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You've Landed the Interview, Now Set Yourself Apart!

In general, interview questions do not come out of left field, but instead are deliberately formulated to separate the most qualified and best prepared candidates from the pack. Study, prepare and practice your answers to these questions in order to rise above the other candidates.

1. What Are Your Weaknesses?

This is always a question that makes your stomach sink. Answering that you do not have any or that you can't think of any does not reflect well on yourself. Instead, think about a professional trait that you are working on improving and what you are doing or have done to master it. "I continue to work on my public speaking skills. My former employer gradually gave me opportunities to speak to first small and then larger groups and I now am feeling more confident and enjoy speaking to mid-sized groups."

2. Why Should We Hire You?

Be brief and to the point. "I bring ten years of increasing responsibility in marketing luxury wines and feel confident I can help increase sales and the bottom line. My passion is to contribute to a successful team."

3. Why Do You Want This Job?

The person interviewing you does not want to hear that you have always wanted to work in the wine industry. The right answer here requires research. Study the winery's website, examine their products, learn about their history, talk with people that know something about them and apply this to your answer. The interviewer wants to hear why you are specifically interested in working for their winery, not just any winery.

4. What Are Your Goals?

You should address with confidence both your short term and long term goals. For example, "I truly hope to join a small winery with supportive owners where the team is all striving to accomplish the same goals. Long term I hope to add value and become a leader in the company."

5. Why Did You Leave (Or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job?

Your answer should always be honest and reflect positively on yourself and your current/former employer. For example, "Revenue had decreased two years in a row, so my position was eliminated with my supervisor taking on my responsibilities." Or, "Although I really enjoy my work and the people I work with, I realize that I will thrive in a larger work environment where I can really specialize in cost accounting versus all encompassing accounting work."

6. When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job?

Here is your chance to exude excitement about areas of your job that you prefer. This will reveal to the interviewer what motivates you. "I really appreciated in my last job when I was included in the debriefing and reporting on the months past activities with the VP. Seeing and contributing to the big picture became very important to me."

7. What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can't?

Here is your chance to tout your own horn through the eyes of the person that oversaw and appraised your work. Think of your performance reviews and words shared by your boss. "My boss told me I was invaluable in closing the books in three days. She felt I was rock solid and did what it took to get

8. What Are Three Positive Things Your Last Boss Would Say About You?

Here is your chance to tout your own horn through the eyes of the person that oversaw and appraised your work. Think of your performance reviews and words shared by your boss. "My boss told me I was invaluable in closing the books in three days. She felt I was rock solid and did what it took to get the job done."

9. What Salary Are You Seeking?

Try to always find out what the range is first so that you don't low ball or high ball the particular opportunity. You might answer, "I am negotiable because this position and your particular company truly interest me. Have you decided on a range for this position?"

10. How Would You Describe Yourself?

Interviewers hope to uncover your confidence level, your genuineness and your ability to think quickly in addition to if you fit their culture and the role. "Positive, supportive, cooperative and reliable" versus "Ambitious, a natural leader, engaging and productive."

SOURCE: The Personnel Perspective is an established wine industry consulting firm with focused expertise in executive search and recruiting, strategic HR, & management training. We work confidentially with individuals focused on working for employers with a vision for success. Our candidates are seeking career positions where they can make a meaningful contribution while continuing to grow and learn.

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