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Questions you might be asked in a job interview (and why they get asked)

By Rob Taylor

According to one of our polls, 46% of our users want to get a job very quickly after graduation. Some of you will be working for yourselves as freelancers, but most people will still be working for companies and will be going through job interviews. We did a quick survey here at EDge (the company that runs SchoolFinder.com and StudyinCanada.com) asking what the managers here ask when they are hiring people and why.

Bear in mind that although EDge is a company that works in IT (with some branching out into print), many of the questions we ask could be asked in almost any industry.

What's your dream job?
Here we're looking for imagination and confidence in discussing things that may not relate to the job you are applying for. It would also show how compatible the applicant could be with the current position he or she is applying for.

What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?
Man, I can't remember a single job interview where I wasn't asked this question. And it's hard to answer. What we're looking for here is who has prepared for job interviews and who hasn't.

What do you do in your spare time?
If you're applying to a video game company, the fact that you spend all your time playing video games or designing your own games would be very appealing.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is similar to the dream job question; we're looking for imagination and confidence along with ambition. For the most part, companies are looking for people who want to learn and grow and who can continue to contribute to the growth of the company.

Why do you want to work here?
"Because I want a job" isn't really a good answer. A great answer for us would be that the applicant loves education and wants to help students in their education goals. Showing some knowledge about what the company does would also gain brownie points with us.

We read your résumé and were wondering what you meant by ...
Believe it or not, people will go through your résumé and find the most obscure point to ask you about during an interview. I try to find at least one point of interest to ask people about.

What have you been doing since you left school?
If you have a large gap between when you graduated and when you are applying for jobs, people will want to know why. Traveling is a good answer. Hanging out in your parents' basement playing video games is not. Unless maybe you are applying for video game company.

Industry-specific questions
Because we are a company that works mostly on the Web designing and creating websites, some of our questions deal specifically in that area. The same would apply for any industry. Here are some questions that we ask related to our area of expertise:

     

  • What is your favourite Website and why? (We want to see that the person we hire is very knowledgeable of the Web. A question like this will also show us if the person has a sense of style and taste that will fit in with our company mission. We also like to find out about innovative and new websites; if the person we're hiring knows of one we don't, it looks good on them.)
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  • Our design manager likes to ask people to give criticism of our designs. If the criticisms have substance, it shows valuable traits for future employees.
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  • Our director of communications and senior editor (me) ask for writing samples, for obvious reasons.

One last tip before we go. It doesn't hurt to pause and collect your thoughts before you answer a question. As long as you don't take too long a time, it will show that you give careful consideration to questions and don't just say the first thing that pops into your head.

For more helpful interview questions, take a look at the following website Jobinterviewquestions.

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