Tag Archives: Interview Questions

Questions to Ask During Job Interviews

The Top 10 Questions to Ask Candidates During Job Interviews

The resume rarely reveals how suitable candidates are beyond basic qualifications. Mastering the art of strategic interview questioning is crucial to determining motivations, uncovering hidden strengths, and confirming organizational compatibility.

Below we unpack the top 10 interview questions to ask when evaluating potential hires.

Questions to Ask During Job Interviews

1. What Sparks Your Interest in this Role and Our Company?

First, assess the candidate’s genuine passion for the core functions of the position and alignment with the organization’s product, mission, and culture before diving into skills. Deep intrinsic motivation often sustains higher employee engagement and retention over time. When evaluating their response, consider specifics rather than generalizations about the role and company.

2. Share a Time You Tackled a Difficult Work Project or Complex Problem.

Open-ended prompts that ask candidates to walk through an analytical process or difficult problem they have solved reveal problem-solving abilities far better than simply asking about technical skills. Listen for how organized and methodical their workflow process was, whether they grounded solutions in available data insights, and what perspectives they gained from any mistakes made along the way when evaluating their response.

3. If We Surveyed Your Peers, What Would They Emphasize as Your Biggest Strengths and Areas for Improvement?

This question tests a candidate’s emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Listen for how candidly and thoughtfully they discuss their reputation among peers when it comes to work habits, key contributions they’re known for, and opportunities to continue developing. Candidates who can insightfully self-reflect demonstrate maturity and stand to gain much more from constructive feedback over time.

4. Walk Me Through Your Decision-Making Process When Priorities Conflict and Resources Run Thin.

Having candidates describe their workflow and leadership approach in situations with conflicting stakeholder priorities, limited team bandwidth, and unclear constraints is pivotal. How do they remain focused on overarching goals, align interests, communicate tradeoffs, and avoid paralysis by over analysis when information is imperfect and stress runs high? Evaluating composure, systematic thinking, and focus helps predict how they will thrive in ambiguous, resource-constrained environments – a key but underrated skill.

5. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Position?

A candidate’s reasons for moving on are insightful, but pay close attention to how they contextualize and take ownership of that decision. Specifically, listen for whether they discuss wanting career changes in an accountable way versus externalizing blame onto previous employers, colleagues, or temporary adjustments. Top performers demonstrate personal leadership accountability even during transitions – a key predictor of future excellence.

6. Where Do You Expect Your Career Trajectory Will Lead in 5 Years?

A candidate’s 5-year vision reveals helpful context. Specifically, listen for aspirations grounded in developing greater mastery and expanding leadership responsibility versus status alone. Candidates focused on purposeful advancement often bring self-motivated work ethics and continually add value. However, balanced priorities focused more on work-life integration can still demonstrate strong intrinsic motivation as long as a growth mindset persists.

7. What Specific Changes or Growth Opportunities Would Idealize Your Next Role?

Career transitions reveal a lot. Listen for whether candidates thoughtfully articulate targeted improvements vs generically chasing “greener pastures” that often disappoint. Specifically, strong responses identify strategic next moves, fill current gaps, leverage existing motivations and strengths further, and prepare for a long-term trajectory. Discern if they communicate specific needs this opening finally addresses that eluded in previous positions.

8. Among Past Managers, Which Leadership Qualities Did You Admire or Find Most Effective?

The leadership traits and behaviors candidates affirm valuing in others often reflect qualities they seek to emulate themselves. However, be attentive to any subtle defensiveness, avoidance, or lack of transparency when discussing ineffective management relationships or less-than-ideal bosses. The goal is a candid, nuanced reflection that thoughtfully parses out admirable leaders without unrealistic expectations.

9. When Facing Criticism, What Process Do You Use to Reflect?

How candidates respond to, and process criticism, feedback, and failures reveal resilience, which is essential for high performers. Listen for structured reflection rituals and examples demonstrating acknowledging blind spots, seeking multiple perspectives, extracting insights, and sustaining a growth mindset. Specificity in how they integrate feedback to adapt and improve is key rather than generalizations.

