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A Conflict You Faced at Work

Interview Question: Tell Me About A Conflict You Faced at Work

What they want to know

Everyone has faced a challenging situation or conflict in the workplace. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to discuss in a job interview. It can be challenging to pick a conflict to discuss without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. The key here is to make your answer more of a story and less analytical. Your interviewers want to see your human side and get a sense that you are capable of professionally handling conflict in the workplace.

In your answer, focus more on the resolution and less on the conflict. Many interviewees make the mistake of spending too much time talking about the conflict and getting caught up with the story’s negative side. Instead, briefly explain the problematic situation and focus your time on what you did to overcome it. But most importantly, be honest with your answer and don’t pretend to be the “perfect” candidate.

If you can, pick a relevant example relevant to the job or the company’s industry. In other words, choose a conflict or situation related to the job. You can use the STAR method to outline your answer to this question to keep you on track and paint a clear picture of your conflict resolution skills.

Example answering tell me about a conflict you faced at work

“My coworker was on vacation for the week, and our Chief Operating Officer called me and asked if her presentation for a new product idea was completed. She was very stressed as she needed it by the following morning. I was not working on the presentation and didn’t have the most recent copy. I called up my coworker on their cell phone and had her email the PowerPoint to me.

Our COO and I had a brief call and went over the presentation with her to see what was missing. I was able to figure out what was left to add and completed the presentation before the end of the day. Our COO was very pleased with the presentation and called me after her meeting and send it went very well! Now, my coworker and I share all of our working documents on the cloud so we can easily access each other’s files if something like that ever happens again.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of explaining a conflict you faced in the workplace and how you resolved it. The answer highlights the conflict itself but focuses on the steps the interviewee took to overcome it and come to a resolution. Additionally, it clearly uses the STAR method to lay out the problem, making it easy for the hiring manager to follow. It also demonstrates that the interviewee can thrive under pressure and work alongside senior leadership.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

what's your greatest achievement

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Achievement?

What they want to know

This interview question is another tricky one to answer. If you are relatively young in your career, you may struggle to identify your greatest achievement. And if you’re an established professional, you may have a slew of accomplishments to choose from. However, the best thing you can do is share an achievement that you’re proud of that also demonstrates the value you bring to the table.

If you share an achievement that ties back to the job you are applying for, you’ll get some bonus points. Your interviewers want to see a glimpse of your work ethic and your professional values.

Pro tip:

Use the STAR (Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results) method to formulate your answer to this interview question. The STAR method essentially helps you build a story of a problem, your role in addressing that problem, the actions you took to fix the problem, and the results of your hard work. This is a helpful method to keep your answer on track and present your achievement clearly to your interviewers.

Example answering what’s your greatest achievement

“In my current role, our engineering team was responsible for building a new prototype for a medical device we were designing. One of the engineers tasked at 3D printing the device accepted another job offer, and nobody else on the team had 3D printing experience. I have some experience with 3D printing and offered to prepare the device to be printed. I worked with our team to troubleshoot a few issues that came up during the initial process; however, I was able to finish the device’s printing process two weeks ahead of schedule. The device is now on the market, and our company has sold thousands of units that help medical professionals save lives.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of answering what’s your greatest achievement. It followed the STAR method to paint a concise picture of the problem, the interviewee’s role, and the resolution. If this answer were for an engineering position that required 3D printing experience, this would be a perfect choice.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in five Years?

What they want to know

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is another painful interview question to answer. It is difficult to explain where you see your career in the next half-a-decade to a stranger. Hiring managers ask this question to develop a better understanding of whether you fit into their long-term plan. If you say you want to be doing something completely different from the role you are applying for within five years; you probably won’t make the cut. The best way to answer this question is to provide a general idea of what you want to accomplish, the types of roles you see yourself in, and the skills you hope to lockdown.

You don’t have to have the perfect picture painted when answering this question; your interviewers just want to know if you are thinking of your future and if it aligns with the company’s goals. In other words, they want to know if you can see yourself with the company in that time frame. Employers like longevity!

Example answering where do you see yourself in five years

“In the next five years, I want to become an industry expert in digital marketing. I want to develop into a resource for my team and help educate newer marketing professionals on innovative concepts and tools. Also, I would like to improve my video editing skills to help produce engaging marketing videos for social media platforms. In the next few years, I would like to work up to earning a leadership role to help a company, like [insert company name], achieve their marketing and brand awareness goals.”

