SmallTalk Team

Top questions for your job interview. Part II


We continue providing you with some recommendations and useful phrases to be fully prepared for you dream job interview.

Why are you leaving your current job?


Recommendations:

  • Don’t complain about your current work conditions
  • Focus on highlighting desire for growth and how you can grow in this company

Useful phrases:

  • I seek professional growth
  • I want to learn more
  • I don’t feel like my current role in challenging me anymore
  • I want to create products that make a tangible impact on the world
  • I am excited by the prospect of working on something that many people use every day

How to answer:

I’m looking for new opportunities because I’m ready to take on more ownership and control over new products. I’d like to work on a cutting-edge project where I can learn from the best people in the field and challenge myself with finding creative solutions to technical problems. Most importantly, I want to know that my work makes an impact on the world and provides real value to people.

Why do you want this job?


Recommendations:

  • Research the company culture, mission and values and use that information in your answer
  • Explain what makes you a good fit in terms of your skills and experience

Useful expressions:

  • I am passionate about…
  • I believe in…
  • I think I am a good fit for this job because (I have a lot of experience in finance)
  • I’m really excited about this opportunity because…

How to answer:

When I first read the job description, I thought that this is the kind of role where I can apply all of the different skills I’ve learned over the years. I think that my experience with blockchains and database management combined with my passion for communicating with people makes me a great fit for this job. On top of that, I’ve heard about your company values and I personally align with all of them. I especially believe in moving fast and innovating. For all the reasons I’ve just outlined, I’m excited to talk to you and learn more about this opportunity.

What motivates you at work?


Recommendations:

  • Describe something that indicates you are focused on professional growth
  • Describe how that motivation can help you be successful at this company
  • Consider talking about things like mentoring and coaching others, coming up with creative ideas to improve something, learning new things, achieving goals as part of a team, leading a team to success, completing a difficult project, and seeing it through to the end, spotting flaws and errors and fixing them

Useful phrases:

  • My biggest source of motivation is…
  • (Working with goal-oriented people) inspires me the most
  • (Solving problems as part of a team) gives me a sense of accomplishment
  • I find (positive feedback) very rewarding

Sample answer:

My motivation comes from two main sources. First, it’s my internal motivation. I love to brainstorm product ideas and design products that fit people’s needs. Secondly, it’s overcoming challenges as part of a team. The feeling of accomplishing a goal together with your teammates is the most rewarding feeling to me. I can do my best and inspire others to do their best when I work on projects that I really care about. For instance, I really believed in our last company project, and it exceeded our expectations by getting to 100 thousand downloads on the App Store. That’s why I want to work at this company. I really like what you stand for and I find your projects very exciting.

What are your strengths?


Recommendations:

  • Pick a strength that is unique to your character or skill set in order to stand out
  • Consider strengths like mentorship abilities, problem solving skills, resilience, creativity, building and leading a tea, etc.
  • Give and example of how you use this strength at work

Useful phrases:

  • I consider my greatest strength to be…
  • I’m good at…
  • My strongest skill is…

I’m a great catalyser of people. I’m good at getting people excited about new ideas and executing on them. Because I’m so passionate about implementing new ideas myself, I just can’t help sharing this passion with other people. For example, a few months ago I came up with a project idea that not everyone on my team was on board with because they thought it was too complex and not worth the effort. However, I managed to convince them that it was something worth pursuing and that committing to that project would really help us connect with our target audience and stand out on the market. I made my team visualize the end goal and we managed to achieve success with that project.

What are your weaknesses?


Recommendations:

  • Show self-awareness, don’t say you have no weaknesses
  • You can pick a skill you weren’t very good at before but were able to improve later and describe how you improved it
  • You can also pick an area you are currently working on improving
  • The interviewer is looking to find out how you handle professional growth so try to choose an example which proves that you take on new challenges and have to improve your skills in order to progress in your career

Useful phrases:

  • I’d say my weakest skill is…
  • One thing I could be better at…
  • One thing I’m working to improve now is…
  • I’m trying to improve by (learning from other people’s examples)

Sample answer:

I’d say one thing I had to get better at and still need to improve is working with feedback. As a team player, you have to give people feedback and ask for feedback.
In the past, I used to be scared to give feedback and it affected teamwork. When you’re part of a collaborative project, it is essential to keep your colleagues in the loop regarding your progress and communicate openly and regularly to find out their perspective and to make sure you’re on the same page.

This seems like a basic thing, but I find that giving and processing feedback doesn’t come naturally to many people in this field. I highly recommend the book “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott to everyone who wants to be a better team player. I found it very helpful and it really helped me grow as a person.

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