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Prologue

I 'm often amazed at how many people think that answering job interview

I questions is straightforward and easy. "Just be yourself," they say, "answer I every question truthfully to the best of your ability, and you'll be fine." It would be great if things were that simple, but there's a lot more to job interviews than that.

Answering questions in today's interviewing environment is much harder than most people realize. Tough or unexpected questions can be thrown your way at any stage of the interview process. Some questions are not even designed to elicit a right or wrong answer, but just to see how you answer them. You won't succeed if you try to "wing it" through an interview. You must be ready for every question; the wrong answers can cost you a wonderful career opportunity.

Maintaining a successful business today is more challenging than it has ever been. The global economy has increased competition across the board. Technology has leveled the playing field for efficiency and productivity. Employers are taking extra care to see that they hire the right people, and they use a wide range of questions to get the information they need. While job opportunities have increased, so has the possibility of making the kind of crucial mistake that immediately weeds you out of the competition for a specific opening.

I have been finding people jobs since 1973. I have personally placed more than 6,500 people on a one-on-one basis. I have interviewed more than 22,000 people, and I have interacted with more than 25,000 hiring authorities. I have experienced just about every conceivable question and heard just about every answer to questions used in the interviewing process. In this book, I share with you the surefire answers to those questions—the answers that will get you hired.

Getting a job offer is one challenge, but finding out about the company and the people you are going to work for is just as important. With the rapid changes in business today, a job seeker must not only be able to answer a variety of interview questions, but also be able to ask the right questions before accepting a job. This book also will show you what questions to ask to protect yourself so that you don't wind up working for the wrong company. It will teach you how to "check the references" of your potential employer.

My goal in writing Acing the Interview is to enable you to take charge of the interview process, to give you the confidence to answer any and all questions, and to provide you with the questions to ask in order to land the right job for you.

Tony Beshara Dallas, Texas

Today's Hiring Authority and You

What Today's Job Seekers Need to Know About Themselves and Their Competition

This book is about how to answer and ask questions in the interviewing process so that you, the candidate, can get the best job possible. In order to answer questions correctly so that you can get a job offer, as well as ask questions so that you can evaluate a job offer, you need to be aware of your condition, so to speak, as a job candidate.

The emphasis of this book is not just to know how to answer and ask questions skillfully, but to put into context those answers and questions so that you can not only get a job offer, but choose the right one. Over the last few years, the context—that is, the market, the rules, the situation, etc.—of being a job applicant has drastically changed. The job search market is always erratic and highly volatile, and the past few years have been no exception.

There is a phenomenal amount of paradox in the context of being a job candidate today. On one hand, the U.S. economy has been adding over 110,000 new jobs every month for about the past two years. Unemployment has held at about 4.5% of the working population—close to a six-year low and a far cry from 6% to 6.3% in the early 2000s. But, even though the economy, on paper, is expanding, there is a phenomenal amount of erraticism with businesses in the United States.

We will discuss the context of the average U.S. company (if there is such a thing as "average" in today's marketplace) and the hiring authorities in those firms in the next chapter. In this chapter, I'm going to describe the context of today's job seeker. If you understand this context, answering and asking questions in the interviewing process is going to be a lot easier. You will understand better how to get the best possible job.

Gone are the days of looking for a job and at the same time seeking a "career path" within that same firm. If, as a job candidate today, you ask a hiring authority what the career path with the company will be, you will either get a big lie or, if the hiring authority is honest, you'll get a blank stare, a pregnant pause, and a truthful answer of, "I really don't know."

Keep in mind that my perspective comes from personally working with thousands of hiring managers since 1973. I am personally on the front lines of dealing with hiring on a daily basis and have been since I began in this profession. Our firm deals with hundreds of companies on a monthly basis and thousands on a yearly basis.

This book is going to relate to you the context of real, in the trenches, frontline U.S. businesses and hiring in this country. Keep in mind that the vast majority of businesses in the United States employ fewer than 100 people. I will get into it further in the next chapter, but suffice it to say, most businesses do not, contrary to popular belief, operate with common sense and distinct business acumen. The sad truth is that many businesses in this country lack common sense and can be greedy and ignorant (often reflecting the people who run them). In spite of these negative factors, the U.S. business climate is still the most successful in the world and it will continue to be.

As a candidate, however, when you go to answer or ask questions in the interviewing process, you need to be aware that the vast majority of U.S. businesses and U.S. business people do not operate with pristine theory or foolproof business acumen. Complaining about it won't do any good. You just have to deal with it.

 
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