A short course of lectures
«Acing the interview»
What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? How did your boss or previous bosses get the best out of you? EpilogueHow long do you think it will take for you to make a meaningful contribution to our organization? Have you ever had to carry out unpopular policies or decisions? Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit? Business or personal?Do You Work Well with Others?Don't talk too much or too little. This position with our company requires a college degree and I noticed on your resume you only state that you attended college but it didn't say you graduated? Why did you quit? How Do You Handle Difficult Situations?Top Five Mistakes Candidates Make When They Think They Have Been Eliminated After an InterviewIn what way has your present job prepared you to take on greater responsibilities? What are the reasons for your success in this profession? Tell me about a time when you faced resistance or rejection to your ideas or actions. What did you do? How long have you (or you all) been with the company? What was your background before you got here? If I get two to three years of experience in this job, how have I enhanced my experience for the future? How many hours in your previous jobs did you have to work each week to get the job done? You've been the president of a firm (or the owner of your own firm). How do we know that you know how to work for someone else and that you will take direction? Will You Be a Fit with Us?Describe the most difficult problem you had to deal with. How you deal with disgruntled employees/subordinates? Questions to Ask When Working with an External RecruiterHow would you describe your own personality? When do you expect a promotion? If you inherited a lot of money, say or million, what would you do? Can You Do the Job?Successful Technique No. 1What do you think makes the position you are interviewing for is different from the jobs you've had or the other positions you are interviewing for? You live a long way from here. It will take you 45 (or 1 hour or 1.5 hours) minutes to get to work one way. With the price of gas, as well as your time, after a while you might lose enthusiasm for the job. You need to sell your particular "features, advantages, and benefits." What would be your ideal work group? What are your three greatest strengths? Three greatest weaknesses?Does this company have any glaring problems that I should know about? What makes this company good—or not so good? What can you do for us that someone else cannot do? What is your management style? The Nature of CompaniesTime is your enemy. What was the last thing you disagreed with your company about? How do you approach doing things that you really don't like to do?What do people like most about you? What do they like least? Questions to Ask in a Group Interview Beyond the Initial InterviewWhat is the most recent skill you have learned? Based on what you know of me, what might my weaknesses be in light of this job? What are the company's major strengths and weaknesses? For what have you been most frequently criticized? Focus on the process of interviewing and don't worry about the result. If you knew then what you know now, how would you change your life or your career? May I speak with the staff I will be managing? When faced with a very difficult business decision, what do you do?How involved is this person (or group) in the day-to-day function of the job? Perspective on What Recruiters Can and Can't Do for YouHave I taken good notes about the company to refer to during the interview? Rate yourself on the scale of one to ten. Have you ever "failed" in a job? How do you rank yourself personally and professionally among your peers? Watch your body language. Questions to Ask Yourself Even Before the Interviewing ProcessGive clear explanations. Initial Interview Question MistakesWhat specifically have you learned from the jobs that you held most recently? What do you look for in a job? Being the NightmareWhat are you looking for that you haven't found in the candidates you have interviewed? What is the biggest personal mistake you have ever made? If a personal commitment conflicts with a business emergency, what do you do? Gee whiz, you have sure stayed short periods of time in your last three jobs. What's wrong? Describe in detail your last two positions. The most qualified candidate does not always get the job. We're a very aggressive organization here. You seem to be a fairly laid-back, rather quiet person. How do you get along with very aggressive folks? What was the most difficult part of your last two jobs? Who should you get an interview with? Questions to Ask in a "Marathon" Interview SessionFinal Question in the Initial InterviewHow do you deal with people whom you don't like and who don't like you in the workplace? How This Affects YouWhat Kind of Worker Will You Be?Warm Call ScriptHas there ever been a situation where your work was criticized? Questions to Ask an Internal Recruiter, Human Resources Representative, or Third-Party Internal "Screener"Why should I hire an outsider when I could fill the job with someone inside the company? What is the most difficult part of the job? Dress professionally. Priorities constantly change in our firm. Recurring challenges and limitations to resources push us really hard. Often it is hard to maintain a positive attitude, and the department gets emotionally down. Has this ever happened to you and how would you deal with it? What kind of reports am I going to be responsible for? Are they internal, company reports, or governmental ones? Successful Technique No. 2How long have you been looking for a person? Why have people in the past failed to do well at this job? Questions to Ask Before the Initial InterviewAre You a Risk?How many people have you interviewed for this job? When