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How to Answer the 2 Most Common Interview Questions

Tune into our previous Live Video as Andrew Statter answers the most common question in first interviews and the most difficult question at the end of an interview process posted by our followers on LinkedIn 

  1. What are your strengths & weaknesses?
  2. What are your salary expectations?

Watch the video below for his suggestions!

Contact us for more information and support on how to take the next step in your career

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How to highlight your soft skills during an interview

Often people get caught up in focusing on appealing to their experience, technical skills, and success stories in order to make a good impression and secure their career steps.

While checking off all the boxes on those is extremely important – how do employers choose between multiple equally skilled candidates? Naturally, they will take into account a variety of factors including compensation, culture fit as well as their “sixth sense” or a “gut feeling”.

However, often what they call a “gut feeling” is their way of expressing how they interpreted your soft skills.

So let’s first take a step back and go over what exactly “soft skills” are:

Perseverance & Dedication
Problem Solving
Adaptability, Creativity & Problem Solving
Time Management
Communication and Persuasion
Enthusiasm & Passion
Now, what you need to remember is most hiring managers are not going directly to ask you “tell me about your perseverance”… Rather, it is going to be up to you to show them your soft skills in the way you answer their questions.

So, the method to do this is simple yet quite difficult to do.

What – What – How – Result method.

Clearly introduce the problem/challenge that you faced (What)
Share what you did in that situation (What)
Add more information on the steps you took to deliver (How)
Round this answer off with the result of your actions (Result)
As an example:

Question: Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with a difficult client?

Answer: We had a long standing client who wanted to renegotiate our prices lower (What). I met with the client with the intent to keep favourable terms and improve our relationship (What). In this case, I took a consultative approach to ask why they wanted to lower prices, and to understand if they were not satisfied with our service. Through this, could identify that our client would actually be better served by one of our new service lines which addressed his concerns (How). As a result, he signed a new contract with us, for an upgraded premium service (Result).

What soft skills can we see in this answer?

– Perseverance, Problem Solving, Adaptability, Communication and Persuasion

Bottom line: When you are explaining your role, results, situations you figured out, you must talk about “how” you did it, not only the results. The age old idiom “results are everything” is not enough when you have tough competition.

When you have 2 candidates both with the same results, then the deciding factor comes down to the “how”.

It is in this “how” that you show your dedication, your problem solving skills, your adaptability and teamwork, your tenacity.

Over years of recruitment, we have even seen employers choose candidates with lesser results because their soft skills – their reasoning and actions, were much higher. It just hadn’t connected to the results.

So, the takeaway?

Don’t rely on your CV and hard skills to land you the job, and even if you may be lacking in some of the hard skills, don’t give up on applying, as you may be more qualified than you even realize.

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Hire Better & Faster With These 5 Tips

The ideal interview process – speed and engagement

Titan GreenTech’s Andrew Statter has worked with over 100 clients in various industries in Japan. He’s compiled a few of the best practices he’s seen to ensure quality candidate screening, high level of engagement and maximum offer to close ratio.

Hiring manager interviews first

Who’s business is most affected by this hire? Who will be the biggest influencer in the candidate’s decision? Not HR, not the global counterpart, but the person they will see and interact with most once they join the company; the hiring manager. Putting the prospective candidate and the hiring manager together at the very first step increases engagement, and accelerates the hiring process – resulting in higher closing rates. Yes, the hiring manager’s time is valuable – this is why you should be very selective about your agency partners and work exclusively with an agent you can trust to screen and only provide high quality candidates.

Two-way conversation

Overwhelmingly, the temperature of the post interview feedback I receive when the interview was held as a two-way business discussion between professionals is positive. The question, question, question, pressure cooker interview is so old school and needs to be buried along with fax machines and hankos. A savvy interviewer will build a structured conversation, with key topics and questions built in that will answer the key points without the candidate feeling they are in an airport customs interrogation room. 

First interview: Tell me about your experience at XX.Co

Second interview: Tell me about your experience at XX.Co

Third interview: Tell me about your experience at XX.Co

Candidate = bored. Your insight = limited.

Clear roles of each interviewer

DESIGN your interview process. Hiring manager takes point and goes through background in detail, HR nails down the cultural fit and growth path, VP/MD looks big picture at leadership potential, technical stakeholder comes in to dig deep on the hard skill requirements. The angle and line of questioning each time should be different. This will increase candidate engagement, but more importantly, it allows your team to have a wider, deeper view of the candidate’s potential to do the job, and to grow within the organization over a longer term.


2021 is the worst supply vs demand economics I have ever seen for hiring companies. This is very much a candidate driven market (it always is, but now more than ever). From our data, +40% of drop-outs from interview process are not due to culture mismatch, bad interviews – but simply because the process is too slow! Quick tips for speeding up the process: Hiring manager first, HR+senior interview together, pencil in interviews before prior interview feedback, address any critical admin (references, tests) early.

Show the love in the FIRST offer!

The biggest mistake I see: Lowball offers. Somebody decides that they can probably get the candidate for a little less money and thinks ‘this gives us room to negotiate later’. The truth is: the FIRST offer you give the candidate says ‘this is how much we value you’. Even if you increase later, the damage is done – and to regain the feeling of being valued from the candidate, you often have to pay well above what you SHOULD have offered first. 

We train candidates to say to you ‘I’ll consider your best offer’.

You need to come to the table with your best offer – or that candidate will be at your competitor, working against you, when you could have had them working for you.

Titan’s service goes beyond simply introducing candidates. We love to partner with purpose driven companies and help them attract the best talent in the market. To do this, we help design your interview process, build your employer brand and candidate outreach strategy. For the next level in recruitment partnership, get in touch with us at Titan.