Tag Archives: Job interview

Prepare for the How Colleagues Describe You Job Interview Question

Your physical reaction to this question may reveal more to the interviewer than your words. Don’t wince, even if the question brings to mind the painful fact that not all of your colleagues describe you in positive terms.

Remember Why They Asked How Colleagues Describe You

How colleagues describe you

So How DO Colleagues Describe you?

When I needed to hire professional staff, I usually looked forward to interviewing candidates for the position, but I didn’t need to do that more than twice a year, It was a nice change from organizational politics.

But not many employers schedule interviews because that’s their favorite way to spend a day. So focus your answer on the same thing they are. Provide them with information relevant to the hiring decision.

If you are being interviewed by HR, they want two things. Eliminate candidates from the pile (think American Idol) and avoid making a costly mistake.

So act accordingly. Reassure them (with proof) that hiring you would not bring any unpleasant surprises, and give them reasons to keep you at the top of the pile and eliminate someone else.

Thinking on your feet won’t give you the outcome you want! Prepare this answer long before you need one. While you still have a job-get honest feedback from colleagues and supervisors.

How Colleagues Describe You Signals Whether You’ll Fit in Here!

Everyone in the room, especially if a few of your future colleagues are among the interviewers, is wondering how you will fit into their team.

Here are a few things they are wondering about. Anticipate each one and address it at some point during the interview.

  1. How do you consistently participate in projects and responsibilities in your department?
  2. Do you share the credit?
  3. Prospective colleagues are worried about your work ethic.
  4. When you come to a new team, it’s best to be more willing to learn than to teach.
  5. Will you be a positive force on the team? They probably already have more than enough griping.

Believe me, you don’t want to be reconstructing this answer the night before an interview!

A few suggestions as you prepare:

  • Nothing better than a direct quote from a former colleague or supervisor. Hopefully you’ll have several quotes to choose from.
  • Don’t be content with an easy superficial answer to any question.
  • No matter how similar job titles and postings may be, they are not identical.
  • Can you explain why they have chosen particular attributes when they describe you?
  • A brief story strengthens your description.
  • Without being cocky, show confidence that they will describe you the same way once you become part of the team.

Check out the Slideshare presentation designed to help you prepare for the “How Colleagues Describe You” interview question.


This presentation is the eighth in a series of fifty, each one providing valuable guidance on preparing effective responses to popular job interview questions. Subscribe today to receive an alert when new content becomes available.

Prepare for the Greatest Achievement Interview Question

Telling about any achievement leaves you feeling good but careful planning could do so much more!

Greatest achievement interview question

What is Your Greatest Achievement

To leave the interviewer with a positive impression they can’t forget, become effective at telling a story.

An outstanding story sets you apart from every other applicant and keeps you there.

Hopefully you have several achievement stories to choose from, but relevance is vital.

Relevant here is your need to understand what the interviewer is really trying to achieve in asking the greatest achievement interview question. What doubt are they trying to reduce? Continue reading

Prepare for Name a Weakness Job Interview Question

Don’t be tripped up when you don’t expect to be asked to “Name a Weakness”. Prepare a thoughtful answer that meets the interviewer’s need for information without blurting out a hasty answer.

This question can be very stressful if you are not expecting it. But the preparation we’ll describe can actually make you welcome the question.

I’ll point out a few things to avoid and direct you to some valuable resources that can help you understand your weaknesses in a new light.

What You Shouldn’t do when asked to “Name a Weakness”

Are you tempted to say “I’m Just too conscientious and dependable”? In the past, job seekers were encouraged  to reframe a virtue as a weakness by claiming to have it in excess. If it ever worked, today it’s likely to be seen for what it is.

Assume your interviewer is too sophisticated to accept that strategy. They will write something down on the paper, but you won’t like it.

prepare for the name a weakness job interview question

name a weakness – wisely – without revealing too much

As tempting as it may be to suggest you don’t have any weaknesses, all that’s going to do is leave a blank spot on the page where the interviewer intended to make notes.

Your objective is to dispel the interviewer’s concern that you have a significant weakness that will show up later and sabotage your success. It’s costly to hire staff and everyone wants to avoid hiring mistakes. If your answer reassures them, it has done its job.

