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Old 2 May 2017, 11:37
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H60Gunner H60Gunner is offline
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Interview Questions

I have been looking for a new job for numerous reasons, almost exclusively in the federal government, although I did apply for and interview for a job with the state. I am at the point where I am getting referred almost every time I submit a resume on USA Jobs and have had a few interviews. I would like to know how people have answered four questions. I know what the standard MK1 Mod 0 answers are, Id like to see something different that maybe I can tailor to my situation and use in my next interview. In preparing for an interview I do tailor the answers to the job and try to use the question to highlight a quality that they might be looking for.

Question 1. Why should we hire you?

Question 2. What are your strengths?

Question 3. What is your greatest weakness?

Question 4. Why are you leaving your current job?
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Old 2 May 2017, 13:04
diverescue diverescue is offline
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When I interview job candidates, I am always amazed at how few actually research what we do, who we serve, and the history of the company.

For your first question, tailor your answer to their mission statement, direction the company is headed, and use it to set up the interviewer to ask you more questions that you want to answer. For example, if you were interviewing with a department that has new leadership, such as a new sheriff, mention that the new sheriff has expressed interest in utilizing technology to expedite fugitive recovery and warrant service (or whatever his campaign mentioned). Then roll that into your pertinent experience and interest in that area.

Strengths will vary by applicant, but be honest here. If you are a leader, mention it and give examples, but also mention that you work within your chain of command. Don't brag about being punctual and show up 2 minutes late. People are not looking for robots, so if you have a sense of humor, mention it. If you are someone that they would want to work side by side with, they are more likely to hire you than if you just have the "right" answers memorized.

The biggest thing with the third question is identifying a path to improve on your weakness. Nobody wants to admit that they are imperfect, but don't wuss out on this one and say something like "I can't think of any". That shows the interviewer you are either hiding something or can't think on your feet.

Regarding your last job, remember honesty is the best policy. They will most likely do a background check and reference check. Answering that you are leaving because your boss was a jerk or your co-workers were mean makes you sound like you can't resolve conflict. Answering that you want to make more money may make you sound like you are willing to go to the next agency with deeper pockets and you are not loyal. The best answers I have gotten on this one include opportunity for growth, challenge, and fulfillment. If you buy into the new agency's mission, and it aligns with your personal beliefs, you are more likely to be content and dedicated.

Good luck on the job hunt.
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Old 2 May 2017, 13:10
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As a 60 guy, play to your strengths. Stick with "never convicted"
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Old 2 May 2017, 13:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H60Gunner View Post

Question 1. Why should we hire you?

Question 2. What are your strengths?

Question 3. What is your greatest weakness?

Question 4. Why are you leaving your current job?[/SIZE]
1: I generally go with something along the lines of "you've seen my resume and brought me in for this interview, so there's something there that you've seen that intrigues you - can I ask what it was? Was it something specific or a combination of experience? I wouldn't have applied for this job if I didn't really want it. I think my strengths in (whatever the job calls for) combined with your clear understanding of what direction you wish to go in (and touch on that for the specific job) make us a good match....while I understand you have other candidates I'd like to highlight some of the obstacles I've met in previous positions and turned them into successes (and hit one or two)" If you can, try to find a personal connection to the organization/company/government entity, too. "you guys invented asprin and I get lots of headaches!" (kidding, but anything that shows an interest/connection to the company and not just the position is a win.

Sometimes they'll throw in a "well we know where we should go, but not sure how to get there" use that - speak to a project or position where you grew it, guided the organization and ended up successful. Talk about how that has been your experience in other places, too, and what the results were.

2: My number one strength is I know my job. In and out, up and down, back and forth. I gained my knowledge through "areas of increasing responsibility" and have continuously excelled and been recognized for those successes. With that said, I know how to work in a team environment, and I know how to take a no. I understand that many times (in this job) where we need to go, and where program funding, resource allocation, and other needs are in competition and that what I may see as the number one priority may not be the company's number one priority. So I can take a no, and continue to push for advances....etc etc. " (Also throw in leadership qualities, teambuilding, and you have a good personality ...)

3: Weakness is Pain leaving the body - then get up on the conference table and knock out 100 pushups. Seriously though, I am honest and I'll follow up question 2 with 'while I can take no, it sometimes is frustrating to have a project I believe in put on hold and I need to focus on redirecting that frustration back into the job and look for smaller gains that still move us towards a common objective/goal"

4: A couple of times this was easy/peasy (contract ended and program was in place and running well on its own after my team and I built it up over a period of (months/years). Other times I've been honest where the job I was hired for ended up being a dead-end - they needed someone in the position but weren't intent on advancing the work I was hired for (check the box kind of stuff) and I'm making the decision to seek more challenging and rewarding work (and throw in something about the job announcement - by putting in (this phrase, that phrase) it shows me you are serious about filling this position and are going to continually challenge me to produce and ensure success - I thrive in challenging environments, etc, etc...


Couple of points - note how I mentioned their job announcement - reference that. Point out you read it, you understand it, and what you like about it.

When you mention your previous successes it is ok to say "I" but it's also important to use "us" "the team" "my team" etc. And when talking forward using the position you're applying to, use "we", "us" etc - psychological tricks that put you already IN the position - the interview is just a formality.

