Knowing how to answer a difficult question during a job interview is a valuable skill. It's important to come across as both honest and confident without appearing too self-assured. You need to be ready for anything and be able to think fast. As part of your interview prep, you should plan the answers to the standard questions and try to anticipate what you will be asked. With the right preparation, you can turn a tough interview question into a chance to show off your best qualities. 1. "What is your biggest weakness?" This question can go one of three ways. Either you choose a weakness so perfunctory it doesn’t offer anything of value ("I really find it hard to stop working"), or you'll jeopardise your chances of getting the job by saying you don't know how to do it. Ideally, take the third option: Identify a credible weakness, but elaborate specifically how you overcame it. This demonstrates your problem-solving skills and makes you appear optimistic and pro active. 2. "Give me an example where you completed X or give me an example when you did Y" When giving examples in a competency-based interview, remember to be clear and detailed. Giving examples is like telling a story — you have a start, middle and end with a clear order. Focus on staying on track and don't get sidetracked during your explanation. Most importantly, use "I" rather than "we". In competency-based interviews, interviewers are looking for your competencies, not your team's. Interviewers will fail candidates that don't demonstrate their direct input into a project. 3. "Why are you leaving your current job?" This is a very telling question that reveals more about you than you might think. A negative response, like "I wasn't challenged" or "My co-workers and I didn't get on" doesn't tell the interviewer anything valuable. Embedded in these responses is that someone or something in the company was wrong. These types of answers demonstrate a negative mindset. Be positive about your current position and your future prospects. Talk about how a change will empower you and enable you to flourish. 4. "What sort of salary are you looking for?" You want to aim high, but don't put yourself out of salary range? On the other hand, if your target salary is too low, you leave the employer room to go even lower. During an interview, you could try to skirt around the question with a broad answer, such as, “My salary expectations are in line with my experience and qualifications.” Or, “If this is the right job for me, I am sure we can come to an agreement on salary.” But if the interviewer is after a specific number, make sure you've done your research or discussed this question with your recruiter to get a feel for what the employer is expecting to pay. 5. "What is your most significant achievement?" This question is designed to assess your values and attitude as much as your achievements. You're more likely to come across well if you choose to discuss something you're genuinely proud of, which could be because it involved leading others, overcoming obstacles or persisting in the face of the odds. 6. "Why should I hire you?" To best answer this question, go back to your CV and look through it for the three to five things that make you outstanding. These qualities should accent your work ability, such as problem solving and tenacity. Remember, the notion is that past performance is always the best predictor of future performance. 7. "How would your friends describe you?" This is another question that is best answered with an anecdote. Context for why you think your friends would describe you in a certain way adds credibility to your claim. But be humble, not arrogant. Telling them that you are amazing and loved by everyone is more likely to be a red flag to interviewers. 8. "Explain a complex database to your 6 year old nephew" Explaining complex systems or processes shows the interviewer that you have a solid and adaptable understanding of what you do. Particularly in tech, where not only do you have to work with complex systems, you are often required to explain things to non-proficient stakeholders. Make sure you are able to describe what you do in simple terms, using comparisons that most people can understand, and concepts that are easy to grasp. 9. "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Hiring managers want to know that you’re setting realistic goals for your career as well as gauge your ambition and whether or not the role aligns with your goals and your plan for growth. It’s critical to have your own vision for where your career is going and how it will fit with the employers’ strategies going forward. It's in companies' best interest to make sure they're making their workers' skills, experience, and interests a priority and to help them navigate and nurture a growth and development plan. 10. "Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person" This question gets to the core of what you're like to work with. The hiring manager needs to know what type of co-worker you struggle to collaborate with and whether you know how to find a way to work together successfully with that type. This is especially important for project work or short term contracts. You may be jumping into established teams or even leading them. You will be paid to do a job, and that means getting along with all types of people, even ones who don't work like you do.
More and more businesses are realising the need for experienced InfoSec specialists. According to PWC's Global State of Information Security, the growth of digital devices is driving risk management. Businesses see the real need for emerging technologies, but are more aware than ever of the risks. We've had the opportunity to grab 5 minutes with Senior InfoSec Consultant, Uwe Fischer. He talked about the changing face of information security and the challenges businesses face in 2018. How did you get into Info Sec? After finishing my masters degree in computer science I was fortunate to receive a job offer in IT Sec thanks to good networking and my personal qualification. You work in a niche role. What specific challenges do you face? The day to day challenge is raising awareness of cyber security, and inform about the necessity. With enhanced security comes decreased usability. There seems to always be trade-off to be made. When it comes to enforcing strict security guidelines, high level management needs to be onboard for support. However gaining trust and identifying key decision makers is tough as not all may be visible by looking at an organisational chart. What are the biggest security threats to businesses today? Recent articles recommend focusing on inside threats. Over privileged user accounts on software systems for me is the most severe aspect. Employees are enabled to execute unwanted actions be it with or without malicious intent. Combined with the all-time favourite “weak passwords“, an intruder can too easily cause hazard. How is the cyber security sector adapting to new cyber threats? From my understanding the focus is shifting to find ways to better react to threats rather than trying to close all holes. SIEM, CASB and artificial intelligence are going to be focus points. One promising addition to traditional measures is having the ability to mitigate incidents, while trying to keep user experience as lean as possible. How can businesses protect themselves better? This question has to be answered on an individual basis. But in general, it is always recommended to regularly have security professionals do tests and analysis. These will yield individual recommendations. Addressing threats to cyber security must continue to be an ongoing, data-led process. What has been your biggest professional success? In the banking industry it is mandatory to fulfil regulatory requirements. Certification of users and their privileges on IT systems is one of the security-relevant requirements and effects all employees. My team and I, as lead consultant onsite at the customer, have established an IT system and assisted in multiple successful executions of certifications, creating trust and reliability. What advice would you give to IT professionals looking to move into Info Sec? Be ready to constantly improve. Keep up-to-date, know your field of expertise in detail, pay attention to tangents and think outside of the box. It is vital to prevent incidents through architectural, technical and regulatory means, but there will be an incident eventually. And when that time comes, you need a strategy to cope with it. Preferably beforehand! Information Security demands expertise from specialist IT professionals. At Montash, we identify top information security talent to ensure that you get the protection you need.
