Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2 Random Job Interview Questions Tackled pt 1


Note: Article I wrote for JobsDB.com

First, I thought of picking just tough interview questions for this article, but I guess that would be subjective. You can probably give an easy answer to the question, “what will be the best contribution you can give to the company?”, unless you give answers like, “my entire EPF”. Other candidates may be stumped. They might go, “Contributions? I did it in church last week…” and trail off in total confusion.

So, I thought let’s pick up some random questions and deal with it.

1. Question: Tell me about yourself.

After all the intros about yourself in social networking areas like Facebook, blog, website, toilet (graffiti), and suddenly you are stumped not knowing how to answer this. Here’s the deal: they really want to know who you are before they put you next to a cubicle of an employee who probably doesn’t like coffee. If you are a coffee addict, they would most likely not hire you. Of course, why they hired a coffee hater in the first place could be baffling, but that’s the nature of human being you see. Especially the long suffering Human Resource (HR) managers.

What do they want to know?

Qualities that will fit into the organisation, that’s all. So, if in your Facebook you describe yourself as “Lollypop loving person striving for world peace by posting various famous quotes and not crediting it”, then chances are you have to talk more, especially your love for uncredited quotes.

What should be the best answer?

Hey, here’s a chance to brag about yourself, go ahead and boast what you can. But…but don’t be obnoxious. Your ability to clip your nose hair without a clipper will not interest the interviewer…especially so if you want to do a demo. Sure, there are fine human qualities you possess, like your cheery outlook of life and your friendliness or anything that makes you a swell addition to the organisation instead of another anti-social coffee hater.

So, chose and present yourself carefully. If you are a team player, say so. If not, then you have leadership quality and please if you want to reaffirm that skill don’t say you are a big fan of Star Wars, in particular Darth Vader.

Good answer:

“…People always said that I have leadership qualities and true enough I have led many wonderful projects during my student days...”

Worrying answer

“Well…I am a good boy…I help old people, especially my parents at the old folk’s home…”

Answer that will send you to the exit door.

“I read many leadership books that help build my character, including ‘Mein Kampf’”.

2. Question: How can you contribute to the company?

Sure, I kidded about it in the opening paragraph of this article, but look at it again, it says, “What…” HR managers don’t want you to contribute “things” to the company, so don’t offer your preserved grasshoppers collection. It’s what part of you that can best benefit the company, and we are not talking about your kidney either…unless it’s legal to sell one to private enterprises here.

What do they want to know?

Look. They are taking you in, paying you every month with the best ability, and putting you amongst the best they got and you better have something to offer to this team in terms of capability, skills and experience. Your experience in killing domestic lizards using lime paste (this writer excelled in it when he was a kid) can in no way contribute to the team, unless they are pest busters. Even then the method is questionable and your team member may not be comfortable with you alternating the use of lime paste to killing little reptiles and mixing it to chew betel leaf. I am digressing, but you get the picture. Do you? No? Moving on…

What should be the best answer?

Think carefully. What was the part your former employer, or your college lecturers, fellow students or seniors they praised the most? That you have keen eye for numbers? That you are a great critic? Note that great critic here means someone able to come up with constructive criticism, not an obnoxious whiner. Use these positive aspects of yourself and translate them into efforts you can put in to make the current team stronger.

In short, remember the question about yourself? Yeah, rework on it and say that these traits will definitely be your contribution to the company. Instead of fan of Darth Vader, say that you will be part of The Force and that The Force will always be with you. Of course, if you get strange stares from the HR managers when you say that, it’s time to switch your strategy.

Good answer

“…I can bring my experience as a moderator during many debates we had in college and my aptitude for discipline to help with the company’s mission…”

Worrying answer

“Why contribute when I can distribute? I love to rap, ha-ha.”

Answer that will send you to the exit door.

“…I know how to deal with people, especially with my hands…”

Happy job hunting. Keep an eye on our website, www.jobsdb.com.my and don’t forget to check out other articles, upcoming events, etc. While you were reading this, someone else would probably have snatched your dream job. Try again.

Rakesh Kumar

rakeshkumar@jobsdb.com.my

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