10. What Haven’t I Asked That Feels Critical For Accessing Your Potential Alignment?

Closing with an open-ended prompt invites additional key insights candidates feel are pertinent that you didn’t cover. But beware of tangents that meander or attempt to gloss over weaknesses. Listen for responses identifying relevant complementary strengths or cultural values that indicate alignment. Concision matters most here, even over thoroughness.

Looking to hire? Get connected with one of our career experts.

Explain Leaving a Job when Fired

How to Explain Leaving a Job When Fired

We’ve all been there – sitting in a job interview, feeling like things are going well when the interviewer asks a question that makes your stomach drop. “Why did you leave your last job?” As innocent as it may sound, this question is a minefield, especially if you were fired from your last job. One wrong move can blow up your chances in seconds.

Below, we’ll break down this question, why it’s so tricky, and how to tactfully handle it without damaging your candidacy if you have a termination in your past.

Why It’s Asked

Interviewers ask this for two main reasons:

  1. To assess potential red flags. Were you fired or let go? Did you have conflicts with management? They want to uncover any skeletons hiding in your work history closet.
  • To evaluate your judgment and self-awareness. How tactfully and honestly can you discuss sensitive topics? Do you take ownership of failures or blame others? They want insights into your critical thinking and maturity.

In essence, it reveals your professional judgment and integrity, which are hugely important if they’re considering you for an open position.

Why a Termination Answer Can Tank Your Chances

If you were fired or let go, answering this question wrong can immediately eliminate you from the hiring process. Here are some dangerous approaches that you should avoid while interviewing:

  • Lying or majorly twisting the truth. Few things disturb interviewers more than catching a candidate in a clear fabrication. It exposes terrible judgment and erodes all trust.
  • Bad-mouthing previous employers. Even if your termination was unfair or harsh, provocative boasts towards past bosses cast you in an extremely negative light. They’ll worry you’ll later attack them, too, if hired.
  • Not taking any ownership. Passing full blame onto others signals immaturity and a lack of accountability for your career. It’s a giant red flag that something similar could repeat.

Essentially, anything dishonest, bitter, or evasive destroys your credibility almost instantly. Interviews seek the truth – the good and the bad.

How to Tactfully Discuss a Termination

  • Don’t volunteer unprompted details. If not asked specifically if you were fired, don’t offer that info where avoidable. But if asked directly, respond honestly.
  • Remain calm and neutral in tone. Discuss factually without emotions clouding your judgment. Don’t sound defensive, angry, or resentful.
  • Take ownership where reasonable. Explain your contributions to the situation humbly and maturely. But don’t fall on your sword, claiming all blame is unfair.
  • Speak respectfully about past employers. Even if the firing was unjustified, avoid disparaging leaders or companies. Be the bigger person.
  • Pivot to the positive. After briefly explaining the termination, redirect the conversation to what you learned and how you’ve grown. Interviewers care more about the future outlook than past issues.

It comes down to being transparent but also discreet – leveraging emotional intelligence to navigate tricky situations. Demonstrate you can handle sensitive topics with grace and wisdom. That ability speaks volumes about your leadership abilities.

In Closing

The “Why did you leave your last job?” question can be a pivotal moment in an interview. If you have a thoughtful response prepared that focuses on moving forward in a positive way, it can help demonstrate your maturity and professionalism. But if you become defensive or emotional, it may hurt your chances. Try to take accountability for any legitimate issues while also being fair to yourself. An honest, level-headed answer shows the poise and self-awareness that employers look for in strong candidates. With practice and preparation, you can handle this question in a way that represents you at your best.

Looking for work? Get connected with one of our career experts.

4 Must-Have-Capabilities-Legal-Teams-Value-Most

8 Unique Interview Questions to Ask Managers

Job interviews are a two-way street. Along with impressing the employer, it’s important to figure out if the role and company are a good fit for you. Asking the right questions can help you better understand the manager, role and work culture. Here are 8 unique interview questions to ask hiring managers:

1. How would you describe your management style?

This reveals important details about a manager’s leadership approach. Are they hands-on or hands-off? Do they micromanage or empower employees? Learn if their style works for you.

