It absolutely pains me to hear or read someone giving a well researched presentation of facts make a blunder with grammar. I'm usually listening or reading intently and then BOOM "your's".
"That's not a word," I think, "that's a silly mistake for someone to make that's making an educated argument. How much can I believe anything this person says if I can prove that s/he doesn't know how to use the language?"
Now I don't care what they're saying. I'll try to read the rest of the article or listen to the presentation, but it will happen again and will grate on me. It's all I can think about for at least 5 seconds afterwards and now I've lost the thread of the story. I've gotta go back and reread if it's an article, or just try to pick back up if it's public speaking.
I'm going to post some common mistakes here, just hoping that someone will read it and improve their grammar. Correct spelling and grammar will never hurt you in a professional situation.
1) it's: This means "it is" not "its" which is the possessive of "it."
2) your: This is the possessive of "you." This is not the same as the contraction of "you" and "are," "you're."
3) an: This is a different word from "and." This made reading a bit of history about the "Baghdad Battery" nearly impossible to read.
4) apostrophes: These don't allow you to make a plural. Generally the letter "s" does this for you, all by itself. If you're not sure, look it up!
5) quotation marks: These don't add emphasis. They are used to say that something is not necessarily genuinely as it seems.
6) exclamation points: These do all the emphasizing they need to with just one. Adding more doesn't change anything, but it makes you look like either a dolt or a hyperactive child.
7) question marks: Only one of these is needed to get the job done. When you have three, does it mean you're trying to ask the question three times? That doesn't make sense.
8) ellipses/... : These are formed by putting three periods in a row. Not four, nor two, nor as many will get you all the way across the screen.
I know I'm missing something here. Have anything to add to this list?
The idea is that they ask a question like "Describe a time when you were working on a team project and you had to motivate your teammates to accomplish their tasks." This is a really broad question. You're really answering these questions: What was the situation? What did you do? How did you handle this situation and what was the result? What they're really trying to find out about you is how you have reacted to situations that you may get into again and how you'll act then. Past behavior is not like the stock market, in that it IS indicative of future performance.
To give you some clues, I'll go through each question they're actually asking.
Q: What was the situation?
A: Tell them who you were working with, any important factors about these relationships, and the problem itself.
Q: What did you do?
A: Tell them how you interacted with those around you, and how you went about solving the problem, including any obstacles that came up.
Q: How did you handle this situation and what was the result?
A: If there was an obstacle, tell them how you overcame it, especially including fall-back plans you made ahead of time. The most important part to the entire story is that the result must be good. Even if there was a terrible situation and you turned it into just a normal day, that's not good enough. Stress the parts of the problem or obstacles that were stressing you at the time, and show how you solved that problem. These results should be at least a 7 on the 1-10 scale of how it ended up."
Some more important points here are to dress the part. You want to fit in, but stand out. I know this sounds terribly contradictory, but it works. When everyone in the waiting room is wearing black shoes, black slacks, a black suit jacket, black belt, a blue shirt and a yellow tie, you want to wear some of these things but not all. Out of all these, I only kept the black suit jacket and made everything else work for me. As proof that this does not hurt, I have a record of about a 4/5 success rate for interviewing. If you have no idea how to dress yourself for such things, drag a friend to a department store and ask opinions on matching colors.
Make sure you look presentable in other ways too. Men, you don't have to shave off your beard, but it does need to be neat, not patchy. If you can get your facial hair to look like a wave, lightning bolt, or flames, I'm with you, but not for the interview. Posture and demeanor are important too. Stand up straight and walk with purpose. That's as general as I can be on this topic.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Emphasize your strengths, but be honest about your weaknesses. If you know you're not great at something, attempt to improve it. You'll probably pick up something as long as you're trying. When you do strengthen your weakness, at least you can show that you've been working on it, and have improved.
This is about as deep as I can go on a subject as broad as interview advice. Good luck out there!