Have you gone above and beyond your job description? Why did you do it?

When you are being asked with this kind of open-ended question, the employer seeks to know how you can market yourself or showcase your skills by placing an edge against the rest of the candidates who are vying for the same position as you. Moreover, your resourcefulness and competitiveness are also being tested.

Go through the list of qualifications that the employer requires for the job and check if you possess most of it, if not all of it. Employers are impressed with competitive individuals who make an effort to prepare themselves in the physical, mental, and emotional aspects before applying for the job.

Know the Company Profile in Depth
It is obviously common sense to study and learn the overview or background of the company you wish to work for. Yet, companies do not expect much from job-seekers when it comes to deeply knowing their potential employers. It is normal for them to interview candidates who barely know a thing about the company profile when asked.

What you can do is to conduct a thorough study of the company background, its products and services, company culture and even its mission and vision. Once the question is thrown at you, your interest and motivation will initially surface in how deep your knowledge is of their profile.

Showcase Your Efforts to Improve Your Skills
If you want to outwit the rest of your job-seeker rivals, let the employer know what you have done to make yourself efficiently capable of the skills that they have listed on the job opening. For example, if they require individuals with good computer knowledge, let them know the training you went through to learn sufficient knowledge to perform your computer-based tasks.

If the company seeks for persons with high typing speed, let them be aware that you have practiced well enough in order to attain that particular requirement. Making them aware of your efforts to prepare before coming to the interview only goes to show that you are highly interested to get the job.

Highlight the Training and Seminars
Attended Normally, employers expect the job-seekers to come to their office and attend the interview just as they are. That is why in their search for the most potential candidate, they either choose the one who is already equipped with the necessary skills or they would opt for the one who is the most highly trainable.

As part of answering this question effectively, identify the training and seminars that you joined as preparation for the said job position. You will make the employer think that you are equipped with the needed job competencies. Share to them what you learned and how you can apply your learning to the job once you will be chosen for the position. Moreover, you can tell them that you enrolled in a continuing education program to help you become more qualified for the job.

-Swagatham Resource Management

What was the most important decision you ever had to make?

An important part of assessing your skills and personal character is to test your behavior towards trying or challenging situations. This is another type of behavioral-based questioning in which your answer is tailored from personal experiences as the interviewer’s basis of your future performance in case they will consider you for the job. Employers would want to guarantee that the potential candidates they choose have good decision-making skills. A person who is able to make sound decisions when prompted with the need to do so is reliable enough to self-supervise without having to consult the immediate superior from time to time regarding decision-making matters.

Highlight a Major Decision or Two
When your interviewer asks this question, the mind starts to sort through a series of experiences in your life that mainly involve decision-making. Most people’s problem is in controlling their train of thoughts. The idea is to limit your answer to only one decision-making experience that you consider as major or important. In addition, that experience has to be a positive one instead of choosing the unfortunate moments you went through. Share a major decision you made which did not only create an impact on you personally but also affected that of the others or a situation in a good way. Personal or work experience will do, as the focus of this question is your ability to make a personal decision out of the situation.

Expound or Elaborate Interviewers are not just content on a simple answer especially if a question such as this requires you to support it with a sharing of experience. After highlighting that major decision from either a personal or professional experience, make it a point to elaborate further on why you have to make such an important choice at that time and how you came up with the decision. But refrain from providing a lengthy explanation; you do not want to bore your interviewers with your overly detailed story. If there is a need to mention certain individuals who have helped you arrive at such decision in one way or another, then do so. Make it clear that you simply heeded their opinions but not to the point of taking their suggested choice for you.

Highlight Personal Learning and Improvement of Skill
Close your short speech with an emphasis that you have greatly learned from individual decision-making and that such experience has honed your ability in making decisions. Give your interviewer the idea that you can be trusted when it comes to making choices such as knowing which task to work on first and which task is less urgent. When you leave this impression that you simply know what do without being told, you have just given yourself an edge over the other candidates. Always wrap up your response in a highly positive manner. You can close it by telling them that you are being frequently consulted by people at work or at home for decisions.

-Swagatham Resource Management

What do you do when someone criticizes you?

Interviewers use your personal character as one of the basis in gauging your work personality. Remember that how you are as a person also reflects how you can be as a working professional. This kind of question tests how well you handle criticisms. Your reaction to criticisms and feedback on your performance tells your level of maturity as a professional.

Criticisms are usually associated with negative comments about an individual’s capacities toward something. But the truth is criticisms are meant to help a person improve on areas that usually do not fall under individual strengths. This is meant with the best of intentions for continuous improvement in both personal and professional aspect. In a corporate setting, it is normal to receive feedback and criticisms for your quality of work and performance.

Keep it Positive and Constructive
One surefire way to impress a potential employer is to answer this question with a positive remark. First off, show that you know how to acknowledge criticisms by responding that you see it as an effective means of self-development. Tell them that you associate criticism with helpful comments or feedback rather than negative remarks about you. You can even mention the words positive and constructive to also describe the way you deal with criticisms from people.

Mention an Example Giving an example or experience is one of the most of effective ways to support a main point. Your interviewer will be interested to know how you honestly dealt with criticism. Since you are applying for a job, quote your experience from a previous work setting. It gives the impression that apart from personal comments, you have the right attitude for the job. You can be viewed as a mature working professional by your potential employer.

