Everybody who wants to get a job goes through the often dreaded job interview stage. We’ve all been there; sat with sweating hands and dry throats in cold offices, trying to sell what we can offer. Some people get so nervous that they struggle to provide a coherent answer to even the most simple questions. What we need to remember is that the job of the Human Resources (HR) department is to find out if we will be the best fit for the job and for the company. They’re not to be feared – they want to help the right person, who is the best fit for the role to join the company.
Tell me about yourself
Depending on what you’ve put on your resumé, this is most likely the first foray of an HR Associate in finding out your personal background and also acts as a bit of an icebreaker. Where you live, if you’re willing to relocate, your home life and a brief overview of your qualifications and professional experience. If you are applying for a job abroad and you mention that you have a toddler, you might be asked if that might constitute a problem for you – especially if they are not offering a family relocation with the contract. One good tip is to show some personality – make them remember you.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
For newbies right out of college, they might instead be asked what their favorite and least favorite subjects are. For more avant-garde HR associates, you might be asked what you would like to improve in yourself. To answer this, think about the job that you are applying for. What are the traits you need to succeed? As for weaknesses, be honest to a degree and try to put a positive spin on a perceived weakness, “I’m very critical of my own performance in the workplace and always feel I could have done more, however I’ve managed to overcome this by now ensuring that I do celebrate my achievements which keeps me moving forward in a positive way.” The most important thing when discussing your strengths and weaknesses is not to lie under any circumstances and make bold claims about skills that you don’t have – you’ll only get found out in the long run. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses as they are what makes you, you.
Why do you think we should hire you?
There are many variations to this question including: what can you contribute to the company? Essentially, HR is trying to find out if you know what the job requires and what skills are needed to do it. If you’re applying to become a nurse in the GCC region, you can mention your specializations and your hospital experience, as well as your ability to adapt to a multicultural workplace and any relevant language skills. HR wants to know as well if there is a disconnect between your expectations of what the job entails vis-a-vis what the job actually is.
Why did you leave your previous company?
This is a test of your mettle. If you left in a particularly acrimonious way, you don’t need to elaborate all the bitterness of the experience, this won’t reflect well on you. You can be short and sweet about the details. This of course, also depends on the needs of the company. My friend replied, “Do you want the sugar-coated version or the truth?” She was applying as a Loan Collections Agent and the company needed somebody with a strong personality. She got hired.
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