Job-Seeker Know the Answers

Five Questions for Today’s Job Search

Going into a job interview, most job hunters know the standard questions to expect. Often rising to the top as common interview questions are: “What is your biggest weakness?” “What interests you about this position?” and “Why do you think you’d be a fit for this role?” But while these queries are important to today’s hiring managers and recruiters, according to an article published by CareerBuilder.com, many employers are updating their customary questions to include ones that refer to new trends, address the current economic situation or gauge a candidate’s commitment to the company and position in question.

With that in mind, here are five questions covered in the article that job seekers could be asked in today’s job hunt along with suggested responses:

1. Have you used social media in your current job and, if so, how?

Unless you’ve completely sworn off new technology, you should be very aware by now that social media are a part of the fabric of society and are ingrained in most companies’ communication practices, the article pointed out. Employers asking this question want to know how well you understand social media and how you think companies can benefit from using social networks. Try to give an example of how you have used the communication form in your current job. If you haven’t done much in this area, speak to how your company uses social media and share how you think your prospective employer could benefit from the technology.

2. How have you contributed to your present/most recent company’s success?

You’ve likely heard or read résumé-writing advice stressing the importance of not only sharing your qualifications but also addressing accomplishments. In today’s competitive job market, the article noted, employers don’t want to hire someone who can just complete tasks; they want someone who can make an impact on the bottom line. If you can, answer this question by sharing examples of how you increased revenue, helped a client gain market share or created efficiencies that saved money. Use numbers or percentages, when possible; if you don’t know the numbers off the top of your head, you can provide that information in your follow-up or thank-you note.

3. Why did you leave your last job?

While this may not be a new question, today’s hiring managers understand the answer may have evolved, the article pointed out. If you’ve been laid off, be honest. Employers know that the economy is rough, and they expect that some of the candidates they interview will be unemployed. In this case, briefly talk about what happened and then demonstrate how, in the time you’ve been unemployed, you’ve continued to boost your résumé by volunteering, attending networking events or joining industry organizations. Clearly, employers want to know that you’ve put your time to good use and that you’d be ready on day one to take on the required task.

4. What kind of the work environment or culture do you feel you are most productive and happy in?

To answer this question, make sure you do your research so you know what kind of culture to expect at the company you are interviewing at. If you know a current employee of the company, ask him or her to tell you about their experiences working there. Speak to why that type of environment is a match with your personality and work style. Hiring managers want to hire employees who will thrive in their company’s work environment, not someone who will leave quickly because he wasn’t a fit with the company’s culture.

5. What is your motivation for pursuing this position?

You’ve been unemployed for more than a year and you’re really desperate to get a job. Yes, that’s an honest answer, but it’s also a red flag to an employer that you’re more interested in getting a job versus getting this particular job, according to the article. When asked this or a similar question, speak to why the company at which you’re interviewing is the right company for you, and why the particular role will help you achieve your career goals. Also mention how you see yourself growing at the company as a way to show your commitment to the organization.

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