The Mid-Career GPS Podcast

171: Three Tough Questions to Practice for Your Next Job Interview

August 01, 2023 John Neral Season 3
The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
171: Three Tough Questions to Practice for Your Next Job Interview
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you struggling with how to respond to those tough interview questions that leave you short of words, stumbling, and trying to put a cohesive sentence together? What if you could navigate your way through such interview roadblocks like a pro, showcasing your skills, talents, and unique value proposition with confidence? This episode is your crash course in acing job interviews. I am here to share some priceless tips and strategies to tackle the most challenging questions, such as ‘What is your greatest weakness?’, 'Why did you leave your last job?', and ‘Why should we hire you?’. 

In this episode, I will help you peel back the layers of authentic and strategic communication. I'll guide you on how to maneuver sensitive topics convincingly, like your reasons for leaving a previous job. You'll also learn how to present your skills and abilities in a manner that communicates your potential value to a prospective employer. 

This episode is designed to not just transform your job search efforts but also your entire career progression journey. 

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Speaker 1:

What are your least favorite questions to be asked during a job interview? You know those one or two questions you dread having to answer. Well, in this episode I'm going to help you navigate your way through those questions with some of the best answers you can give. That'll get hiring managers more interested in giving you a job offer and you'll walk away from that interview feeling as if there are no questions you can't answer. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is episode 171 of the mid-career GPS podcast. I'm your host, john Narrell. I help mid-career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four step formula. If you're looking for help in navigating your mid-career transition, I've got a free resource to help you. My guide, called Five Mistakes Mid-Career Professionals Make and Need to Stop Doing, will help you focus on what matters in your job search and career progression. You can check the show notes or visit my website at johnnarrellcom to download your free guide. Let me help you figure out whatever is next for you and your career right now. Last week's episode talks about LinkedIn tips and the power of using informational interviews to help you grow your career. I want to thank Mac Pritchard from MaxList and the host of the Find your Dream Job podcast, for sharing his three favorite tips to help you frame an informational interview much like a business meeting, where that meeting is designed to help you network, build better business relationships and help you with your career clarity. But what do you do once you get the call for that job interview? Whether it's an initial call with a recruiter or even the final round of an interview? You want to be the most prepared you've ever been and, as we head toward the end of summer and the latter months in 2023, we know we're coming up on a prime time for interviewing and there are jobs out there. So what questions trip you up? Well, here are three questions. I often hear from people who don't know how to answer, let alone want to answer these questions. What I'm going to do is I'm going to share the question and then offer my best tips to help you answer them. So the first question is what is your greatest weakness? Okay, can we just all collectively grown here? So this was not a question I liked answering when I was job seeking and when I was hiring talent. It was also a question I didn't like asking. The only reason why I asked it was if it was part of a structured interview process where we were answering all the candidates the same questions, and this was what the team or committee agreed upon. But asking someone what's your greatest weakness, it just brings up so much and I will tell you that when I've been in your shoes and I've been interviewing for jobs in the past, I almost felt like the hiring manager or interview had this smug look on this face when they asked the question, like I'm just going to want to see you sit here and squirm for a minute as you try to answer that. So here's what I want you to know when you can ask that question. Yes, they care about the answer, but they also are looking for how you answer that question. So here's how you don't answer this question you don't say things like I don't have any weaknesses, or you ignore it all together and just go on and say something else, or you make a joke about it. I don't think that is the time when you actually wanna leverage your sense of humor in a joke here. When you go to answer this question about what's your greatest weakness, what I wanna offer you is to share something you are currently working at, be it developing a skill or improving something in your technical or leadership abilities. So, for example, you might say something like well, probably my greatest weakness is delegating, and I know I need to be doing more of that, but it's just something where I'm just trying to be better at it and here's where I am succeeding, in that Delegating is a safe one. Admittedly, it's probably one that comes up a lot, and so if you're concerned about that, you might be thinking well, that's probably one they're gonna hear over and over again. How do I stand out and make myself a little bit different? Another one you could offer is making a shift from being less tactical in your job to being more strategic. So you might be working at developing people on your team or giving them more responsibilities, to free up some time on your calendar For some of that professional think and strategy time you've been looking for. Now, in answering this question, you do not have to call it a weakness, but you do want to highlight some skill you're developing because it's something you wanna change. So, as you think about prepping for that kind of question, just keep in mind that, whatever that quote unquote weakness is the intent behind the question is the hiring manager and the interview team wants to know what you're currently working on, how self aware you are, and where are you succeeding at making that kind of shift, so that weakness isn't something that's holding you back? So that's one question. Another question that often comes up that causes a lot of stress is why did you leave your last job or why are you looking for a new job? So let's acknowledge here that there is a reason. You either left your last job or you're considering leaving your current job. That is no secret. It is no secret in the sense of you're sitting and interviewing for a job. There's obviously a reason. It is also a