Final comments

This example checks all the boxes for successfully answering this question. It shows the candidate’s ambition, the drive to learn more about their industry, states a skillset they want to improve, and demonstrates their career drive. A hiring manager would be happy with this answer because it shows that the candidate is passionate about their industry and eager to learn more. It also expresses their desire to grow within the company. Where do you see yourself in five years is a tricky question to answer. However, if your answer shows your ambition to learn, grow, and longevity, you will be in good shape!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What’s Your Greatest Strength

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Strength?

What they want to know

This question is one of the most dreadful interview questions that an interviewer can ask you. It’s difficult to answer questions like these because, as a candidate, you never want to come off as conceited. However, you want to illustrate your skills and confidence to a new potential employer. To successfully answer “what’s your greatest strength?”, you want to highlight your technical and soft skills. Your answer is your opportunity to share skill sets and qualities that make you an excellent fit for the position and the company itself.

Example answering what’s your greatest strength

“One of my greatest strengths is my strong writing skills. My journalism minor in school helped me discover a passion for writing. For the past three years, I have honed my communication skills and attention to detail by working on our university’s editorial. This role has helped me learn how to write for different audiences and tweak my tone for different writing goals. As a technical writer, I will be able to write, edit, and publish technical documents for the product development and engineering teams with ease.”

Final Comments

Confidence? Check. Discuss a valuable skillset? Check. Relate it back to the job? Check. This example does an excellent job demonstrating the candidate’s background and skills, as well as tying them back to the position. Through this example, you can tell that the candidate carefully reviewed the job description and tied their skills back to the job. The answer was short and direct, which makes it a great example to answering this challenging interview question.

If you are having a difficult time answering “what’s your greatest strength?”, don’t worry. Many candidates struggle to discuss their strengths in an interview. Here is a list of skills you can communicate in your answer:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Technical skills
  • Tenacity
  • Work ethic
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility and adaptability

These are excellent skills to start with in crafting your answer; just don’t forget to tie them back to the position!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

tell us a little about yourself

Interview Question: Tell Us A Little About Yourself

What they want to know

This question is typically an icebreaker at the beginning of an interview. Your interviewers are allowing you to shake off those nerves and provide a quick elevator pitch on your candidacy. The goal is to give a brief background about yourself and demonstrate why you’re a solid fit for this job. You should start by introducing yourself and tell them where you are currently working. This gives you the chance to briefly describe your current and past positions, as well as highlight the tasks that make you a strong candidate for this role.

If you’re fresh out of school or about to graduate, start by sharing your major and school/university. To top it off, feel free to conclude your answer on a more personal level. Maybe include a fun fact about yourself or an exciting hobby that might make for an interesting conversation starter. This tidbit allows you to let some of your personality shine right at the beginning of the interview!

Example answering tell us a little about yourself

My name is [insert name], and I am currently an Account Executive with [insert company name]. Over the last three years, I have developed the ability to identify new clients and provide them with a customized software solution to help them increase their productivity. As a salesperson, my greatest strength is understanding the needs of a prospective client and selling them a solution that fits both their budgetary requirements and business model. As someone who thrives in a competitive environment and enjoys helping companies become more profitable, I believe I can be a tremendous asset to your sales team. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and going hiking with Apollo, my German Shepard.

Final comments

In this example, they are providing a brief overview of their current position and are explaining how their background will allow them to be an excellent fit for the team. It also provides a brief glimpse of their personality (competitive, passionate, and loves the outdoors). Overall, this a great answer to this common interview question that you will likely face.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Video Interview Tips

Video Interview Tips to Know Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak

Have you suddenly found yourself transitioning from an in-person interview to a video interview? If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of companies are canceling face-to-face job interviews due to the growing concerns of the Coronavirus. As a result, more employers, such as Google and Microsoft, are moving their interviews to a virtual format. If you find yourself in this situation, it can be overwhelming; especially if it happened suddenly. However, here are a few video interview tips to ensure you pass it with flying colors.

Test your video equipment

The first thing you want to do is test your equipment and software. Be sure that your laptop or tablet is up to date to assure you don’t have any issues. Test out the video software that you will be using. Whether it’s Skype or Zoom, it’s essential to be familiar with the software to limit potential “operator errors.” Also, test your internet connection and ensure that it’s strong enough to video chat. You definitely don’t want your internet connection to time out and lose your connection mid-interview. Last but not least, make sure everything is charged up and ready to go!

Eliminate all distractions

When you’re sitting down to do your video interview, you want to ensure you eliminate any distractions around you. Get the kids out of the house, let the dog out in the backyard, and turn off anything that can and will make noise. Have a tidy desk and a clean space around you. Pick a nice area in your home to conduct your video interview with nothing incriminating or distracting in the background. The fewer distractions around you, the better you will be able to focus on the conversation and make a strong impression!