do you plan on retiring? What are the trends in your industry? What are you currently earning? Or, what have you been earning most recently? We sometimes run into a person who makes unreasonable demands of us. Tell me about a time when this happened to you. Have you ever doubted your decision about firing someone? Why didn't you hire from within? Top Ten Mistakes That Candidates Make When They Are Invited Back for Subsequent InterviewsCan you describe the ideal candidate? What area of your skills/professional development you want to improve at this time? Your Next (Possible) Employer's Generational DNAHave you ever been involved in long-range planning? Questions Regarding Your FeelingsIllegal QuestionsHow often have you had to fire someone? Describe a time when an internal customer tried your patience. We all have times when we are very proud of what we've accomplished but sometimes we don't receive the recognition we think we should. Tell me about a time that this has happened to you and how you dealt with it. How does our position compare with the other opportunities you are currently interviewing for? How will my success be measured in this job? Describe how you make decisions. What are the traits you see in me that are good for this job and made you want to hire me? Do you like me as a person? Walk me through a day in your current or most recent job. What is the most recent business lesson you have learned and how did you learn it? How is your performance measured? How often? How does that relate to the job I'm considering? Is there anything in my background or experience that needs to be clarified? Sometimes people stretch the truth or don't tell the truth in order to protect themselves or their organization. Have you ever found it necessary to do this? What is the least relevant job that you had? I understand that the company is considering a merger (acquisition, buyout, etc.). How do you think it will affect the company? The job you are interviewing for requires you to "wear a lot of different hats." You have never done some of these functions, so how do we know that you are going to be able to do them? What are the major problems facing the company and this department? Questions to Ask Related to Subsequent InterviewsTop Ten Mistakes Candidates Make in an Initial InterviewAre You Management Material? What Kind of Manager Are You?I would like to speak to peers about the position that I am interviewing for. Can we arrange that? What reservations might you have about working here? You really don't have as much experience as we would like; why should we hire you? How did you feel about your workload at that company? And how did you divide your time on your major areas of responsibility? Do you want to move into management? How would you describe your personal character? What was your background before you got here? Tell me about an experience that illustrates your preference to be proactive in speaking to and maintaining contact with others or to wait for others to speak first or contact you. How long have you been here at the company? Take notes. Questions to Ask the Hiring Authority at the Time of an OfferQuestions to Ask in One-on-One InterviewsIf I have budgetary responsibility, how large is the budget? Has the department been above or below budget, presently and in the recent past? What are some of the things in your last job that you didn't like?Knowing what you know about the job you are interviewing for, what are the things that you're going to dislike the most? What Today's Job Seekers Need to Know About Today's Hiring Authorities and Their CompaniesWhat is the turnover in this department? What has been the most difficult challenge in finding the right candidate? What interests you most about this job? Please describe the working environment. You will be older than anyone else here. How does that make you feel? Have you ever had personal financial difficulties? Can you work under pressure? Tell me about the most pressure situation you were in. How do you motivate your subordinates? What have you done that shows initiative? What are your professional and personal expectations of me? What have you done to implement improvements in your work group organization? What condition is morale in and why? Exactly how much travel is involved with the job? How would you define your job as a manager? Do I know anyone in the company? Top Ten Mistakes Candidates Make When They Are Told They Are Going to Get an OfferQuestions to Ask When the Interviewer Is the Hiring AuthorityFear of Making a Hiring MistakeWhat kinds of decisions are most difficult for you? Is there relocation now or down the road? After I get to know you, what will annoy me about you? Tell me about the last time one of your subordinates made a big mistake. What did you do? Describe a situation in your last one or two jobs where you made a mistake. What was the mistake and how did you rectify it? Close for the next interview. How the Internet Can Help YouDo you set goals for yourself? This job and this company are real big risks. We don't know how long we're going to be able to make it. What do you think? What do you know about the position for which you are applying?Can you explain the organizational structure of the company and of the department? If you were me, what question should I ask that you really don't want to answer? What do you do in your spare time? What are the most difficult aspects of working here or the job itself?All You Need to Know About Money NegotiationsAsking Your Own Questions of Yourself, Your Recruiter, and Your Potential EmployerWhat is it like to work here? Your resume shows that you been with one company a long time without any appreciable increase in rank or salary. Tell me about this.Give me an example of your past job experience that highlights your ability to build action plans or create