In our latest blog, we spoke to Dan Palmer, Principal Consultant here at Montash. Over the last three years he has worked his way up from Researcher to managing international relationships for leading tech clients. We asked him 7 questions to get the inside scoop on what it's like to work in recruitment. 1. What Did You Do Before Getting Into Recruitment? I left college at 18 and faced the question that everyone in my shoes has to answer: Go to university or choose something else. For me, something else was heading into London and start working. I worked for an insurance company for two years, which gave me plenty of phone sales experience in a commercial environment. 2. Why Did You Choose Montash? I had a family friend who has been successful in recruitment many years ago and after Hastings, I found that developing relationships with clients was something I discovered a passion for. So in 2014, I got a job as a Researcher at Montash for the Oil & Gas market… and I haven't looked back since. 3. Tell Us About Your Experience in Recruitment My first year was all about learning the recruitment ropes. I learned very quickly that phone time is golden. The more time you can spend talking with clients and stakeholders, the faster you build relationships and the better you can serve their needs. During that first year I learned a lot about international recruitment. After getting promoted to consultant after a year, I moved to IT and, building on my experience, helped build up Montash's presence in the German IT recruitment market. I've been working on that to this day, working on strategies to develop myself personally and helping drive the business forward. 4. What Challenges Have You Faced? When I started out, I found that getting the technical elements down was a big challenge. One of the tricks with being a great consultant is understanding the market you're working in inside and out. For IT, you need to understand a great deal of technical knowledge. IT is a competitive market and sometimes you get candidates with several jobs on the table to choose from, so you have to be flexible. This is a people business, so it's important to be sympathetic and understanding, no matter what happens. 5. What Have Been Your Biggest Successes So Far? I've had two promotions in three years, which I think is a great success. It just goes to show how far you can go in recruitment if you have the drive. It's a rewarding career. I think the other successes were in securing some top clients. We now have strong relationships in place with three of the top five German companies. 6. How Do You Get To The Next Level? Putting a plan into action. I think you can spend too much time worrying and not enough time on being proactive. A plan without action is just a plan at the end of the day. For me, I want to focus on developing our relationships and working with a diverse range clients - that will be my personal growth. 7. What Would You Tell Your Younger Self? Be less critical of yourself. Do the activity and the results will follow. Just do it. Focus on what you're doing, not what everyone else is doing – you'll see better results that way. Finally, enjoy the ups and learn from the downs.
Java is a particularly attractive language for businesses, as it’s very robust and has therefore remained consistent despite changing trends and shifts in the programming world. Java is recognised as one of the best programming language in its ability to scale, which makes it an attractive programming language for companies that are looking to expand internationally. While there are many developers with a host of experience working with the most in-demand coding language, Java developer remains one of the most difficult jobs to fill. Java is everywhere… and maybe that's the problem? Coders love to code, even in their spare time. In the past, Java was often a budding developer's first step into the world of coding. Today, Java is not always the first coding language they learn. Java remains popular for enterprise applications, thanks in part by its massive library serving as the cornerstone for so many applications. But that presence may be why many developers don't use the coding language for their personal projects. Many talented software developers are active in one or more of the many communities dedicated to exploratory programming, and they may want to work with a different language in their free time. Understanding what today's developer might be looking for can help businesses take stock of their own software programming direction. Great Java devs are more than just coders Whether it's project work or a permanent position, great developers don't just sit and code but are able to communicate and take on the client-facing side of the work, mentor, influence and upskill junior developers. Strong communication skills, an understanding of the entire development ecosystem and expertise in the specific area, and the ability to take on team leadership and even client-facing responsibilities are all skills that take years to learn. The disciplines of great developers take a career to develop. Hiring managers looking to hook in the top talent need to present opportunities that are intriguing and offer developers a chance to flex their creative muscles as well as their technical ones. Martin Rennison, Head of Corporate Accounts here at Montash feels that high demand for Java developers means that top candidates can be selective in committing to a company, whether for a project or full-time employment. "Most candidates have three to four opportunities on the go as a minimum, with the interview processes consisting of at least a call, a test and a face to face session. This means the average candidate can be participating 12 interviews. So when a client asks a candidate to do a six-hour test, they are immediately put off due to the time constraints on their schedule. "If companies want to attract the best talent, we would recommend shortening the test and trying to do that during the face to face session." This way it feels like one less process which could beat the market to great talent. So, once you've found your ideal candidate, you need to woo them with a streamlined onboarding and interview process, as well as presenting them with the challenges they want.