Below are standard interview questions, my feelings on them and my responses. I hope this helps you gain some insight into who I am.
- Can you tell me a little about yourself?
- OK, I get this question. Employers are looking to see if you are more than a job history on a typed page. However, being the introvert that I am, this question has always been one of the hardest ones for me to answer. I hate talking about myself. I have never been able to tell anyone what I do because I just do it – I don’t think “Oh, I need to add this task to my resume”. That is why it is so hard for me to write a resume. I can look at my position description and regurgitate what it says, but to be able to tell you on a day-to-day basis what I do? No can do. I see what is needed and I do it. The sage advice for formulating an answer to this question is to list two to three specific accomplishments that positions you as the best fit for this job. I don’t see what I’ve done as accomplishments. I see it as doing my job. So, how would I answer this question in the future?
- Upon being hired for my current job, no one trained me or even knew what my predecessor did on a day-to-day basis. So, I made the position my own, streamlined some tasks and had the director reassign others that better suited other employees and their job responsibilities. Having been successful at this, they routinely moved me to different positions that needed the same treatment. With each new iteration of my duties, I was very successful at the tasks given to me.
- How did you hear about the position?
- Now at this point in the interview, some people would name drop. However, I have never been a fan of this approach. I always worry that after being hired, something happens that prevents me from performing the way everyone, including me, expects? Or what if my personality and that of my direct supervisor doesn’t mesh? It would not only look bad for me, but also for the person I named in my interview. So, even if I were made aware of the open position by someone within the company, I would have taken the time to look up the job posting either on the company’s website or a job search site, and that is where I would say I heard about the position. This way, having looked up the posting, I can honestly say I saw it on X website. If it becomes known after I successfully obtain the job that I know so-and-so, then I can explain my reasoning for not saying so.
- What do you know about the company?
- This question is where you can shine by not only knowing about the company but explaining how their mission aligns with your values.
- I like that your company does x, y, z for your community and hires returning vets even if they need the training to do the job.
- Why do you want this job?
- We can all pretend there is some altruistic motive for wanting any job to which we apply. However, everyone knows the position you are applying for pays better than the one you are leaving. But, we cannot say that, so we say something along the lines
- “I like your community outreach programs, and I would like to be a part of your team to assist in reaching more of the community.”
- Why should we hire you?
- Talk about a difficult question for an introvert to answer – this one is as bad if not worse than question number one. I guess I could say something along the lines:
- As you can see, I have 30 plus years of experience in this field. Most of the skills I have are self-taught on the job. As such, I believe this shows that I am motivated to learn what is needed to get the job done right.
- What are your greatest professional strengths?
- My soft skills are:
- Has a positive attitude
- Open to learning
- Naturally curious
- Not afraid to take charge
- My digital skills are:
- Microsoft Office
- G – Suite
- WordPress – not an expert, but teaching myself by designing my website with the help of YouTube and other online resources
- On Guard – the system we use to code ID cards to grant access to secured areas
- Photoshop, Paint Shop, Indesign – Nowhere near an expert, but I can muddle my way through enough to get a decent result.
- Currently learning Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Quickbooks, and Zoom.
- My soft skills are:
- What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
- I consider my greatest weakness to be “shiny object syndrome.” I see all these new gadgets and programs, and I want to learn them all. I also tend to throw myself into my job.
- What is your greatest professional achievement?
- For every job I’ve been hired to perform, I’ve made it my own and streamlined the processes. Also, while working full-time, taking care of my father, and maintaining a long-distance relationship, I successfully started my company.
- Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
- Conflicts come up all the time when you get a group of people together at least eight hours a day, five days a week – both personal and professional. I’ve had to deal with both.
- One was a boss who treated everyone on the staff like they were less than human. The one time I stood up for myself when he tried to blame me for something he did himself, he turned it around and still made it my fault. I went to our HR Director who asked me to hang in there that there was something in the works for me that would get me out of that situation. I was moved up to another position away from the boss and have been happy ever since.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Hopefully, in five years I will be a full-time Independent Contractor working from home.
- What’s your dream job?
- My dream job is Independent Contractor helping other small business owners and non-profits grow their business by taking the busy day-to-day tasks off the owner’s shoulders so he/she can concentrate on the heart of their business.
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- I would like to be my own boss.
- What are you looking for in a new position?
- Freedom to be creative, learn new skills, master the skills I already have, and becoming part of a team.
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- I prefer a relaxed environment where individuals are given room to grow as people and not just robots given assignments to complete.
- How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
- Depends on what the pressure is or what is causing the stress. In an emergency, I am usually the one who remains calm, assess the situation and takes the logical approach.
- What are your salary requirements?
- Please see my rates page. My hourly rate is currently $50 per hour with a two-hour minimum to start and billed in fifteen-minute increments after that.
- What do you like to do outside of work?
- I like to read, cook, and work in the yard. I also use my downtime to learn new skills.
- If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
- I like to think that I would be a service dog helping others. Either a seeing eye dog or a Saint Bernard (even though I don’t like all that drooling Saints do – lol)
- Are you planning on having children?
- Even though this question is entirely illegal, my straightforward answer would be No. I am well past the age of reproducing.
- What do you think we could do better or differently?
- Hhhhmmm, not sure how someone who hasn’t worked for the company for a period of time could answer this with any authority.
- I guess my answer would have to be something along the lines of Well, once I have worked for you for about a month, ask me that question again, and I should be able to answer that question with more concrete data.
Regina King VA
Professional Virtual Assistant
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4423 Lehigh Road, Suite 451
College Park, Maryland 20740