An's Conversational English Class

An's Conversational English Class

An (Bill) is a Vietnamese citizen who aims to help other Vietnamese people to improve their English - specially in speaking and listening.

Mission: Improve Vietnamese's English skills.

[08/24/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 10th QUESTION

"How do you handle change?"
"Are you good at dealing with change?"

Dealing with change is common in the work place. A simple yes will not be sufficient to impress the interviewer. This is another type of question where everyone will have similar answers. Of course everyone is going to claim being excellent dealing with change. You got to communicate that you are really good at dealing with change. Here are some examples for you.

Short Answers

"I'm good at dealing with change because I'm a quick thinker. If new information makes us change our marketing strategy for example, I'll be quick to analyze the information and create a plan to make the changes."

"I've experienced many changes previously. I handle the situation by quickly coming up to speed on the changes and applying myself to make them a success."

"I'm good at dealing with change because I'm flexible with my work and abilities. I'm not afraid of learning new and difficult things. Whenever I'm faced with a change, I'll put in extra effort to make the change a smooth transition."

"I handle changes smoothly. Whenever there's a change of any sort, I analyze the situation and I always try to find ways I can contribute to the change in a positive way."

Long Answer

"I believe dealing with change is a requirement in the workplace. The mission statement can change to introduce a new market segment, or the company might need to change direction. Whatever it is, as a member of this team, I would be expected to do my share by absorbing the new information, analyzing it thoroughly, sharing my ideas, and really being a valued team member. Dealing with change is a necessary trait. I think I'm also good at anticipating change by being attentive and observant."

Overall, this is a good answer. The last statement is a bold statement of being able to anticipate change. If the interviewer is impressed, they might follow up by asking for an example of how you anticipate change. If you use an answer like I provided, make sure you have an example. If you don't have one, then the answer you gave will be seen as a lie and you probably failed.

[08/21/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 9th QUESTION

"What does failure mean to you?"

This is quite simple. I don't see many right answers so this is what I suggest. You can believe in two of the following. One, you believe that failure is not achieving your goal no matter what. Or two, you can believe failure is only when nothing is learned from the failure. I believe in the latter, but you don't have to agree with me.

Short Answers

"Failure is when I do not reach my goal."

"I think to fail at something is making a mistake and not learning anything from it."

"To me, failure means to have a goal and not do anything about it."

"I think failure is not reaching your potential. If you do not use the resources you have and the resources around you, that's failure because the work or goal could have been done better."

Long Answer

"I think it's harder to fail than it is to succeed. The reason is, if you fail in a project, you can learn a valuable lesson from your mistake. Learning from the mistake will allow you to improve future projects, or to simply not repeat them. Just because I believe this, doesn't mean I believe it's acceptable to fail at a project, but just in case, I would try to learn everything I can... even when the end result wasn't that good. So, failure to me means making a mistake and having learned nothing from it."

Nobody wants a failure. So you can feel that answering like this will be risky. However, this is a solid answer that most people agree with. If the person doesn't like this answer, then you might not want to work for this person. Everyone fails and if you work for someone who doesn't tolerate failure, then you will be in a difficult situation. Even vice presidents of large corporations will believe that learning from mistakes is a valuable lesson. This answer also states that you will do you best not to fail, but just in case, you want to gain something from your experience.

[08/16/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 8th QUESTION

"What does success mean to you?"

There are many things you can say. This type of question doesn't have a wrong answer. All answers will be correct. So the best answer is how good you can make the answer. A mediocre answer will be something like completing a project on time. You can say this, but add another twist to make the answer a little better. Here is an example.

Short Answers

"To me, success means to have a goal, plan the steps to achieve the goal, implement the plan, and finally achieve the goal."

"Success means to achieve a goal I have set for myself."

"Success means to produce high quality work before the deadline."

"Success to me is knowing that my contributions positively impacted my company."

Long Answer

"Success to me means completing a task and when looking back, thinking I couldn't have done it better. To succeed is to complete a task or assignment on time in an excellent manner. But that's only half of it. The results should be good and the people involved should gain a valuable lesson or experience. For example, if it was a group project, and only two people out of four really did the work, I wouldn't call that success. If everyone participated and worked together providing a valuable deliverable then it's a success. So I think both the result and the process should be great to call something a success."

