In my last blog I ended with the "Tell me about yourself" statement. There are many questions that can be asked during an interview, and there's really no way to guess what will be asked. However, you can get a really good idea by looking at the job description. Review the section under the "Qualifications or Requirements" of the job description and you can figure out some interview questions.
Success working in a detailed-oriented, compliance-driven organization
Strong problem solving, analytical and creative skills with the ability to exercise sound judgment and make decisions based on accurate and timely analysis
An effective communicator at all levels of the organization, with strong oral and written skills
Demonstrable passion for our mission and familiarity with national, state, and local education policy, politics, and personalities
Experience in working with more than one financial system
Looking at these requirements I would figure these might be some of the questions that I might be asked during an interview:
Give an example when you had multiple projects to complete.
Tell me about a time when you had to demonstrate strong attention to detail.
What is your experience with analyzing data?
Can you tell me when you had to exercise superior communication skills?
What do you know about our organization?
Why do you want to work here?
What types of financial systems can you use, please give an example.
Another strategy is to go ahead and write out your answers to the questions. This will help remember the points you want to make. Remember to always use examples and details in your answer.
Trying to answer the famous, "What is your major weakness?" is one that none of us want to answer. How do we tackle this question without make ourselves look as if we have a major flaw?
Well, for starters let me stress that you don't want to talk about a weakness that will get you kicked of the running. Looking at the requirements above, you certainly would not want to say that your weakness is your organizational skills or your writing skills. You do have to be honest when answering this question, all questions for that matter.
A good answer might be that your public speaking skills could use some improvement. It's something that you are aware and continue to work. You do this by offering to present at meetings, or that you've joined Toastmasters. You need to talk about a weakness that you have and then follow up with what you are doing to improve.
Now it's your turn to ask the interviewer questions. If you've ever had an interview and said you didn't have any questions, I bet you didn't get the job. Yes, you must ask some questions. This is the only time during your interview where you can pull out a sheet of paper with your questions all typed out. Some sample questions are:
I've already read the job description and want to know what you feel the top three priorities are for someone in this position?
Is there a project that you've always wanted to have the person in this position work on, but haven't had the opportunity? If so, what is the project?
Describe your ideal candidate.
When you ask the interviewing committee to describe their ideal candidate you need to make that your last statement because you need to remember what they say, as much as you can. The information in their answer will help you to close your interview.
Be sure to let them know you are excited about this position "because…."
Let them know that this is the kind of job you went to school for or that you've always dreamed about "having…."
Tell them, "I really want this job because…"
Tell them that you feel you are a great match for this position and list all the skills and experience they mentioned and that you have… tie-in your experience with the job description.
Thank them for their time and let them know that you look forward to hearing from them soon. Leave another copy of your resume and your list of references. Shake hands and you're all done!
Candace Gonzales McGee
P.S. If you missed my Part 1 of this article, please check it out here.
Candace is Spicy Cilantro's career advancement specialist… she offers expert advise on resume writing, job interviews, dress for success, etc. She also brings her personal insight on interracial marriage and the uniqueness of her two daughters (ages 17 and 19), who are a mixture of Mexican-American and Black. Candace started her young life on the picket lines for UFW's Cesar Chavez, and spent one year in Montreal, Canada, where her mother attended law school. There, Candace was exposed to a different culture where she learned to speak French. At 16, she was the youngest person to become a member of the National Women's Political Caucus. Candace received her MA in Higher Education Leadership; her BA in Ethnic Studies; and is on her way to acquire her Ph.D. Candace's mother was an organizer for the UFW, a teacher, and college trustee.