The interviewer knows that we all have weaknesses. As we’ll see in a moment, every personality type has strengths along with characteristics that can be weaknesses in some environments. Acknowledge that simple fact and relax. Continue reading

Prepare for the Most Valuable Skill Job Interview Question

Unprepared, “off the cuff” answering guarantees you’ll choose a skill that’s not the most valuable for this position, this firm, at this time, and you won’t communicate it clearly.

That’s why this post focuses on knowing your own skills, what the employer needs and communicating that clearly and succinctly.

Do You Know Your Most Valuable Skill?

Can You Name Your Most Valuable skill?

Can You Name Your Most Valuable skill?

How accurate is your self-assessment?

Is it even current?

Have you grown over the past year? In your current position?

Today’s highly-competitive employment marketplace demands a serious commitment to gathering facts about yourself.

Don’t be surprised if you encounter internal resistance as you undertake this project. You may even doubt that you have any skills that the average person on the street doesn’t perform at least as well as you. Continue reading

“How Your Work Experience Prepared You For This Position” Job Interview Question

Work Experience Prepared You For This position

Work Experience Prepared You For This Position

When an interviewer asks you “how your work experience prepared you for this position”, it’s not a vague question.

Be specific and make a clear connection between a relevant past experience and something you know about this job.

Unless the new job is identical to the last, don’t make this up on the spot.

The more unlike your last job this one is, the more challenging this question will be, the more likely it will be asked and the more important a great response will be.

Tell a Great story For a Memorable Answer

If any interview question calls for a story, this one does. But not just any hastily-formed story. A story that connects, that you can’t wait to share with your prospective employer. Continue reading

How You’ll Contribute to our Success Interview Question

When the interviewer asks “how will you contribute to our success”, bring together your story and what you have learned about this employer and this position.

 What Does the Employer Think will “Contribute to Our Success?

contribute to our success

Will You Contribute to Our Success?

You’re going to need a clear idea of what the company believes drives their success.

Unless you’re applying to be the president, start with what they’ve already stated to be the principal driver of the company’s success.

You can find that out in publicly available materials. If the company is publicly traded, The annual report is a good place to start.

For broad statements about the company’s plans, vision, mission, read the president’s letter to shareholders.

Look for clear, simple statements that you can use in your interview. Work your way through the rest of the annual report looking for relevant statements.

Check the company’s name in the news. You don’t want to walk into the interview oblivious to a major announcement. If the interviewer refers to something that was announced yesterday, you don’t want to act puzzled.

Frame your own story to “Contribute to our Success”

Now connect your history of achievements to their success drivers. Remember, they asked you how you will contribute to their success. The best way to answer that is telling them how you contributed to your previous employers’ success. Continue reading

Research the Employer Before the Interview

When you don’t research the employer before the interview, your superficial research downgrades your answers to every question, disappoints prospective employers and shortchanges you. Take the time, leave your comfort zone, and learn everything you can.

As John headed back to his car after a grueling interview, he was elated. Always optimistic, he usually thought it had gone very well. The panel of interviewers seemed to like his responses to their questions, and he had a good feeling about his chances.

Finally, it was coming together for John. He was proud of the fact that he had taught himself the ins and outs of the plant manager role with a small town manufacturer before it was sold a year ago. Now he felt ready for a big break, bringing his skills and knowledge to a national firm. This position brought a higher salary, opportunities for promotion and improved benefits, just in time for the baby coming in a couple of months.

Thorough Research Before the Job Interview is essential

Research Before Interviews

Back inside, Sherman was puzzled. Something was lacking in John’s answers. John undoubtedly had solved some challenging problems with a shoestring budget. But it was harder to visualize him working in the department. His stories placed him in an environment entirely unlike this one. No more walking into the president’s office and demanding immediate approval for new equipment. If he was hired, could John adjust?

John is oblivious. The very idea that his limited knowledge of even basic differences between his former employer and this new one could undermine his credibility would never occur to him.

For that reason, John didn’t sell himself as effectively as he might have.

