By Tim Klepaczyk
Inevitably, interviewers will introduce a few potholes along the way to challenge you. It’s good to be prepared for tough questions.
Why do you want to work for our company?
Remember first to always keep things positive! The company at which you are interviewing may be privately-owned, and you may have had reservations about how decisions at your previous publicly-owned company were influenced by quarterly financial targets, but this is not the time to bring it up. A better answer is to compare the private ownership of the company to a time when you enjoyed working at a privately-held company in the past.
Tell me about a situation where your work was criticized.
A good response to this is to identify a learning situation from early in your career, and describe subsequent experience when you applied what you learned to achieve good results. In this way you turn a tricky question that could cause you to dwell too much on a shortcoming into an opportunity to emphasize a learned strength.
What is your greatest weakness?
If you are unprepared, this can be a particularly troublesome question. Some people like to say things like “I work so hard that it sometimes compromises life/work balance.” I think an answer like that is rather transparently contrived. Instead, I like to answer it by saying that even the greatest jobs have aspects that can be a chore, and I find that most tasks can be reframed in the context of my strengths, giving me the energy to complete it. For example, I’m a “jack-of-all trades” type of person. I thrive on variety, but inevitably there are times when I must focus hard on a task. Fortunately, another one of my strengths is that I am a Learner, and often I find such focused effort to be a learning opportunity.
Tim Klepaczyk is an RF & microwave engineer with over 20 years of experience in applications & sales and product design & validation. He also loves writing.
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