Hope this helps...
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Last edited by KidA; 2 May 2017 at 13:51.
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Old 2 May 2017, 17:46
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CAP MARINE CAP MARINE is offline
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USSS interview- they will ask you 10?s
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Old 2 May 2017, 19:14
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Pretty much just do this, IMO.
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Old 3 May 2017, 07:38
Stingray66 Stingray66 is offline
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Excellent feedback already.
The only point I would like to hit again is the weakness question. Most people answer this poorly and this is a place where you can really gain points on you competition. This is a self awareness question. And if someone gives a BS answer closed as a strength "I always show up too early for work" it won't score well.
However, if you can answer honestly, and follow up with a process or technique that mitigates your weakness you can get some aeration.
The more senior the position being interviewed for the more self aware I expect the interviewee to be. Don't waste points on this one.
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Old 3 May 2017, 20:48
Stingray66 Stingray66 is offline
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Interview questions

Wow! I don't know whether to blame the Iphone spell correct or not having coffee yet when I typed this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingray66 View Post
Excellent feedback already.
The only point I would like to hit again is the weakness question. Most people answer this poorly and this is a place where you can really gain points on you competition. This is a self awareness question. And if someone gives a BS answer closed as a strength "I always show up too early for work" it won't score well.
However, if you can answer honestly, and follow up with a process or technique that mitigates your weakness you can get some aeration.
The more senior the position being interviewed for the more self aware I expect the interviewee to be. Don't waste points on this one.
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Old 4 May 2017, 08:00
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Gray Rhyno Gray Rhyno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H60Gunner View Post
I have been looking for a new job for numerous reasons, almost exclusively in the federal government, although I did apply for and interview for a job with the state. I am at the point where I am getting referred almost every time I submit a resume on USA Jobs and have had a few interviews. I would like to know how people have answered four questions. I know what the standard MK1 Mod 0 answers are, Id like to see something different that maybe I can tailor to my situation and use in my next interview. In preparing for an interview I do tailor the answers to the job and try to use the question to highlight a quality that they might be looking for.

Question 1. Why should we hire you?

Question 2. What are your strengths?

Question 3. What is your greatest weakness?

Question 4. Why are you leaving your current job?
So I've read over these questions and been ruminating on them, but they all seem too personal for us (me at least) to help you with answers. What are your strengths? I know what mine are, but that doesn't necessarily align with yours. Why are you leaving your current job is a question only you can answer.

I have found that the best way to answer interview questions is blunt yet polite and sincere honesty. I've sat across the table and asked the questions and I feel like I can always detect a lack of sincerity in answers. Interviewers aren't looking for the "textbook perfect" answer. IME, I don't bring anyone in for an interview unless I think they're a good candidate for the job. The quickest way to become NOT a good candidate is a lack of sincerity.

I'm not saying walk in without rehearsing; I've asked basic questions like "What is the most difficult leadership problem you've ever had to solve", only to have people stumble all over themselves trying to come up with an answer.

My recommendation:
1) Search on line for "common interview questions for XXX position".
2) Write down the questions.
3) Write down your sincere answers to these questions.
4) Reread what you've written multiple times, so that it is in your head without having to refer to the paper.

Just my humble opinion...
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Old 4 May 2017, 13:23
navarone212 navarone212 is offline
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Ryno is right on the money.

My agency is in the middle of a mass hiring. I sat on 385 oral boards in 2016, so I know what a good and bad candidate looks and sounds like.

You need to build an outline for yourself in your mind that covers your work experience and how your skills can help the place that you are interviewing at, your leadership experience and how you define leadership, your strengths a weaknesses and definitely your experience in working with people from other cultures... that is a hot topic right now.
Your military experience has placed you in a position where you worked with people from many cultures and most likely learned about other cultures while you served. They want to hear about this journey how you embraced those people and grew your knowledge about other cultures. This makes you an asset.

Keep an outline in your mind of your life experience as a file folder and be able to access it both in parts and as a whole. Have at least three examples for each section, almost like bullet points that you can go into detail about.

Take time to investigate each Agency - Who is the CEO or Chief? When did this company begin? What is the command structure? What are the demographics of the people they serve and how does your work experience fit in with that?

The candidates that we interview that say "I don't know" to those questions definitely do not pass our interview.

Nav
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  #11  
Old 4 May 2017, 22:08
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H60Gunner H60Gunner is offline
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Awesome feedback! Thanks guys for the serious and humorous answers.

I really want to go to an interview and answer all 4 questions with what Hawk said "Why should we hire you?" "Because I've never been convicted." Or the HM answer would be good too!

But. I. Won't. COMNAVWIFEPAC wouldn't approve.
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Old 4 May 2017, 22:42
Stretch Stretch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H60Gunner View Post


Question 1. Why should we hire you?

Question 2. What are your strengths?

Question 3. What is your greatest weakness?

Question 4. Why are you leaving your current job?
I have been reading along...

My opinion, researching the company that is interviewing you is key.

#1: I am good at my job. Relate this to said company and how it helps them meet their goals/mission statement etc. Have examples/provables...

#2: Build on #1. These are my strengths and this how used them to...

#3: I am going with the humorous "honesty" answer... :D. That question sucks.

#4: I am not leaving my current job, I am looking for an opportunity to grow and help xyz company continue their, (something about their mission state here) and continue to grow my (something about how you can add to what they do).

I used the word GROW too many times. There is always some wordsmithing involved in cover letters, as well as coming with answers to supposed questions.

Good Luck,

S

ps: two good stickies here, both added by SB, http://www.socnet.com/forumdisplay.php?f=276, if you have not read them. asg

Last edited by Stretch; 4 May 2017 at 22:48. Reason: Added socnet link.
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Old 5 May 2017, 15:17
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Gray Rhyno Gray Rhyno is offline
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My personal favorite Q&A was a few years ago.

Interviewer: "But you have a sense of humor, right?"
Me: "Yes. Yes I do".

My future supervisor sat in on the interview and he later told me it was the most deadpan reply he'd ever seen in an interview.
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