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Why interviews are getting tougher

AAP

Today, if you get an interview you better be prepared to answer difficult questions and demonstrate your ability to come on board at full gallop.

In the good old days, one would submit a resume, request an interview, get an interview, make a favourable impression and answer routine questions.

If the background and experience were applicable, the candidate would probably get a job offer, with the employer prepared to train and mould the new hire for future productivity.

Today, if you get an interview you better be prepared to answer difficult questions and demonstrate your ability to come on board at full gallop.

Depending on the type of industry you pursue, the interview questions can be very tough. "With consulting companies, the questions aren't just about your resume.

It's also situational problems that job candidates have to reason through to find a solution," said Samantha Zupen, with Glassdoor.com, a job search engine.

According to Glassdoor, BP might ask an engineering internship applicant, "How many volts does it take to power an offshore rig?" A mechanical engineer applicant may be asked to explain how to change a flat tyre.

A South Carolina marketing group likes to ask a sales applicant to "Tell me a joke". Be careful. They also might ask a regional account rep, "If you were an animal, what animal would you be?" I like that question and have used it - think about how your answer could be relevant to the position you are applying for.

Another consulting firm might ask a candidate for a business analyst position, "What companies in the Polish energy sector do you know?", or a business analyst applicant might be asked, "How big is the market size for wheelchairs in Shanghai?"

One technology company likes to ask engineers, "You are outside a room. Inside there are two light bulbs. One stays on all the time, the other turns on when you open the door. How do you determine which light bulb is on all the time?" I think I know. Do you?

In today's job market, you need to research companies before your interviews, and be ready for anything. Remember, if you don't have an answer for a question, be honest ... then think about it and respond in a thank you note.

Be honest, be alert, always stay focused, and ... do what others fail to do.

Published: 10 August 2011


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