Answering 15 Common Job Interview Questions – An Executive Recruiter’s Advice

by Meg Guiseppi

If you’re job-hunting and job interviews are looming, you’ve probably done some research on what kinds of questions you’ll be asked.

If you have no idea what you may be asked, and expect to nail interviews with zero preparation, you may be in for some very uncomfortable and awkward conversations, combined with that sinking feeling afterwards that you didn’t come across well at all.

You need to be prepared, as best you can, for anything they may ask you. If something comes at you from left field – a question you’ve never heard anyone ask in an interview – rely on telling a short career success story.

In your interview prep work, one important exercise is going back to the CARs (Challenge – Action – Results) strategy you should have used to develop content for your resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc, around the valuable contributions you’ve made to current and past employers . . . the things you’ve done for them that boosted revenue, streamlined operations, increased profit margin, improved team performance, etc.

Certain questions and conversation prompts are inevitable in job interviews and, even if you haven’t researched what these are, you can probably guess:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

In your research, you’ll probably come across these common questions, but you may not come across sound advice for how to answer them.

An Executive Recruiter’s Advice on Answering 15 Common Job Interview Questions

Recruiter Jeff Lipschultz is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. He’s also Job-Hunt.org’s Working with Recruiters Expert.

His article, Smart Answers to 15 Common Interview Questions, is one of the best and most helpful I’ve seen for how to prepare the best possible answers.

Jeff advises that it’s really all about differentiating yourself and the value you offer.

How do you know what differentiates you from competing candidates? Do the personal branding work to identify the unique set of qualities and qualifications you possess that no one else does.

Along with the 3 questions I noted above, Jeff zeroes in on how to handle these:  … see the questions, the answers, and the complete ExecutiveCareerBrand article

Google Jobs – The New Sheriff in Town

If you follow the recruiting space, you likely would agree that three trends have dominated the recruitment marketing landscape in the past five to 10 years.

LinkedIn has become the candidate database of choice for recruiters, Glassdoor has forced HR and recruiting leaders to acknowledge the importance of company reputation via aggregation of anonymous ratings, and Indeed has parlayed the power of jobs SEO/search into a dominant business model.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Those market positions/origins converge as each of those recruitment-marketing vendors has sought to monetize their business model.

Translation: LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed all sell job postings as a primary driver of revenue. Some have found that embedding job postings in bundled offerings is the only way to fully monetize the features that made them famous (LinkedIn, Glassdoor), and one has fully redefined what a job posting is by owning candidate search and making you pay for preferred placement to access candidate attention (Indeed).

But each of the business models is reliant on and subject to one important behavioral trend: Candidates aren’t using job boards as a starting point for job search, they’re just typing the name of a company in a web browser (or conducting a search like “jobs in 30328”), and away they go.

That reality built Indeed into the powerhouse it is today. But there’s a new sheriff in town — Google for Jobs.

Google for Jobs can be described as a new search results feature when you use Google for search. The feature is simple: For searches with “clear intent” (e.g., “head of HR jobs in Chicago” or “entry-level jobs in Boise”), Google shows a formatted preview of job listings scraped from various sources under a generic tag, “jobs.”

Google for Jobs currently includes job postings from sources like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Glassdoor, but also job postings hosted on a company’s own website — if the bots like the formatting of your careers site.

Google for Jobs doesn’t include listings for Indeed. And that should make you blink as an HR/talent/recruiting leader.

Read the rest of the Workforce article

5 culture fit questions you should ask before taking a job

Jon Simmons

Ever hear the term “office family?” You’re about to join one, so you’d better find out if you’re going to love them—or want to leave them.

You eat with your coworkers, spend early mornings and late nights together, celebrate, gossip— even argue sometimes. If you’re not family, you’re basically roommates, right? And just like you wouldn’t want to share space with someone who cranks death metal until 2am when you’re a light sleeper, you don’t’ want to work with people who aren’t on your wavelength either—not if you can help it.

No one can give you a crystal ball to predict your future happiness at a particular company, and most employees you meet during the interview process will be on their best behavior, but there are some ways to get a sense of what the people, the work-life-balance and the day-to-day will be like at your new home away from home.

We spoke with career experts and hiring managers to find out some of the best questions you should ask during the interview process in order to get a sense of the work culture you’ll be walking into. It’s the kind of research that could make the difference between loving—and loathing—what you do from 9 to 5.

1. “Does the company or job description sound like me?”

This first question isn’t one that you ask during the interview, but one you should ask yourself during your interview prep. As you do your research and find out as much about the company as possible—including reading employee reviews—read what the company has to say for itself, either on the company’s website, or their company page on Kununu.

Check out the job description too. Some are written in a way that makes you say “Yes, that’s me!,” but other times, you could read a job description and just not feel it. If you’re a bonafide introvert and the description says “Are you a dynamic go-getter who loves meeting hundreds of new people every day?” you might want to skip that one.  Don’t just rely on your own instincts, though, says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics, a provider of employee feedback and performance improvement solutions based in Exton, Pennsylvania. “Ask a friend or trusted partner, ‘Does this describe me?’”

3. “What are your favorite things about working here?”

This question plays into people’s pride of their company, which can be strategic when interviewing. If someone can answer quickly with things they love, it shows they’ve got genuine love for their job (or at least strong like).