Treat it like any other interview

At the end of the day, the principles for a video interview are similar to any other interview. Do your due diligence on the company before your conversation, dress for success, have good posture and eye contact, and don’t forget that thank you note! Our friends over at Indeed produced a short video that does an excellent job summarizing how to prepare for a video interview:

Take advantage of the booming labor market

There are a lot of concerns about the Coronavirus’s impact on hiring as we approach the end of the first quarter. However, this media-crazed virus has yet to impact the job market. Thus, don’t let COVID-19 derail your job search. You may be doing more video interviews as a precaution, but at the end of the day, your job search will carry on as usual. Hopefully, these video interview tips will calm some of those job search jitters. Good luck!

insightful interview questions

5 Insightful Interview Questions You Should be Asking

If you have an interview coming up, chances are you’ve spent a decent amount of time preparing answers to typical interview questions. And while it’s essential that you are ready for whatever questions are thrown your way, have you thought about the questions you’ll ask? Inevitably at the end of every interview, your interviewer will ask, “So, what questions do you have for us?” Don’t get caught empty-handed! These are just a few insightful interview questions for candidates to ask at the end of an interview that will leave a great impression.

How could I make an immediate impact in this role?

This is a great question to kick off the last part of your interview. Most importantly, it allows the interviewer to picture you in the role. However, it also gives you a significant hint as to how you can be successful if hired. Listen for key indicators of success; do they expect you to hit benchmarks immediately? Or is there an extensive training period that you need to conquer first?

How does this role interact with other team members and departments?

The answer to this question will be valuable in understanding how you would fit into the greater company puzzle. Depending on the response, you will also gain insight into whether it’s a good fit for you personally. It may be a more independent role with limited interaction with other team members, or it could be highly social with interactions on multiple levels.

What excites you most about working for this company?

This question is strategically worded for the interviewer to answer depending on their interpretation. They may talk about all of the things they love about working there. Or, they may delve into some exciting future projects. Either way, feel free to ask a follow-up question to get the other answer!

How would you describe the company culture here?

Hopefully, you did your due diligence before the interview and gained a basic understanding of the company culture. However, asking an interviewer this question can give you insights you can’t get online! Moreover, they may share some insider information about company get-togethers and office comradery.

What are the next steps in the hiring process?

You will find this question on every list we write because it’s arguably the most important! Asking about the next steps shows your interest in continuing with the process. Additionally, it will give you valuable information about when you can follow up without feeling like a pest.

Hopefully, these five insightful interview questions will help you reach success in your next job interview. And if you’re looking for some great answers to common interview questions, here’s our helpful guide.

modern interview questions

How to Answer 5 Modern Interview Questions

Interviewing has changed significantly over the years. From handshake agreements to video conference interviews from halfway around the world, modernization has changed how we find and hire candidates. As a job seeker, this means that you could always encounter something new during the hiring process. Today, we’re covering five modern interview questions and how you should answer so that you can nail your next interview!

What’s something you could teach me?

In today’s modern workforce, there is a large discrepancy in age and, thus, experience. Baby Boomers have years of industry experience that comes with a wealth of valuable knowledge. Likewise, Millennials and Generation Z grew up in the age of tech, which often comes with its own advantages. To answer this question, focus on a unique value that you have acquired throughout your career or experiences. Try not to make assumptions about what the interviewer knows or doesn’t know right off the bat!

What Podcasts do you like to listen to?

According to 2019 statistics, 51% of Americans have listened to a Podcast. If you are part of that group, you probably have a great answer ready to go! If not, we suggest jumping on board. There are thousands of Podcasts available for consumption on anything from industry news to pop culture. Depending on how formal the interview is, you may want to adjust your answer. Although, you never know if a bond over Bachelor-related Podcasts could be what makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates!

Do you keep up with current events? How do you consume your news?

Of course, you should be keeping up with current events daily, but how you are consuming news can be a bit tricky. We’re going to spoil it for you a bit by saying that social media alone is not an acceptable answer. We encourage you to add industry news to your daily email subscriptions. No matter what your specialty is, there are always new advancements and industry trends of which you want to be aware.

Pro tip: check out our blog to stay up-to-date with industry news and the current state of the labor market!

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Questions like this bring levity to an interview. There is absolutely no right or wrong answer (as long as the song is appropriate)! The interviewer is merely trying to make you feel more comfortable and turn the interview more conversational. Have fun with your answer (and be prepared to follow through if you get hired and invited to employee karaoke night!)