2. What qualities do you look for most when hiring for this role?

This shows what the hiring manager prioritizes in candidates beyond qualifications. Soft skills like work ethic, critical thinking or independence may be key.

3. What are the most immediate projects or tasks this role will focus on?

Get insight into what you’ll work on from day one. High-priority tasks demonstrate how the role makes an impact and what success looks like.

4. How does this role contribute to broader company goals?

Learn how the role aligns with larger company initiatives. This demonstrates your interest in how the company operates.

5. What metrics or KPIs are used to measure success in this position?

Asking about key performance indicators shows your motivation to exceed expectations. Make sure the metrics align with your strengths.

6. What are some of the skills that would set someone apart in this role?

Reveal skills that aren’t required but would impress the manager. This highlights your desire to go above basic requirements.

7. What does career progression look like in this role?

Ask about advancement opportunities and growth potential. Find out about internal mobility and learning options.

8. What do you enjoy most about working here?

Getting managers’ perspective on company culture gives unique insight. Note if their pros align with your expectations and needs.

Preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers demonstrates your interest in excelling should you join the team. Use these unique questions to make a good impression and determine if the role is the right fit.

Looking for work? Get connected with one of our career experts.  

Top 10 Executive Assistant Interview Questions

Top 10 Executive Assistant Interview Questions

Interviewing for an executive assistant role? This pivotal position demands a distinctive combination of skills, ranging from exceptional professionalism to adeptness in discretion and flexibility. Setting yourself apart from fellow applicants hinges on acing the interview.

To help you shine, here are top 10 executive assistant interview questions to expect – along with tips for crafting winning responses:

Top 10 Executive Assistant Interview Questions

1. Why Are You Interested in This Role?

Focus on how your skills and experience make you an excellent fit for the daily demands of this fast-paced job. Highlight relevant qualifications such as:

  • Multi-tasking abilities
  • Discretion and confidentiality
  • Project coordination experience
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Aptitude for learning quickly and working independently

2. What Skills and Experience Do You Bring to This Position?

Relevant hard skills include:

  • Scheduling expertise
  • Event planning
  • Mastering tools like MS Office
  • Fluency in any required software/programs

Soft skills to mention:

  • Written and verbal communication abilities
  • Comfort interacting with senior leadership
  • Discretion when handling confidential data
  • Multi-tasking and time management
  • Being proactive and resourceful

3. What Skills and Experience Do You Bring to This Position?

Emphasize your flexibility to shift priorities and schedules when unpredictable needs arise. Share examples of smoothly adapting to accommodate last-minute meetings, travel changes, and schedule conflicts.

Discuss tools and strategies you’d leverage to expertly manage a dynamic calendar, like creating buffer time between meetings and keeping shared calendars updated. Convey your commitment to making the executive’s life easier, not more complicated.

4. How Do You Prioritize When Juggling Multiple Demands?

Outline your approach for analyzing all tasks and projects to identify top priorities based on importance and deadlines. Explain how you’d consult with the executive to align on priorities if unclear.

Share examples of using productivity tools to stay on top of shifting needs, like custom Excel tracking templates, project management software, or running to-do lists. Emphasize being proactive in surfacing potential scheduling conflicts or deadline issues early.

5. How Would You Handle Sensitive Information?

Stress the importance of full discretion, professionalism and respect for confidentiality. Outline tactics you’d employ, like securing physical documents, using password protections, and avoiding discussing internal matters.

You can provide examples of appropriately safeguarding privileged information from past roles, while emphasizing understanding this executive role’s particularly high sensitivity.

6. How Do You Ensure Accuracy in Your Work?

Describe proofing techniques like double-checking your own work, leveraging tools like Excel or PowerPoint review to catch errors, or developing checklists for recurring tasks.

Share examples of catching and correcting mistakes before they reached the executive. Convey that while perfection isn’t possible, you have effective methods for producing highly accurate work quickly.