Similarly, it’s actually a good idea to ask the opposite of this question, too: “If you could change two things about the company, what topics would you tackle?” recommends Leigh Steere, co-founder, Managing People Better in Boulder, Colorado.

But only ask this question if you’ve asked about that person’s favorite aspects of working at the company—that way it’s a natural counterpart and not taken out of context.

See all 5 questions and the complete Monster article

LinkedIn is Not the Ultimate Recruiting Site, Twitter is

Twitter serves myriad purposes for millions of people. It’s provided space for brand campaigns, event organizations, personal rants, and every other attention-seeking tactic imaginable since 2006. Though many people use it for professional connections, some view it unprofessional at times — certainly not as “respectable” as LinkedIn for branding.

So what makes Twitter such a uniquely useful resource for job seekers (and posters)?

What Twitter has that LinkedIn doesn’t:

The most obvious advantage Twitter holds over LinkedIn is its massive number of constantly active users. Although LinkedIn is currently the top social network favored by recruiters, most of its users are passive candidates, 60% of whom don’t log in more than once a day. (The only two job offers I’ve ever gotten on LinkedIn came from headhunters outside my desired career field, while I was already happily employed.)

Active tweeters, by contrast, are much more likely to be “always on,” ready to catch the latest news. If LinkedIn is a library, Twitter is Grand Central Station at rush hour. This makes it easier for tweeters to get lost in the shuffle, but it also means they have a huge potential audience.

Because so many more people are likely to tweet frequently (and without a brain-to-fingers filter) than to update their LinkedIn statuses, Twitter is a better place for building a brand voice. With the famous 140-character limit, you get very good at expressing your viewpoint concisely, making your account easier to differentiate from others.

Recruiters want to know what kind of personality they’re dealing with when they consider someone for a position. LinkedIn may tell them what you can do, but Twitter will tell them who you are. (Note: this only works if you tweet like you talk in real life. If your online persona is spicy and fearless, but you have trouble meeting people’s eyes in face-to-face conversation, the dishonesty of your Twitter voice will only hurt you in your job search.)

Not only do your tweets accomplish this; your bio is another important resource. Bios are one of the first things people check when they consider following someone new, so there’s no excuse not to make yours awesome. People tend to be more creative with their Twitter bios than they are with their “career objective” lines on LinkedIn. Which one do you think tells recruiters more of what they want to know?

It’s easier to follow people who interest you on Twitter than it is on LinkedIn, because each social network has its own unspoken protocol. Part of Twitter is the understanding that random follows and unfollows just come with the territory. Sending a “connect” request on LinkedIn is a slightly more loaded act if you don’t already know the person (or have a mutual connection). The recipient of your invitation may wonder what you want from him if he’s never even heard of you before. Plus, Twitter doesn’t notify people when you view their profiles, like LinkedIn does, so that minor awkward factor is gone.

How you can optimize your profile to get a job:  find out how to optimize and the complete UndercoverRecruiter article

Seven ways to tell if your job interview went well

by Lee Boyce

You step out of the job interview, take a deep breath and relax on your journey home after what can be a hugely stressful experience – especially if you really, really want the role.

But then the worry quickly beds in. Did I say the right things? Was the potential employer impressed? Should I chase up the recruitment agent or HR after not hearing anything after a few hours?

It can be hard to gauge just how well an interview has gone – and not much you can do to influence the employer once you step out of the interview.

As part of our Interview Cheat Series, we explore the key signals that show the interview has gone well.

4. Were future projects mentioned?

How can you tell if your working relationship has a future? The interviewer would probably mention to you where it’s going.

If they talked about how they would use your expertise into their future projects, plans, and developments and brought in other members of the team to discuss, it is likely you are a top contender for the role.

Not only does it show that they can see you adding value by working there, it also means you made a good enough impression to actually last, according to Reed.

5. Did you meet the team?

An invitation to meet the team is essentially a colleague trial run to show if you would fit in well with the characters already bedded into the firm.

It also means you have probably impressed in the interview and the recruiter is keen to see how you interact with the team before they make a final decision.

The advice here is to to keep impressing by staying polite and friendly with everyone you meet.

It is also the perfect opportunity for you to get a feel of the working environment.

Something as simple as a tour of the office or a chat with your potential colleagues can often be enough to figure out if a workplace is really right for you – and again shows the interviewer is probably keen for you to start.

Google launches its AI-powered jobs search engine

Looking for a new job is getting easier. Google today launched a new jobs search feature right on its search result pages that lets you search for jobs across virtually all of the major online job boards like LinkedIn, Monster, WayUp, DirectEmployers, CareerBuilder and Facebook and others. Google will also include job listings its finds on a company’s homepage.

The idea here is to give job seekers an easy way to see which jobs are available without having to go to multiple sites only to find duplicate postings and lots of irrelevant jobs.

With this new feature, is now available in English on desktop and mobile, all you have to type in is a query like “jobs near me,” “writing jobs” or something along those lines and the search result page will show you the new job search widget that lets you see a broad range of jobs. From there, you can further refine your query to only include full-time positions, for example. When you click through to get more information about a specific job, you also get to see Glassdoor and Indeed ratings for a company.  Read the full Tech Crunch article for more info.