This answer is showing that you believe in delivering great quality work. Moreover, it is implying how much you value team work. If you value teamwork highly, then it is safe to assume that you would make a great team player.

[08/11/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 7th QUESTION

"If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be and why?"

This question is another variation to the weakness question. You can provide a similar type of question unless it is the same person asking them. To answer this question, think of a person you respect and the trait they have that you really like. I used to have a manager that was very patient and explained things very carefully. I really liked this trait, so I'm going to provide the long answer by using this example. But first, let's look at some short answers.

Short Answers

"I get easily frustrated at people who don't work very hard. But I know people have different work styles and different work habits. So if I could change something, I would like to be more understanding."

"I have high expectations and I have these expectations on others. I think if I was more understanding, I could help other workers improve instead of being disappointed."

"I would like to be more of a risk taker. I always do my work and complete it at an exceptional level, but sometimes taking a risk can make the work even better. I'm working on this by thinking the issue through and weighing the pros and cons."

"I would like to be more of an extrovert. I'm a little quiet and a little closer to the introvert side. I would like to change this because I would appear more friendly."

Long Answer

"I wish I was more patient with people. I remember a manager I had a couple of years ago. He was very patient with everyone. Even workers that were not that smart and failed to understand a concept to perform the job. I remember thinking how can this person who can't understand this concept continue to work here. My manager took a different approach. He was understanding of this worker and explained the concept in a different way. He even explained how to view problems from a different perspective. That helped this worker and in time that worker became a strong contributor. So if I could change one thing about me, I would like to be more patient and understanding. I'm taking the steps to change for the better by remembering the actions of my past manager whenever I'm in a similar situation."

This is a little long, but if you can speak smoothly, it shows off your communication skills. Also, the content of the answer is not that bad. They want a personality problem, and this answer is showing impatience while indicating that you understand difficult concepts easily. It also shows that you are working on correcting the bad behavior.

[08/09/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 6th QUESTION

"What do you want to be doing five years from now?"
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"

This is a similar question to the short term question, but you should answer it a little differently. Here are some examples.

Short Answers
"In five years, I see myself as a valued employee of a company. I want to be an expert at my position and start training to be a manager."

"In five years, I want to be a senior analyst. I want my expertise to directly impact the company in a positive way."

"My goal is to become a lead in five years. Although not everyone gets promoted to this level, I believe I can achieve this goal through hard work."

"Although I really enjoy working hands on as a mechanical engineer, I want to eventually become a manager. I want to continue gaining experience, and after learning many different aspects, I see myself in management."

Long Answers

"Five years from now, I would like to see myself in a management position. I'm going to be learning and gaining practical experience until then, but eventually, I want to become a marketing manager. I know there are a lot of things to learn, but I'm going to be working hard for the next five years. I believe opportunities come to great workers and I'm going to try to be one of them."

"Five years from now, I want to be a senior sales manager. I'm currently training to become a manager, and if I continue to work hard, I feel I'll have a management position soon. After gaining several years of experience as a sales manager, I want to be in a position where I can train and provide my expertise to newer sales managers."

Both answers display characteristics of working hard. The second example also mentions that he or she wants to train newer managers. This is a good answer because it targets one good trait about upper management... the ability to train managers.

[08/08/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 5th QUESTION

"What are your long term goals?"

This question is asked to see how serious a candidate is about his or her career. Some people might not know their long term goals, and some people might have long term goals of becoming rich and retiring early. Those are incorrect answers for this question. The type of answer you want to give is an ambitious answer that shows you really love your career. A good interviewer will read between the lines and find out if a person is going to be a hard worker or just a mediocre one. Being descriptive and shooting for a big goal is something interviewers want to hear.

Short Answer

"I would like to become a director or higher. This might be a little ambitious, but I know I'm smart, and I'm willing to work hard."

"After a successful career, I would love to write a book on office efficiency. I think working smart is important and I have many ideas. So after gaining more experience, I'm going to try to write a book."

"I've always loved to teach. I like to grow newer employees and help co-workers where ever I can. So in the future, I would love to be an instructor."

"I want to become a valued employee of a company. I want to make a difference and I'm willing to work hard to achieve this goal. I don't want a regular career, I want a special career that I can be proud of."