7. Are You Comfortable with Public Speaking or Presentations?

Don’t sweat it if presenting makes you a bit nervous – focus on your preparation and diligence. Share how you’d get fully versed on key topics and data ahead of time, rehearse, and ensure smooth AV setup.

Convey that while presentations may never be your favorite task, you will ensure the executive has polished materials and your support. Offer examples of presentations or public interactions you’ve handled smoothly.

8. Are You Comfortable with Public Speaking or Presentations?

Spotlight your ability to quickly master new tools, whether through hands-on exploration, reading tutorials, taking online courses, or asking colleagues for coaching.

Convey enthusiasm for expanding your skills as platforms evolve. Provide examples of getting proficient with a new program or database in a short timeframe in a past role.

9. Why Do You Want to Support This Particular Executive?

Do your homework and highlight your genuine interest and alignment with the executive’s leadership approach, values, or big-picture objectives. Share why their vision and principles resonate with you.

Showcase your passion for collaborating closely with leadership to keep them operating efficiently and turn their goals into realities.

10. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

This is your chance to demonstrate genuine interest and enthusiasm for the company. Ask questions that provide insights into the culture, leadership philosophy, typical day-to-day, path for professional development, or anything else that will show your fit.

With preparation and poise, you can tackle any executive assistant interview. Use these common questions as a springboard to tell your story and highlight the skills that make you the ideal candidate for this critical role.

Looking for work? Get connected with one of our career experts.  

8 Tips to Help Prepare You For Your Next Virtual Interview

Are you preparing for a virtual interview? If so, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of 8 tips to help you prepare. From making sure your computer is ready to go, to practicing your responses, we’ll help make sure you’re as prepared as possible. 

Virtual interview

What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview is an online job interview conducted over video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. This type of interviewing allows employers to meet with potential employees remotely and assess their qualifications in a face-to-face setting. Virtual interviews can be used to conduct all types of interviews, including initial screenings, general job interviews, and second or third interviews.

Virtual interviewing allows employers to save time and money associated with traditional in-person meetings by eliminating the need for applicants to travel. Additionally, virtual interviewing can help employers reach a broader candidate pool by allowing them to interview anyone from anywhere in the world. Virtual interviewing also increases access for job seekers with disabilities, those in rural areas, or those with limited transportation.

Here are eight tips for acing your virtual interview!

1. Research the Company:

Before your interview, make sure you research the company. This is crucial in helping you understand the organization’s mission, values, and goals. You’ll also be better prepared to answer questions as well as ask questions of your own during the interview.

2. Choose a Quiet Location:

On the day of your interview, it’s important to choose a quiet spot with minimal distractions. Make sure you have a good Internet connection and the necessary equipment, such as a laptop or computer, so that you can make the most of your virtual interview.

3. Practice Your Responses:

In order to be successful in any job interview, preparation is key. Take time to research common questions and practice your responses. Make sure you have a few examples of when you’ve demonstrated the competencies required for the job in question.

4. Dress Professionally:

Although you’re interviewing virtually, it’s still important to dress professionally and look presentable. This includes combing your hair, brushing your teeth, and wearing a professional outfit.

5. Test Your Equipment:

Before the day of the interview, it’s important to make sure all of your equipment is working properly so that there aren’t any technical difficulties during the interview. This includes testing out your microphone, camera, and audio levels to ensure everything is functioning correctly.

6. Prepare a List of Questions:

Preparing a list of questions to ask the interviewer at the end is an important part of any job interview. Think ahead and come up with some thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the position.

7. Follow Up After Your Interview:

Finally, make sure to follow up after your interview. A polite email or phone call thanking the interviewer for their time is a great way to ensure that you remain top of mind.

8. Remember to Relax:

Above all else, remember to relax. It’s normal to be nervous when preparing for an interview, but try and channel that energy into confidence. Take a few deep breaths and trust that all your preparation has paid off.

Interview with Us

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success in your next virtual interview! Explore Atlantic Group’s available opportunities and set up your next interview today!