Biz Bits: Key interview questions job seekers should expect

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Two specialists from Brown Mackie College - Miami have teamed up to offer insight into questions interviewees are likely to hear. Human resources generalist Beverly Smith is responsible for hiring qualified professionals at Brown Mackie. Gizelle Ortiz-Velazquez, director of career services at Brown Mackie, coaches students and graduates on interview preparedness. Together, they outline key interview questions to expect.

- What do you know about us? "I usually begin with this question," says Smith. "This lets me know how well a candidate researched the company. When applicants know the company and understand the position, they are able to talk about their marketable skills and how they relate to the job. The answer tells me a lot about how qualified they are to be here."

- Tell me about yourself as it relates to the position. "This is a broad question that lets the interviewer know if you have a good sense of the position and the company," says Ortiz-Velazquez. "I coach students to stay away from personal information and focus on skill sets and how they relate to the position. It also opens the door for students who don't have much experience to sell themselves to an employer.”

- What are your strengths and weaknesses? "A standard question that people many people dread, but it's asked often. “Employers are tying to find out how you see yourself," Smith says. "The answer can demonstrate how you approach a challenge, and maybe help identify areas for improvement."

- What changes will impact your industry in next three years? "Everyone should expect at least one question specific to the industry," Smith says. "It's important for an applicant to demonstrate involvement in professional associations and awareness of industry issues and changes."

- What do you like most and least about your current or last job? "Employers will ask this question to discover your mindset. You don't ever want to talk negatively about another company during an interview. It's a red flag for an employer," Ortiz-Velazquez says. "If someone is willing to share negative comments about a current or previous position, the next negative comments may be said about the position sought now. You can point out past responsibilities you didn't care for, but always keep your answer positive."

- ARA

BBB Watch

Offers to help consumers out of debt are extremely tempting in troubling economic times. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to know the differences among the heavily promoted action plans, including debt negotiation, debt settlement and debt elimination. Without understanding the differences, consumers could end up making their financial situation worse, warns the BBB.  

"Consumers are bombarded every day with ads and e-mails offering services to manage or reduce debt. It is hard to know what offer may work for them, let alone if the company can be trusted," said Steve J. Bernas of the BBB. "Families in debt may think their situation can't get any worse. However, not understanding the differences among debt negotiation, consolidation or elimination firms can actually lead to increased debt and even bigger worries."

For more advice and referrals on dealing with debt including how to manage a budget, go to www.bbb.org.

The List

According to Tecca, here are the best smart phone apps for television lovers:

- GetGlue

- IMDB Mobile

- Shazam

- TV.com Mobile

- InToNow

Number to Know

18 out of 20 areas tracked by Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller saw home prices fall from February to March.

Tech Talk

Samsung Electronics recently announced that the company will continue to use Google’s Android software on its tablet computers.

GateHouse News Service