Long Answer

"My long term goal is to become a partner for a consulting firm. I know the hard work involved in achieving this goal, and I know that many people fail to become a partner. That's not going to stop me from working hard, learning everything I can, and contributing to a company where I'll become a valuable asset. I know it's not a guarantee, but becoming a partner is a long term goal of mine, and I going to work towards this goal throughout my career."

This example shows a candidate with a big goal. This person identifies the difficulty of the goal and shows the steps required to achieve this goal. Despite the difficulty, this candidate shows he or she will not get discouraged with difficult situations and will never give up. It is a short answer that goes a long way.

[08/07/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 4th QUESTION

"What are your short term goals?"

This question primarily depends on where you are in your career. A person with 5 years of experience will have different short term goals than a person with no work experience. I'll give an example for both scenarios. But first, here are some short answers.

Short Answers

"My short term goal is to find a position where I can use the knowledge and strengths that I have. I want to partake in the growth and success of the company I work for."

"I've learned the basics of marketing during my first two years. I want to take the next step by taking on challenging projects. My short term goal is to grow as a marketing analyst."

"As a program manager, it's important to understand all areas of the project. Although I have the technical abilities to be successful in my job, I want to learn different software applications that might help in work efficiency."

"My goal is to always perform at an exceptional level. But a short term goal I have set for myself is to implement a process that increases work efficiency."

Long Answers

"My short term goal is to learn everything I can about marketing. I want to find a position where I can contribute what I've learned through education and to gain real life experience. I believe the next couple of years will be very important to me and my immediate goal is to learn and become skilled in all aspects of marketing."

"My short term goal is to get into a management position. The last five years of my career, I've concentrated on learning and acquiring all the skills needed to perform excellent work. Recently, I've taken more responsibilities in management because I eventually want to become a sales manager. I'm excited about the last few assignments I completed because it involved working with vendors and partners while managing a small group of workers. So I hope to be in a management position within a year or two and I feel I'm doing a diligent job by volunteering for extra work to gain more experience."

The first example is a person straight out of school. Learning is a good short term goal to have because it shows that you will be trying hard in your job. The second example is more detailed because that person has several years of experience. Anybody can say they want a management position, but this candidate is taking it a step further by showing the steps he is taking to achieve the short term goal. Thus, it becomes a stronger answer.

[08/06/16]   BASIC INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - 3rd QUESTION

"What are your weaknesses?"

For this answer, you should display a weakness that can be seen as a strength. There are many types of answers that will work. Some answers will be good answers for certain jobs, while the same answer will be a bad answer for a different job. Select an answer that will work for the position you are applying for. Here are a few examples.

Short Answers

"This might be bad, but in college I found that I procrastinated a lot. I realized this problem, and I'm working on it by finishing my work ahead of schedule."

"I feel my weakness is not being detail oriented enough. I'm a person that wants to accomplish as much as possible. I realized this hurts the quality and I'm currently working on finding a balance between quantity and quality."

"I feel my English ability is my weakest trait. I know this is only a temporary problem. I'm definitely studying hard to communicate more effectively."

"The weakest trait I struggled with was not asking for help. I always try to solve my own problems instead of asking a co-worker who might know the answer. This would save me more time and I would be more efficient. I'm working on knowing when it would be beneficial to ask for help."

Long Answers

"I think my weakest trait is my impatience. Whenever I work in a team and a member is not performing up to my expectations, I can get impatient and annoyed. I understand if they are working hard and their portion is difficult, but sometimes a person can't do the assignment due to incompetence or laziness. A while back I would get frustrated and start complaining, but I realized that I can help out by explaining things to some people and encouraging lazy people by reminding them of deadlines. I know it's bad to be impatient, but I'm definitely working on it."

"I'm too detail oriented. I never want to leave anything out and I want everything to be perfect. This is bad because it slows down my work. Initially, I tried to work faster to compensate, but that only made me sloppy. So I decided to put more emphasis on priority and planning. By doing so, I'm hoping that I can make the proper decisions on what to work on and what to intentionally leave out."

Both of these examples show an answer that is acceptable. Although being impatient is not good, it shows that you are a quick learner and that you like efficiency. The second displays a person that is detail oriented, which can be seen as a good trait. Finally, both answers identify the weakness and show the actions of correcting it.

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