In sharing an example or experience, keep it short as always. Provide the gist of your story and maintain an affirmative choice of words. You would not want the interviewer to be asking several follow-up questions after gathering more than enough details from your story.

Highlight Self-Improvement
What every employer wants to find out is how you made use of the criticism to improve on a flaw or weak point. Let them know your action plans or what you did to rectify a negative comment about your performance or your personality. For example, a comment on your communication flaws may be acted upon with drills and practices to improve on diction and pronunciation.

Make it a point to highlight self-improvement after acknowledging weaknesses. Tell them that you appreciate the feedback and that you need it so you can become a better person.

This is how to simply answer a question about criticism. For the entirety of your response, the whole idea must be about taking criticisms with professionalism and positivity. It makes a good gauge in terms of your level of maturity toward work.

-Swagatham Resource Management

Do you seek advice from others when you are in confusion?

Will you evaluate their inputs before you consider their advice?
A question such as this is asked by interviewers with a goal of determining an individual’s preference in terms of who to look up to as their role models especially in decision-making issues. Just as you are required to mention a list of character references on your resume, your interviewer will also be interested to know the people whom you highly regard when it comes to making choices. The people you mention (who can be your mentors) are representations of who you would like to be. You need to choose these individuals well.
Since your answer will be used as a gauge of your qualifications, an intelligent answer with well-supported explanation is sure to strike a good impression from your interviewer.

Build the Person’s Credibility
Since the question asks “Who”, it simply seeks for a specific individual (or you can name a few if you wish) whom you personally perceive as an example in making important decisions. Start your response by naming the person/s and then giving a brief description about the person is in relation to you, what the person does, the individual’s accomplishments, and why this person has created such an impact in your life apart from the aspect of decision-making. In your description, mention if you have personally worked with the person or if he or she is just one of those you constantly interact with apart from the work setting.

Mention the Accomplished or Important Individuals
An effective response to this question is to mention only the accomplished people who have some sort of relation to you whether in the personal or professional aspect. You might want to mention your former boss in your previous employment, or your parents whom you have always relied upon for the best advice, or your closest office colleague who has been your personal advisor when faced with dilemmas.

In your response, it is important to limit only the number of individuals to one or two. Remember that the question focuses on your personal decision making; mentioning quite a few names will only give the impression that you simply place your trust on anybody or anyone who you get to converse with.

Emphasize on Your Decision-Making Ability
The most important point in your response to this question is how you assess the inputs of your mentors. If you want to make an impression, never mention that you are reliant on other people’s decisions for you. It simply denotes that you are not able to stand on your own feet when facing a challenging situation or when a problem arises. The best way to address the follow-up question is to emphasize to your interviewer that you are simply seeking for advice, suggestions, and opinions of trusted people in your life but the bottom line is to make the wise decision yourself. Create the impression that you know how to weigh things based on need and importance.

-Swagatham Resource Management

Tell me about a skill you recently acquired or improved ? How did you do it?

Every employer that seeks for qualified individuals to fill in vacancies in their company has a list of qualifications for a suitable candidate. The field of profession is an essential element for a job position but given the competence of individuals these days in various fields apart from their area of expertise, many employers place huge weight on the skills or competencies of potential candidates.

A good example is the employment practice in a call center industry wherein Business Processing Outsourcing companies are in search of individuals with excellent English speaking skills regardless of the college degrees of job-seekers.

As an active job-seeker, you need to conduct a checklist of your personal competencies before applying for a job. During the job interview, employers will assess your skills, particularly those that are commensurate to the available job position. They only want to make sure that they have hired the right person for the job.

Furthermore, they prefer someone who already possesses the needed skills for the job more than a candidate who still needs to be trained in order to acquire the skill. When asked this type of question in the interview, your key technique is to highlight only the positive aspects of your efforts to improve on your skill, although an honest acknowledgement of your weakness is appreciated by the interviewer.

Acknowledge Your Weak Competencies
If you try to analyze the question, it is some sort of a follow-up to a question that seeks to know your individual weakness. Be quick to admit your lack of competency in a certain skill but refrain from dwelling too much on such weakness. Remember, the question is now geared toward the things you did to improve your skill in order to be qualified for the job.

Keep it Concise
Construct your response in a brief and concise manner when answering the question. By being succinct means getting rid of unnecessary details and emphasizing on the key points instead. In fact, a much better answer is to stick to a single key point and revolve your answer from there. Sharing of experiences may help to support your main point but keep it short and direct to the point. It is still safe to talk less but directly responding to the question than to say a lot of things and incur possible lapses on communication.

Highlight Your Interest to Continually Improve
Aside from stressing on your efforts to enhance on a skill, emphasizing on your constant motivation to become even better also creates an impression to the interviewers. Let them know what you are currently doing and what you continually plan to do to polish on that skill even more. Your employer may just perceive you to be a highly motivated individual who has the passion to strive to become a more effective person and an employee for that matter. You are sure to gain merits and plus points from your potential employer when you wrap up your answer to this question in this manner.

-Swagatham Resource Management