Why are manhole covers round?

This popular modern interview question comes up in interviews with large companies more frequently than you’d think. You may know the answer (click here to find out!), or you may not. What really matters is the thought process behind your answer. With thought-provoking questions like these, feel free to think out loud so that your interviewer can get a glimpse into your thought process.

Keep these five answers in mind when you head into your next interview. And if you are looking for some more interview advice, check out all of our great interview recourses!

behavioral interview questions

Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Asking Candidates

Interviewing candidates can be challenging. Not only is it time-consuming, but there’s a lot of pressure to determine precisely if this person will be the right fit for your position, team, and company as a whole. One of the best ways to do this is via behavioral interview questions. In fact, behavioral interviewing is often considered to be the most effective technique across different levels, organizations, and industries. 

Here is a quick synopsis of behavioral interviewing from SHRM

“Behavioral interviewing focuses on a candidate’s past experiences by asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Answers to behavioral interview questions should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past. This information often reveals a candidate’s actual level of experience and his or her potential to handle similar situations in your organization.”

So, which behavioral interview questions should you ask to compare candidates and determine their qualifications objectively? Let’s jump right into a few of our favorites here at JSG.

Describe your proudest professional accomplishment. 

This is a great question to kick off a behavioral interview. It allows the candidate to reference something they’re passionate about and get comfortable right off the bat. When listening to their answer, try to pick up on a couple of cues. Do they credit other team members? How significant of an accomplishment was it? Did this accomplishment assist in propelling their career development further?

Tell me about a time you failed. What could you have done to make it better, and how did you move past it? 

Everyone has failed at some point in their career. In fact, your best candidates will have experienced plenty of failures. The difference is that they will have learned and grown from each situation. Avoid candidates who dance around, giving an actual failure. This is not the time for a fluffy answer of “I care too much.” You want a real answer that demonstrates that the candidate is self-aware and capable of learning from and moving on from shortcomings.

Give me an example of a time when you had to work with someone whose personality was different from yours. 

This question can be tricky to answer. You are NOT looking for the candidate to throw a previous coworker under the bus. You should be, however, interested in discovering how they handle conflict in general. Do they address it head-on or look for support from upper management? There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, but the insights you gain can help you understand how to manage this person best. 

Describe a time when you were juggling a lot of different projects. How did you prioritize? 

The logic behind this question is two-fold. First, you’ll be able to understand what the candidate deems as “a lot of projects.” Secondly, you’ll get an inside peek into their thought process. Everyone gets overwhelmed at times; it’s how we handle it that’s most important.

Behavioral interview questions are a great technique to determine if a candidate is a right fit for the position and your team. If you want to read some of our other go-to interview advice, check out our blog!

How To Determine If A Company Will Be A Good Culture Fit

How To Determine If A Company Will Be A Good Culture Fit

In a candidate-driven job market, it can seem like the world is your oyster when it comes to making a career move. But that doesn’t mean you want to take just any job! You want to find one that is a fit for your skills and experience; you want a job that will allow for continued growth. Something else you want to be on the lookout for? A company and team that will be a good culture fit. Use these three tactics to discover your next step!

Do Your Research

Before you interview, or even before you apply, research the company. Of course, you’ll want to check out their website, but also be sure to browse their various social media accounts. This may give you a peek into what the office is like if they frequently do events outside of work, and a more in-depth demonstration of their mission and values. Last, but certainly not least, LinkedIn is your best friend. Find the company on LinkedIn, click on “see all employees on LinkedIn.” Peruse employee profiles to get an idea of the company culture. A few specific things to look for: how long employees have been at the company, how they describe their job, and if they have recommendations and endorsements from coworkers.

Ask Great Questions

Once you get to the end of your interview and the Hiring Manager asks, “do you have any questions for us?” This is your chance! Use this opportunity to ask a couple of great questions that will give you further insight into the company culture. Here are a few of our favorites:

“What is your favorite thing about working for ABC Company?”

“How will this position interact with other team members and departments?”

“How does ABC Company tie their values into their day-to-day operations?”

Pay Attention To The Little Things

The smallest details can give you a hint as to the culture fit of a company! When you go in for an in-person interview, be aware of your surroundings. What is the general attitude or vibe of the office? Do the current employees seem friendly and welcoming? If you have the opportunity to meet with other team members, be sure to ask the same questions you would ask leadership and more! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about working with the leadership team. This can give you a better understanding of how to be successful if you are to be hired.