When it’s time for your interview making sure you have answers ready is a good thing. Here are some questions and answers to some interview questions to help you succeed. Take advantage with this interview
When it’s time for your interview making sure you have answers ready is a good thing. Here are some questions and answers to some interview questions to help you succeed. Take advantage with this interview prep we have below.
Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
The Real Question: Will you pretend you’ve never put a foot wrong, or will you do the right thing?
Top-line Tactic: They’re more worried about your integrity than their inventory.
This a common question—and it’s not one you want to be remembered for.
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Some people might not regard “borrowing” a pen as stealing, when strictly speaking it is nothing but stealing, so here the question is being used to obtain insight into your values.
But they’re also asking to see if you think the sun shines out of your filing cabinet, because, of course, almost everyone has stolen a pen from work. Don’t be tempted to fob them off with:
I have once or twice taken a pen from the office in an emergency but I have always returned it the next day or the day after . . .
. . . because the interviewer knows that pen is still on your desk at home, and might challenge you to that effect.
Better to go with something more realistic:
Ha-ha, well, I’d be lying to say I haven’t ever absentmindedly slipped a ballpoint into my jacket pocket, but it usually ends up back on my desk the following day, unless I leave it at home. I haven’t got a spare room full of paperclips and staplers, though, if that’s what you mean.
It’s a question that can draw you into an unnecessary debate on details, so kill the conversation and move on if you can.
Did you enjoy school/college?
The Real Question: You have too little experience in the world of work for us to learn about you, so hopefully your academic experience will give us some insight into your character.
Top-line Tactic: Just as if they were asking about work, be honest but showcase the skills and character traits most relevant to the job.
If you’ve been in the workforce for twenty years, this would truly be an odd question to be asked, but recent grads have far fewer professional experiences and accomplishments to discuss. Employers know that, so to get a sense of your character, skills and preferences they’ll ask about school or college instead.
The venue of your stories and reflection may be academic rather than professional, but the aim of the interviewer is the same. He or she wants to figure out if your personal style and skills will be a good fit for the role. Therefore the same technique applies to answering this question as to a similarly vague query about previous jobs.
If you’re applying for an analyst role that requires you to carefully review data and draw thoughtful conclusions, stress how much you enjoyed the academic side of student life:
What I really loved about being a student was the continuous learning. There were always new challenges to push me to improve and always fresh ideas to get me thinking.
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