Good research distinguishes you from less prepared candidates

The first time I was asked what I had done to prepare for an interview, I was startled by the question. During my academic career, that would never be asked. The truth was, I had done very little to learn about the organization. It simply never occurred to me that I was expected to research the employer before the interview! Frankly, that sounded like a lot of unnecessary work.

The power of thorough, in-depth research to distinguish you from the other applicants, and to overcome biases cannot be overstated. There would have been concerns about John’s suitability just from looking at his resume, but careful preparation of responses that were designed to suit the actual workplace of the prospective employer would have reassured the interview panel.

Possibly even if John did know that he needed to adapt his answers for this specific company, he might have dismissed the idea of spending that much time in preparation for one interview. So the payoff needs to be high. Continue reading

Prepare for “How did you prepare for this interview” Job Interview Question

Kill the interview or boost your hiring prospects right here and now. Interviewers can tell when you haven’t prepared. That’s deadly for positions above entry-level.

It’s typically asked right after “Tell Me About Yourself”. Last post, I talked about how powerfully you can impact the interviewer’s perception of you as a candidate. With this question, the prospective employer continues to size you up.

Read on to deepen your understanding of the “how did you prepare for this interview” job interview question.

A Most Revealing Question: How Did You Prepare for this Interview?

Did you take this interview seriously? Do you prepare at all for important assignments? What does it look like when you really prepare?

Many applicants, particularly above the entry-level positions, have rehearsed answers for other questions. You might take this one lightly, guessing (wrongly) that there wouldn’t be much payoff if you you thoroughly “prepare for this interview”.

What Does The Employer Want/Need to Hear?

They want to know what you’ve learned about the company, even if they don’t specifically say that. Show them your findings that aren’t available just by looking at the company’s website or the first page of Google. The amount of effort you put in and the savvy that you demonstrate by your research approach convey much. Continue reading

Prepare for the “Tell Me About Yourself” Job Interview Question

Back up a great first impression with a solid answer to the first job interview question, “tell me about yourself”.  Meet the interviewer’s need for info your resume didn’t nail. Let them visualize you adding real value and fitting in the first morning!

 “Tell Me About Yourself” Is Not An Icebreaker!

For experienced interviewers, it is a very purposeful job interview question and your response matters to them and therefore to you.

Your response should be just as purposeful and strategic. Your resume gave the interviewer a positive but vague view of your potential. Now she needs clarity and still has some doubts.

Anticipate her questions,  resolve them now, then take a deep breath. Continue reading

Prepare for 50 Job Interview Questions

Prepare for 50 Job Interview Questions

Prepare for 50 Job Interview Questions

Prepare for 50 job interview questions that are commonly asked, instead of “winging  it” and hoping for the best. Doing the hard work of preparing well-crafted responses for the most likely questions,  makes sure that the you and the employer exchange the information that each needs to make the decision that is right for both. 

To see all 50 questions, I invite you to check out the Slideshare presentation below. While you are there, take a look at the first of a series of 50 presentations that will explore in-depth how to be ready to deliver a great answer.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog before you go, to make sure you don’t miss a one!

Check out the 50 Job Interview Questions presentations on Slideshare!


I hope you like the format and enjoy the visuals They may even help you remember the questions and your answers.

Need Help to Prepare for 50 Job Interview Questions? Watch this space.

Knowing the questions you can expect is just the start. To really handle them well takes lots of thought and careful preparation.

Over the next few months, I’ll add individual presentations with guidance for each of the 50 questions. Here are the first:

1. Prepare for the “Tell me about yourself” Job Interview Question

2. Prepare for the “How did you prepare for this interview” Job Interview Question


Use the Subscribe button at the right to make sure you don’t miss any of these valuable presentations!

Now a short note on how the slideshare presentations were created, using a new app for the iPad.

Create Stunning Presentations easily with the Haiku Deck app for iPad

I decided to put this together after using Haiku Deck to create several other presentations and enjoying the distinctive approach that the app brings to presentations. It’s a new (to me)  app for the iPad that makes creating visually appealing presentations a joy rather than a drudgery. Forget about looking all over the internet for relevant photographs. Just choose from one of a hundred or so that  they suggest to you, based on your key word. And you don’t need to concern yourself with permission to use the photos. Haiku have taken care of that.

if you don’t have an iPad, a web version is now available.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net