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Poll Results: Recruiter’s Top 10 Interview Questions Candidates Stumble On

February 26, 2012

Head-Spinning Questions

Over the years, I’ve helped many active job seekers (and passive ones too) with updating their resumes, building their online profile or even getting connected to companies within my professional network.  Job Hunting can be filled with anxiety and it’s always a great feeling when I receive such calls, messages or texts from job seekers sharing good news like “Hi Ed, guess what? I have a job interview next week, thanks for the help” or “Hey Ed, they finally called and they want to interview me next week…

More often than not, I get the feeling that job seekers get so excited about getting the call from the recruiter to interview that they sometimes forget the real work that lies ahead – the “preparation”.  Preparing for a job interview is a lot more than just updating your resume.  Doing your research is critical to the success of your job interview.  In the current competitive job market, no amount of research about the company that you are about to interview with is too much.

Recently, I polled approximately 45 recruiters from Social GamingCleanTechHealthcare and Semiconductors sectors.  I asked the following question:

What are the interview questions that job seekers are unprepared to answer?

With a 77% response rate over a three day period, I received over 50+ questions and comments from recruiters.  Here’s a list of the top 10 questions that job seekers stumble to answer during an interview:

1.       What is your greatest weakness?
2.      Have you ever had a conflict with a peer, manager or professor?  How was it resolved?
3.      How has your education prepared you for your career?
4.      How would your peers (or best friend) describe you?
5.      Where do you see yourself in a year from now?  In five years?
6.      What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome in the past year?
7.      What is the biggest failure you’ve had in your career?  What did you learn from it?
8.      Why do you want to work here?
9.      Why should I hire you over all the other candidates?
10.   What is your desired salary?

Prepare your answers to these commonly asked questions ahead of time so that you will be ready.  Successful interviews are all about preparation and practice.  The more prepared you are, the more confident and competent you will be.  The candidate who appears to be relaxed, confident and enthusiastic usually has a good chance of landing that dream job.

It is hard to predict what questions will be asked during an interview but  most candidates should be grateful that they don’t have to deal with these brain teaser type questions that are known to be asked at Google.

Do you have other job interview questions to add to the list?   We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments or suggestions.  Like us and join the conversation.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2012 4:21 pm

    I was recently stumped by the question, “Tell me about a time when you broke your co-worker’s trust.” Ouch.

  2. Edward Avila permalink*
    March 4, 2012 11:43 am

    Agreed…ouch. This response can be insightful to a recruiter or hiring manager.

  3. March 6, 2012 2:42 am

    I think the one that always gets me is “Describe your weakness”. Should you be honest? Should you work around it? Lots of grey area here.


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