I recently came across an article on Forbes online that offered advice for answering the 10 toughest interview questions. It turned out that the answers were a follow-up to an earlier post, “Why Are Manholes Round? The 10 Toughest Interview Questions.” Together, these two sites offer valuable insight into what interviewers are looking for.
For example, the question “Tell me one thing you would change about your last job” can be a test to see if you’re the kind of person who just likes to complain or who takes action to improve a less-than-ideal situation.
“Explain a database to your eight-year-old nephew” (substitute any other relevant technical word for “database”) will reveal whether you really understand the industry you’re claiming to be a good match for.
“What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?” enables you to show that you’re creative and gutsy—and that, if your ideas don’t pan out, you’re resilient.
And the number one interview mistake?*
According to Jessica Liebman, Managing Editor of the business-news site Business Insider, it isn’t wearing the wrong clothes, being late, having a limp handshake, or opening the interview by asking if you’ll get a free iPad.
It’s an action (or nonaction) that takes place after the interview—namely, failing to send a thank-you message. As Liebman says, even a brief email of thanks helps seal a positive impression, whereas no message indicates that “you don’t want the job” or “you’re disorganized and forgot about following up.”
Have you found other interview-advice sites that you swear by? If so, please share them.
*Contributed by Marie Flatley.