programs that support management's strategic goals and direction. Give me an example of a new or innovative idea that you came up with or implemented. How and with Whom to Get an InterviewQuestions You Must Ask Yourself When You Get an OfferIf you were to invite three famous people to dinner, whom would you invite? What This Means to YouHow many people have been in this job in the last five years? Where are they now? Why have you not been promoted sooner? If you're so good, why haven't you been promoted? What do you like and dislike about your present boss? We all have to deal with "power struggles" or resolve win/lose situations. Tell me about the last time you were involved in such a situation. Have you done the best work you are capable of doing? Were you fired? And, why were you fired? What do you think of your current/last boss? Tell stories. How did you get your last job? Tell me about a situation where you were disappointed in your own performance. How would you describe your personality? How These Things Affect YouYou are awfully young for this position, aren't you? I'm afraid that, in building your career, you would only stay with us for a short period of time. Describe a situation where you personally or professionally failed.What are the worst aspects of the job? How do you make your opinions known when you disagree with management or your boss? Who are the "problem" employees? Are you creative? As a manager, how have you promoted diversity? Taking on the same style as the interviewer doesn't work. What have you learned from the jobs that you held? How often is the turnover in the job I'm discussing with you? What kind of personal experience, outside of work, do you have for this job? Being a True, Supportive CoachWhat is the most important professional lesson that you have learned from the jobs that you have had? Do you know when to lead and when to follow? The Four Types of Qualifying QuestionsWhat makes you better than any other candidate I can hire? Personality Styles and the Individuals You Will MeetHow These Things Affect YouHow would you describe the philosophy of the company as well as your personal philosophy? What do you consider most valuable: a high salary, job recognition, or advancement? How This Affects YouDoes he or she usually agree with your opinions? Why should I hire you? When will this person get back to you with feedback? What have you done in the past that has demonstrated a high level of personal integrity? Your Emotional StatePutting Yourself in ContextI don't think with your experience and background you are capable of doing this job. What do you think? Tell me about yourself and your last few jobs. The Follow-Up ActivityYou have moved up in the management ladder rapidly, but it seems like you've leveled off. Why? Are you a good employee/manager/engineer/accountant/sales person/administrative support person/etc.? How do you know? Based on our interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job? I see you are working on your MBA/graduate degree. What are you going to do when you get it? Can this type of organization help me down the line? Does the company have any present or pending legal issues? Describe a situation where you had to make a "seat of the pants" decision without a company policy as a model. Are there any of the staff members who are in line for a promotion? Did any of them apply for this job? Ending the Initial InterviewHow do you stack/rank the candidates? Am I your strongest one? Are you going to recommend me as the best candidate to your superior? Are you a leader or follower? Describe the best job that you've ever had and why was it so much better than other ones you have had. PrologueHow has he or she felt about other candidates that you have sent?What is this person going to like or dislike about my experience or background? Follow-Up Phone CallWhat are the things that you find most difficult to do? And how did you deal with them? How do we know that you will be successful at this job? Have I done my research on the company? Questions to Ask in a Telephone "Screening" InterviewWhy do you like working here? Give me an example of when you were refused or told "no" by your company or supervisors. What will your boss say when you resign? Will he or she be upset?Do you prefer to delegate or be a "hands-on" employee? What is your definition of success? Of failure? And how do you rate yourself in these two categories? Tell me about a time when your team fell apart. Why did it happen? What did you do? Tell me about a time when you had to "get your hands dirty" by doing a job that was one or two steps below you. What is the management style of your boss and the company? Explain your hiring procedure. Is the company planning any layoffs or downsizings? How do you keep updated and informed in a professional sense?This position is one or two levels below the ones you have had in the past. How do we know we won't hire you and then in six or seven months someone calls you with a position like that and you leave? Have you ever had to fire someone? Describe the circumstances?Paradox of InterviewingQuestions to Ask Yourself About Your Strengths and WeaknessesHow long have you been here? What is your role in the interviewing process? Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin to Look for a Job if You Are EmployedQuestions to Ask in Interviews with Potential PeersWhat kind of benefits are you expecting? You don't have as much experience in some of the aspects of this job. How do we know if you can do it? It's a numbers game. What do you think are the most difficult aspects of the job I'm interviewing for? Who will be doing the initial interviewing? Today's Hiring Authority and YouDo I have a list of good questions to ask the interviewer based on the research I have done? How much do you know about the duties or responsibilities of the managers or superiors two levels below you? CustomizationImportant Reminders About InterviewsThe Uncertain Attitude of the U.S. WorkerHow long would you expect to be at this position if you got it? Describe a very difficult person that you had to work with and how you handled it. Tell me about a time when you practiced diplomacy when communicating with another person or group. You have been making $XXX,XXX, and the money that is associated with this position is significantly less. How do we know that you will be happy? Who are the "stars" that can help my transition go smoothly? Businesses That Can Help You Get an InterviewAcing the Initial InterviewWere you ever denied a pay raise, got a poor performance review, or were passed up for a promotion? What did you do? What is your management style? What kind of people do you hang out with? If you could, what would you change about the position you're interviewing for? Describe a major project that you have worked on and how it contributed to the overall good of your employer. Why did you get hired here? What did you do to get the job? You will be younger than anyone else here. How does that make you feel? Can you identify the critical needs in a situation, deal with them, and put the others on the back burner? How many people is this person going to interview? Why do you want to hire me? What did I demonstrate to you that the other candidates didn't? What are your hobbies? Outside interests? Books you've read recently? Who is your greatest personal mentor? Do you communicate best with written or oral communications? What are the biggest problems in the department? How would you describe the culture and values of the company? When would you like to fill the position? What type of turnover have you had as a manager? Working with RecruitersSometimes we have to bring conflict out into the open and other times we avoid it or sacrifice our own needs in order to placate others. Tell me about when you've had to make a choice like this. Warm CallsHow do you handle criticism? How is the department perceived by the rest of the company? What made you choose to become a_? Sometimes taking on the style of the interviewer does work. Where do you see yourself five years from now? Or how does this job fit into your career goals? Features, Advantages, and BenefitsQuestions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Look for a Job if You Are Looking Full TimeWhat are one or two things your present or previous co-workers dislike about you? How much time did you take off last year? Some Important Lists for Job HuntersHighlight your experience in dealing with interpersonal conflict disagreements by recalling a difficult situation that you were involved in. How you handle dishonesty? Top Twelve Interview Mistakes Entry-Level Candidates MakeIn your current/last position, state your five most significant accomplishments. Is this organization consistent with the things that I've done in the past? What would you do when you have a great deal of work to accomplish in a short time span? How have you reacted? What is the greatest opportunity facing the company? Its greatest challenge? PerspectiveDo you object to honesty or psychological testing? Are there written goals for the department? Who sets them? The Immediate E-MailWhat special problems do you have with the day-to-day management of your staff? What do I know about the company I'm speaking with? Can you relocate either now or in the future? I'm sure that there were some policies in your previous companies that you didn't agree with. . . . How did you handle those? What do you think about yourself is most important to us? Reference Checking Your Next EmployerIn your present or last jobs, were there any problems that you discovered that had been previously overlooked? How did you deal with them? If I were to accept this offer, what can I do when I start to be most effective and contribute to alleviating your biggest problem? Recognize and use metaphors and analogies to your advantage. If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently? Describe the situation where you had to work with a very difficult person. How did you handle it? Have you ever been asked in any of your jobs to do something unethical? How did you handle it? An Open Letter to SupportersWhat are one or two things you wished you had accomplished in your present or last job and the job before that? You don't have anything until you have an offer. How do you define success? Can I articulate my unique features, advantages, and benefits for this position or the company based on what I know about it? Have prepared questions. What do you like most about this position? And what you like least about this position? Questions to Ask in Interviews Beyond the Initial InterviewDo you ever lie? Keep RecordsQuestions to Ask in the Initial InterviewHow Do Your Skills and Experience Fit?What were the most important/difficult decisions that you made in your present, last job, or even your job before that? You are selling yourself. It isn't a "two way-street." Give us an example of how you got your staff to support an unpopular decision. Can We Work the Money Out?How many levels of management have you had to communicate with? If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently? How do you organize yourself for day-to-day activities? What is the most money that you have ever made? Can you work overtime or on weekends? Why haven't they hired anyone yet? All you can do is all you can do. What kind of job are you looking for? What do you know about the position you are applying for? Are You Going to Be a Long-Term Employee or Will You Leave Quickly?What Today's Job Seekers Need to Know About Themselves and Their CompetitionWhere have you made difficult decisions before and what were they about? What makes you think you can handle