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The Best Defense 'Difficult Interview Questions

In an interview, worrying about your perceived inadequacies, or what can be viewed as negative items on your history of employment, will get you nowhere. In fact, having a negative focus on things often comes through in the way you answer.

interview questions, and even in your body language. An applicant who shifts, plays with things like their shirt cuffs, or who loses track of the subject under discussion, is sabotaging their own chance at success.

Okay, so you have some weak points. Maybe there was a time two years ago, that you were out of work for eight months. Or the job that is open demands a certain skill level that you haven't quite achieved yet. Neither of those things can knock you out of contention like a lack of confidence in yourself.

We have a simple, two-part solution: First, make the best out of your "worst", and then make the company's priorities, your own.

Study the weak points in your resume and build on them. If you've had a period of unemployment, think about the experiences you had during that time, the businesses you visited, and what you learned about the current economy and job market. Show that you are attentive to detail, and enjoy learning from unexpected opportunities.

Express enthusiasm for the chance to expand on your present skills. Apply the same strategy to any other "weak" points you may have. Even a job that you left due to a personality conflict, can be given a positive light by emphasizing the experience you gained. Whatever you do, leave bitterness and pity at home. An employer wants someone with the desire to move onward and upward.

That brings us to the second item: presenting yourself in a way that makes you compatible with the company's needs, and highlights how you can benefit their present or future plans. Study the company's general business, and the department where you are applying, in particular. Find out why they are hiring someone (Did an employee quit? Retire? Are they expanding?) then emphasize the skills and experience that make you not only capable of filling the position, but of bringing new ideas and a positive attitude to it.

Find an "up" to every down point in your work history or resume. Then sell your skills and personality with an eye on the company agenda. The combination of competence and enthusiasm is often the formula for a successful interview.

About the Author
Joel Vance is an Human Resources expert who has been in HR for 17 years and interviewed 3,159 people. He has also taught at 4 major universities around the country and currently has a best selling book on interviewing entitled The Perfect Interview.

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