We’ve all been stumped by these tricky interview questions, and we want you to learn from our mistakes. Whether you’re asked about your biggest weakness or your leadership style, after reading this article you’ll be prepared no matter what question they throw your way.
Tell me about yourself. You’ve already got an elevator pitch - use it! This is the ideal time to practice your short and sweet summary about your background, strengths and what sets you apart from the rest.
Pro tip: Don’t overthink this one. You know yourself and what you have to offer. Our BGs practice perfecting their elevator pitches as part of our program.
What’s your biggest weakness? This question can feel like it has is no right answer. Why would an employer want to know what you’re not good at?
This is a great time to showcase your self awareness and humility by acknowledging that you’re not perfect at everything. We want you to think of this as a two-part question: addressing your biggest weakness and how you overcome it.
I was asked this in a job interview in June and responded with, “I’m a detail-oriented person and noticed I was having difficulty looking at the big picture. To get ahead of this, I created a list of goals for each of my projects that I put on the wall next to my desk. Whenever I feel like I’m getting stuck in the details, it’s helpful to look up and remind myself what the larger goal is.”
What will you not miss from the job that you’re leaving? Tricky! BG Amanda Nicoletti’s tip is to never speak badly about a former employer, no matter what your reason for leaving is. Think about it from the interviewer’s perspective: If you’re speaking badly about your current employer now, it could be the interviewer’s company that you’re speaking badly about in the future.
This interview is about YOU, so let’s make this question about you, too!
How do you manage your time?
BG Laura Hanus was a very involved student while at Northwestern University. In an interview, she was asked how she juggled all of her extracurricular activities while being a full-time student. Describing your time management skills can be tough! You want to show potential employers that you’re involved in different activities, but not overcommitted.
If you’re someone with a packed resume who is concerned about coming off too busy, be sure to talk about your experience prioritizing tasks. Whether it’s using a notebook, to-do list or blocking off sections of time for specific things - make sure to give an example!
Moving up in the ranks is a big motivator for a lot of employees, especially Millennials. But many struggle with how to be a great leader without coming off too harsh. Female leaders especially are often labeled as ‘bossy’ or ‘aggressive.’
Being a leader can be challenging, but with these 4 easy tips employees will be begging to join your team.
Lead from the heart: This recommendation on leadership for the modern millennial woman comes from Forbes.
Leading your team using open communication, compassion, empathy and poise are great ways to make sure you’re respected and loved as a boss.
DYK: In 2016 there were 11.6 million women-owned businesses? Wowza.
Respect people’s differences: A big part of being a great leader is respecting that everyone is different. We all have different backgrounds, experiences and learning styles; that diversity is part of what makes our world go ‘round.
As a leader, you have to take these differences into consideration and that often means taking a different approach with different people. Jell stresses the importance of being in tune to different employees’ personalities for this exact reason.
“Once upon a time, there was a young engineer. He spent his work hours in an enclosed cubicle at an office where personal computers and scientific calculators were designed. He liked to work alone, preferring solitude over committees and team meetings.
His name was Steve Wozniak. He was an introvert. And he invented the first Apple computer.”
Think from someone else’s perspective: Half of people who quit their jobs cite their boss as one of the main reasons. That’s why Office Vibe says encouraging work-life balance is so important. A simple way to do this is to think about each situation from the employee’s perspective.
For example, your team is on a crucial deadline for your company’s CEO when an employee comes in late. What do you do as their manager?
It’s easy to think of the project for your CEO as the bigger priority, but taking a minute to think about it from your employee’s perspective may change your reaction, making them more responsive to your approach.
Look at the big picture: A significant part of being a leader is looking at the big picture and delegating specific parts of your plan to others on your team.
When your team gets stuck, looking back at the big picture may help you make the right decision. What is your ultimate goal? What is your company’s mission? Does this align with our values?
Our biggest tip? An elementary school throwback:
Treat others the way you want to be treated and you’re already halfway to being a great leader.
For years, everyone has been searching for the ultimate secret to career success.
- Waking up at 4 am?
- Working through your lunch break?
- Prioritizing your to-do list?
While we all know there’s not just one way to get to the top, our favorite secret to success at work is an easy and effective one.
Find a mentor.
We’re not talking about a lunch buddy who you can vent to about your boss, we’re talking about a real mentor.
Think of your mentor as someone you look up to who you know will always steer you in the right direction. The Muse actually recommends having more than one type of mentor.
They recommend connecting with “You in One Year,” a “Five-Year Guide,” and “Your Career Planner” who all help with different aspects of your career readiness.
One reason to connect with a strong mentor is because they can inspire you, and our friends at Forbes agree. Seeing someone who has reached some of your professional or personal goals is a little reminder that they are reachable.
A great mentor can give you the extra boost you need to kick things into high gear at work. They’re often leaders themselves who can connect you to successful people in your field.
Think about it: When you screwed up a major project, who would you call first for advice? If you’re torn on a tough decision, whose feedback do you trust?
Mentors are often a great sounding board for both professional and personal decisions, and they don’t always have to be someone you work with. Many professionals find their best mentors to be former colleagues who know them and their work ethic, but aren’t as closely tied to their career decisions.
Choosing the right mentor can be tough, but there’s nothing wrong with having more than one! We recommend having mentors in a few different areas, so you get diverse opinions and advice.