this position? Do you have personal and professional goals? How would you describe my potential peers? How are the people in the department going to react to an outsider as a manager? Is this an addition or a replacement? What are the circumstances?Describe the biggest mistake you made in hiring. Recruiters' Biggest Challenge with CandidatesHow many candidates have you interviewed? Analysis of the ScriptHave you ever had to overcome any personal hardships? How long do you plan to be in your position? With the company? What makes this a good company to work for? How much authority will I have in running the department (the group, the facility, etc.?) Why do you want to leave where you are? Or, why did you leave your last position? What do I know about the person I am interviewing with? Is he or she the hiring authority or an intermediary? Did I "Google" all the individuals? What do I know about them personally? How long have you been looking for another position? What is the percentage of turnover in the company? How do you manage to interview while still employed? "No" is the second best answer you can get. The InternetDo I/We Like You?How many candidates have you interviewed? Did I get a copy of the job description before the interview? Why do you want to work here? First impressions are critical. Are there any members of the staff or staffs that should be let go?How would others at your present or previous jobs rate you on a scale of one to ten? What happened to the last person in the job? Why did you come to work here? Leaving VoicemailsI understand we are here to discuss an offer, correct? WOW . . . your grades are really low. What happened? Why did you leave your last job so abruptly? Or why do you want to leave your current job? How do I know you won't do the same here?Describe a situation where you demonstrated a high level of commitment to an organization where you worked. Tell me about a business experience where you had to decide to either lead or to follow. What choice did you make and how did it turn out? Generational DNADescribe a situation where you had to make a quick decision in your last job. How do you make it? On a personal level, what would your previous boss or present boss say about you? What is your energy level like? Describe one of your typical days. Script AnalysisWhat is your greatest accomplishment in each of your last three jobs? You are awfully young for this position, aren't you? Recruiters' Biggest Challenge with Hiring OrganizationsWe play a lot of poker (golf, tennis, bowling, etc.) are around here. Are you any good at it? Are there any difficult personalities on the staff that I will be supervising? Delivery is important. How Much of a Liability Might You Be?Tell me a joke. About the AuthorSupporters: Great Assets or Your Worst NightmareMay I speak with the person who has left or is leaving the job? How This Affects YouWhat is the next person (or groups of persons) I will be interviewing with like? How old is he or she (i.e., what generation in the workforce?) Be aggressive. Why did you apply to our company? What is the next step in this process? What have you told him or her about me? What are people's greatest misperceptions about you? Why are there no internal candidates for this job? Prepare by researching for interviews. What makes you mad? How This Affects YouWhat do you know about our business? How long will you stay with us if you are hired? Or, how do I know that you will stay with us for a reasonable period of time to be effective? Top Five Mistakes Candidates Make in Answering Interview QuestionsWhat to SayDescribe a difficult business problem that you had to deal with and how you did it. What can you contribute most to our organization? In what areas could your boss do a better job? Does the company plan to make any immediate acquisitions or be acquired or change in any way that might affect the job we are discussing? Interview with a non-hiring authority is different. Tell me how you moved up through the organization. What was the last creative idea that you came up with that affected the group or company that you now work for? How did you come up with the idea? Is the company seeking to grow? How? What aspects of the job or the company am I going to be surprised about? What do you think about_(any controversial issue, i.e., politics, religion, anything in news that might be controversial)?Questions to Ask Yourself After Each InterviewWhat was it like for you growing up? How well did you feel your boss rated your performance? Have you ever gotten personally involved or socially close to anyone at your work? If you were offered this job, how long will it take you to decide? How These Things Affect YouDescribe a time when an external customer tried your patience or tried to get something from you or your company that he or she didn't deserve—maybe not outright cheat, but close to it. How did you handle it and what did you do? What would be my access to you? Daily, weekly, monthly? What percentage of your week or month was devoted to the different functions of your job? How This Affects YouWhat kind of money would you like to earn? Are there any internal candidates? Questions to Ask When the Position Involves ManagementWhat is his or her role in the company? What is his or her role in the interviewing process? What are your personal plans with the company? Questions You Can Ask at the Time of an OfferIf you could choose any organization to work for, whom would you go to? What are you looking for in a job? Do you have budgetary responsibility? How large was your budget? Did you have any problems staying within budget? If I get two to three years of experience with this company, will having worked there have been of any value? Is this an addition or a replacement? Why? What kind of people have you hired and what you look for in those people?