing.

Scenario 3 – You Need More Money

“I had been in my last position for over __ years, and over that time, my personal situation changed quite dramatically. This situation required me to earn a more substantial living. Unfortunately, the budget within which I worked was limited; given the positions that would allow me to increase my earnings. Ultimately, I must attest to the fact that I loved the work I was doing, but there was a great need for me to explore opportunities that would help me to better support myself and my family. Having researched your company and this role thoroughly, one thing that drew my attention was the similarity between the responsibilities that come with this position as compared to my last. I was also attracted to the compensation package and the added opportunity for advancement that you offer.”

Scenario 4 – You Didn’t Get Along With Your Boss

In my opinion, the most essential ingredient about working with any team is a great chemistry with other members of the team.  While the elite chemistry I had successfully established with several members of my team is undeniable, I didn’t feel that the chemistry my boss and I had achieved was at a level; high enough for us to both succeed at work to our full potential. However, I must say, both of us were more than competent in our given roles. Knowing this, I hopefully and excitedly look forward to the possibility of meeting my potential boss in the nearest future, and wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to develop long-lasting chemistry with her/him; whilst moving forward.

Scenario 5 – You Were Fired

I walked with all the confidence I had into the interview for my last position; having very clear sense of what the responsibilities for the role were, and I also felt confident that my skill set was adequate enough to execute my duties at an invariably high level. As time passed and the nature of the work for this position began to change, it was clear that my job now required skills that were beyond my capabilities (perhaps suited more to someone at a senior level) as opposed to the entry level position I secured. For this reason, the company made a decision to terminate my contract; in a bid to hire an individual more suited to the experience level required.

This experience has left me with the lesson to be more vigilant in asking questions pertaining to the realistic requirements of the position in which I am serving. I now know the importance of fully understanding the requirement of my position in the long term (as opposed to just the short term).

Having said all these, I have a few questions for you.

Would this be an appropriate time to go on with questions as regards my role?

OTHER QUESTIONS

Why Do You Want To Work Here?

Answer:

“I have to be honest here. The reputation your company has (as not only a fair employer, but a leader in workplace education) has played a huge part in my decision making process. Any time I apply for a job, I ask myself two questions:

  • Would I be able to perform at my absolute best for every single day I spend in this organisation?

  • Would I be able to improve in terms of my professional expertise under this organisation?”

 

“Your company has fully satisfied and given the best answers to these questions of mine. I am an ardent believer in rewarding hard work and dedication. Hence, the idea that I can take a job with a company that will continue to push me to become even more than I am right now is incredibly exciting.”

NOTES

Nicely played there! This answer is great because again it shows that you’ve done your research. It also demonstrates that you’re in it for the long haul but and the fact that you’re not content with staying at one level. A good hiring manager wants to hire employees who are not only dedicated to the work they do, but ones who are constantly seeking ways to improve themselves and on the overall, improve the company!

Why Do You Want This Job?

“With a firm desire to be a part of a company that is in its infancy, my plan is to be able to help build the company from the ground up and be a part of its history. Knowing that your firm is currently only a few months old and as you said, has only a handful of employees, I am sure that my personality type would be complimentary to the culture that you have already put in place. Similarly, I love the plan that you’ve laid out for career advancement within your organization because it’s a plan that will afford me the opportunity to create actionable goals for both my short and long term future. My plan includes using my skills as an automation or software testing expert to help grow this organization’s reputation into the most well respected software company in the industry; carving out a niche for it.”

NOTES

This answer works very well. This is true for the fact that it does two very important things:

  • It identifies an element of the company’s culture that is appealing to the applicant (referencing the size of the company; which shows an awareness of the culture that will be in place and also acknowledges that the applicant has the personality to succeed in that environment) and

  • More importantly, it demonstrates a quality that the applicant has which will directly add value to the company (being able to test automate, which was clearly a requirement for this position).

What is your five year plan?

Answer:

“I am certain that the next five years are going to bring huge changes in technology and advancements in science and I want to be a part of those changes. I’d love to have increased responsibilities; ones that also bring opportunities to use my talents and also learn new skills. Within five years, I’d really like to be able move into a supervisor position. Honestly, I’d like to see ideas that I’ve helped conceptualize and those I’ve shaped to become a reality. I sincerely hope that my time spent and dedicated to whatever I am doing is considered valuable and that my desire to continually improve and succeed is encouraged. I would like to grow along with the company in which I’m working. In summary, I look forward to not just a job, but a long and satisfying career.”

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