Presented by Kelly Services
Tell me about yourself
Be prepared to talk about yourself within one or two minutes. Be logical. Start anywhere, such as your education or first professional position. The interviewer is trying to evaluate your communication skills and linear thinking. You may score a point or two by describing a major personal attribute.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Know three to five of your key strengths – the ones most compatible with the job opening. Discuss with specific examples. Don’t include your management or interpersonal skills unless you can describe specific examples of good management, or how your relationship skills have been critical to your success. A suggested response may sound like this:
“My main strength is my sense of commitment to tasks. When I am given something, I cannot rest until I complete it. Of course, one’s greatest strength can also be a weakness in that I tend to be a bit of a workaholic at times.”
What do you want to do 5 years from now?
Be realistic! Pie-in-the-sky goals label you as immature. one or two management jumps in 3-5 years is a reasonable goal. If your track record indicates you’re in line for senior management in 10 years, then mention it. If you’ve had a rocky road, be introspective. A suggested answer could be:
“5 years is a long time, I would like to learn more about marketing and the hospitality industry and perhaps be in a position of responsibility in this field.”
Why are you leaving your current job?
This is a very critical question. Don’t bad mouth your previous employer or co-workers or sound too opportunistic. It’s fine to mention major problems, a buy-out or a shutdown. You may want to state that after long personal consideration, your chance to make a contribution is very low or extensive company-wide changes. Answer truthfully but not in a way that is self-damaging. You do not have to make others look bad in order to look good. Suggested answers may be something like these:
“I enjoyed my job but I felt that the company was not able to give me the long term growth I need as their business is not doing that well, which is why I applied for this job” OR “I believe I can do more and I felt that opportunities in my previous company were limited, which is why I applied for this job.”
What can you offer our company? OR Why do you want to join our company?
Sometimes interviewees make the mistake of saying that they want to learn. This offers no value to the prospective employer! Others say that they want to join a particular company because of their interest in a particular field. This does not answer the question as you could join any one of their competitors. Instead say why you have selected their company. For example, you may answer as follows:
“Your company enjoys a high profile and is a market leader, as such I feel that I can make useful contributions toward your company’s growth. By nature, I am a goal-oriented person, as such I feel that I can add to your company’s sales performance.”
One of our biggest problems is… What has been your experience with this? How would you deal with it?
Think on your feet. Ask questions to get more details and break the problem into subsections. It is highly likely that you will have had some experience dealing with the subsections. Answer these and summarise the total. If you can’t answer directly, state how you would go about solving the problem. Be specific and show your organisational and analytical skills. Demonstrate your problem solving and logic skills.
How has your technical ability been important in accomplishing results?
A potential employee needs a strong level of technical competence. Most strong managers and executives have good technical backgrounds. Describe specific examples of your technical abilities, and how you resolved a technical issue.
How would you handle a situation with tight deadlines, low employee morale and inadequate resources?
Your interviewer is looking for strong management skills in managing human resources and creatively sourcing resources. You need to be creative and innovative in describing your toughest management task, even if it doesn’t meet all the criteria. Most situations don’t. Organisational and interpersonal skills, handling pressure and an honest and good response to this question are indicative of effective management skills.
Are you satisfied with your career to date? What would you change if you could?
Be honest. The interviewer wants to know if you’ll be happy. Are you willing to make some sacrifices to get your career on the right track? Your degree of motivation is an important selection factor.
These questions and the selected answers are just a small sample of frequently asked questions at interviews and are only intended to include the appropriate words and phrasing to communicate your answers effectively. If necessary, engage a career coach to assist you in developing your interview skills so that you will portray yourself as an effective and professional potential candidate.

The article is extracted from a publication by Kelly Services’ called “Best Foot Forward”. It is a 52 page guide for job seekers on job search tips. To obtain your very own copy of “Best Foot Forward”, please send an email to [email protected].

Kelly Services is a Fortune 500 company offering human resources solutions that include temporary services, staff leasing, outsourcing, vendor on-site and full time placement. With more than 2500 company owned and operated offices in 26 countries, Kelly provides nearly 800,000 employees annually.

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