Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interview Questions - Part 3

“What are your hobbies?”

Sample Answer(s)

I have run a successful film club for the last 3 years. I started it as a way to meet new people who share my love of movies. We now have more than a hundred members and a waiting list to join. It’s been a terrific excuse to socialize with people I would not otherwise have met. I also enjoy working with other organizations such as distributors, film clubs and local film festivals to show interesting and foreign films that would otherwise have been missed by the local multiplexes.

Advice from the recruitment consultant

This may seem an identical question to What do you do in your spare time? However there is a slight distinction. Specifically: a hobby is a specific activity or pastime in which you participate regularly. Listening to music or watching TV are not hobbies, merely things you do.

Individuals with hobbies, particular an unusual one, are regarded as diverse and well-rounded with a healthy outlook on life. These are attractive personal traits valued by many modern employers. Hobbies that can also demonstrate a business or personal development benefit are of most value.

“How do you handle pressure?”

Sample Answer(s)

I’m the type of person who genuinely revels when under pressure. I enjoy the challenge and the adrenalin rush when the chips are down and a big effort is required. Through good management and work practices I try to avoid a situation becoming pressurized, however when I am under pressure I’m always confident that I can complete the job successfully.

Advice from the recruitment consultant

This may seem similar to the question: How do you handle stress?. There is a subtle difference: Stress is a difficulty or strain felt from within. Pressure is a strong external influence. We may not all feel stressful, but pressure is an expectation in many modern jobs. Pressure could come from your customers, your boss, or even your colleagues.

Answering this question in the negative, e.g. I’m never under pressure may suggest that you avoid pressure and the responsibility that if often entails. It also tells the interviewer that your reactions, if pressure is applied, are unknown even by yourself.

“I’m worried about your lack of _____ experience.”

Sample Answer(s)

I don’t feel you’ve anything to worry about. While I’ve only been a designated team leader for one year, I’ve spent eighteen months as the most experienced member of the team and in many situations I effectively led the team. I very much enjoy team management and am confident in my own abilities.

Advice from the recruitment consultant

The interviewer is challenging you. Don’t worry. In the hands of a competent interviewee, this is an opportunity to shine. A good approach to answering this question is to politely disagree with the interviewer, show how you do have the experience required, and then finish with a statement showing how hungry you are to gain more experience.

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