sensitive question given your circumstances, and so it's important here to be very careful how you tell this part of your story. So some of the things you do not want to say when you're going to answer this question are things like I've worked for a toxic boss, or I was overworked and underpaid, or I hated the clients, the culture of the company, and you might even be thinking of saying I was recently overlooked once again for being promoted and if I'm going to level up my career, I need to go elsewhere. Those answers can raise some red flags for a variety of reasons. So, first and foremost, the general rule is you never say anything bad about your previous employer or your current employer. People know you're looking, there is a reason behind it, and when I say owning this as part of your story, it's what I want you to do here. So keep in mind there are things you can share and things you do not have to share. So, for example, here's how you can approach this question a little more strategically and tactfully. So why did you leave your last job? Share something you enjoyed about working there, but then offer a challenge that was frustrating for you, that caused you to seek another job. So, in the context of that answer, you're like well, I really liked working with the people, but and then share something that was maybe a particular challenge that you found frustrating. These could be things around workflow, resource allocations, communication management, timelines or deadlines, and you want to be honest. But be honest to a point and this is where and I have coached my clients on using this as an answer where you might say, well, just wasn't a great fit. If you offer that as an explanation as to why you're leaving, I strongly believe that you have to explain what that fit exactly means and why it's not right for you. For example, I'm currently looking for a new job because I've had conversations with my immediate supervisor and inside the organization and, as I've been told and as I say it, there really isn't a place for me to move up on the org chart because there aren't any positions being opening opened and, admittedly, no one seems to be retiring in the near future. So if I want to grow and develop my career, I believe the best thing for me at this point is to leverage my talents and expertise and see where I can help somebody else. That can be an excellent example of what fit really looks like, because you no longer fit in that organization, because your career progression and career path doesn't align with what you ultimately want to do. The third type of question that often trip people up is a question like why should we hire you or why do you believe you deserve the job? Getting asked this question, I want you to light up inside, because this is your chance to shine. This is your opportunity to be extremely clear and clean about your story so they can make a decision about whether or not they offer you the job. But here is how I am going to suggest an offer that you do not answer the question in this way. Do not say you deserve it. Do not say, well, you've been here long enough, and do not say that you've spent enough time in that role and it's time for you to make that move. Those answers are nothing of value and service to the organization. It is an air of entitlement that you do not want to be giving off. So when you go to answer that question why should we hire you? Or why do you deserve this job? In prepping for that answer, what I want you to consider is where is your value that you get to bring in that organization? What is that fit that you more specifically align? Why is the function right for you, whether you're leveling up or you're taking a lateral, what is it about your skills, talents, expertise and competencies that ensure that the work you are going to be doing exactly aligns with your skill set, that you can go into that job and hit the ground running? And, additionally, you need to be answering how do you get to move forward, and the company as well. Maybe there's been a certain leadership skill you've been training or working toward and you're ready to implement that. Maybe you've had experience leading small scale projects and you're ready for that opportunity to lead a larger scale project. But ultimately, what an interviewer or hiring manager wants to know when they ask you that question why should we hire you or why do you deserve this job what they want to know is how you're going to help them. Think about it the job posting is a description of all of the things that you get to help them do and if they believe you're the right candidate, they believe you are the right person with the right skills, experience and expertise they will make you a job offer. If they do not believe that, they won't. When you go for an interview, it's so important that you are not showing up from a place where you feel like you have to convince or you're being very needy or grassy. I talk about this a lot with my clients. Needy and grassy energy is never good, but additionally, what we need to remember is that you are showing up from a place of value and service. You are communicating why you're the best candidate for the job and how your experience is going to be leveraged in ways that you can help them and move them forward and, admittedly, solve the problems that they've outlined in the job description, and you can clearly and cleanly do that, especially with some of these questions that trip you up from time to time. You will navigate an interview more strategically than you have ever done and, whether you're offered the job or not, you will walk away from that interview going. I left nothing out there. I put everything out on the table. Let them make that decision, and if you do that and you do it well, great things will happen. So, my friends, you need to take another listen to this episode. By all means, please do. But if you're looking for some more interview help, about a year ago, I did 10 episodes that were all directly connected and related to helping you show up for your interview. They are episodes 110 through 119. They were all in August of 2022. They are still being accessed and downloaded today. So if you have not had a chance to check out those episodes, by all means subscribe and follow wherever you get this podcast, but go back to episodes 110 through 119 to get some more help in prepping for your interview. And until then, remember this we build our mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how we show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the mid-career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple podcasts. Visit JohnNarrowcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. Don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at JohnNarrowCoaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.

Navigating Job Interview Questions
Answering "Why Should We Hire You"