All too often job seekers blunder their way through the interview process stumbling from response to response. But the majority of the questions that are asked in an interview are standard across the board so there is no excuse for not being prepared at least for the more likely questions.
Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, what is your greatest weakness?
This is a hard one, its not entirely a bad thing to be up front about your flaws but balance it by showing how you turn a negative into a positive. Minimize your weakness by advising them what you do to overcome this. For example, “I am working on my shyness by taking a short course in public speaking”
Give an example of an idea or a suggestion you have made that has been implemented in a previous role.
The key word in this question is “implemented”, there is no point bringing up all the potential ideas you have had throughout you employment history if none of them have actually played out. Have a good think about this and prepare an answer to this no matter how insignificant your idea may seem.
What do you know about our salon?
Do your homework before turning up for any interview, ensure you visit the salon or company and do some online research, visit their website and read their about us page. Familiarize yourself with their goals and ethos, however do not go overboard in the interview with facts on them. Just enough to let them know you have took an interest into their brand and it aligns with your personal philosophy.
Why would you like to work here?
What the interviewer is trying to determine with this questions is wither this is just the 50th job you have sent your resume to or if in fact your values fall in line with their values. They want to know if your mindset falls in line with their mind set and are you both striving for the same outcome.
Why did you leave your previous role?
Ensure you respond to this question in a positive manner without bagging or being negative about your previous employer. Let them know that you want to expand your portfolio or gain more experience and you think you can do this at their salon while bringing to the table your knowledge and skills etc.
Why should we hire you?
This is that stage in the interview where you can summarize your education, skills and experience as well as placing emphasis on your strengths, highlight what you can bring to the table and how this can be of advantage to the salon. However make sure you can back it all up with real life examples of when you put all these fortes into practice. And ensure that you portray yourself as that driven, self-confident and enthusiastic person who is always ready to go the extra mile in your role.
What are your salary expectations?
This is a tough one although it is an advantage if the employer brings it up first. Prepare yourself by researching the average going rate for the role you are applying for before the interview. When responding you could answer a question with a question by asking what their pay typical pay bracket is for someone of your skills and experience.
Do you have any questions for us?
Always go to an interview prepared with at least a few questions to ask the employer. Think about what you want to get out of the interview, remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Questions regarding the business itself are a good start as this shows you are keen to make a contribution, also asking how they encourage personal development as you are always trying to better yourself.
So these are the questions that they will likely be asking you in one form or another, but be aware of your rights and what you are not legally obliged to disclose. At no time should you be asked what age you are, about your religion, if you have children and if so how many, if you have any form of disability and they should not be asking about your previous sick leave. All of these items are discriminatory in nature and you are under no obligation to answer them. That being said it doesn’t mean that questions like this won’t come up directly or indirectly every now and again, if you are faced with a query to this nature then ask yourself about the intent of the question and perhaps truly how much you want this job. You will have to decide how you go forward from here, but educating yourself on what is appropriate and what is inappropriate before you go in to the interview is always an advantage.
Tip – We all know how important first Impressions can be and arriving for a job interview is probably one of the most important occasions for you to ensure you are dressed presentably and arrive on time. Ensure you switch off your mobile and don’t just put it on silent, you can imagine the awkwardness of everyone in the room hearing it relentlessly buzzing away in your bag.
Tip – Don’t be afraid to ask for a moment to collate your thoughts before answering. Taking the time to answer a question thoughtfully and thoroughly is far better than mumbling on and having your answer go nowhere as you were not prepared for it.
Tip – As previously covered don’t leave your interview without finding everything out about the role and environment that you can, remember if you get this job you will be going there every day for the hopefully the next few years so ensure you have asked everything you would want to know.
Tip – Don’t be afraid to follow up with the employer if you don’t hear back within the advised time period. If the employees advises that you were unsuccessful you could gently probe them to understand why you were not the right fit for their role and if there is anything they feel you could improve on for your next interview.