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What do you like and dislike about your present boss?

This question has nothing to do with your boss; it has to do with how you express what you think of him or her. Badmouthing your present or previous bosses or company is the kiss of death. Something like, "I really like him as a person and have really learned a lot from him," is all that needs to be said. Employers identify with employers and whatever you say about your present or previous boss, you will say about the new people somewhere down the line.

How do you handle criticism?

How you react to this question is as important as your answer. If you look like a startled deer in headlights, you will be communicating the wrong idea. Just expect to get this question and immediately respond by saying, "I really do appreciate constructive criticism. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. I am my own worst critic, but I really like hearing what other people think."

Rate yourself on the scale of one to ten.

This is a stupid question, but you better be ready for it. "Well, my spouse thinks I'm a ten—sometimes! However, when I rate myself, I am an eight or nine in some things and a six or seven in others. But you will find I do my dead level best to do well and everything that I do." Then shut up!

How would others at your present or previous jobs rate you on a scale of one to ten?

"Again, I think some of them would rate me as an eight or nine in some of the things that I do and six or seven in other things that I do. But they do know that I try to do my best in everything I do."

Do you ever lie?

This is another Catch-22 question. Best thing to do is admit that you do lie in some rare instances when telling the truth has no consequences other than to hurt someone's feelings. For instance, you might say, "If I'm invited to a social occasion that I really don't want to go to, I will say that I have other plans. I guess, technically, that is a lie, but I see no sense in hurting other people's feelings by telling them that I don't wish to socialize with them." Then shut up. If the interviewer probes this question, simply say, "It is important to be truthful in every business dealing. I think lying is basically wrong and should only be used in situations as the last graceful alternative where the results are inconsequential."

What are one or two things your present or previous co-workers dislike about you?

Be prepared for this question, because you will get it more than you think. Answer it with something like, "Well, nobody has ever told me outright anything about myself that they said they disliked. I sometimes get the feeling that my work ethic and the striving for perfection irritate some people. But I'm not aware of anything that people have actually said they disliked." This, again, is one of those questions where how you respond is much more important than what you say.

What makes you mad?

"Well, there are very many things that make me mad, and I do get frustrated, especially with some of the things that my 16-year-old does (ha! ha!). But seriously, I have found that getting mad or angry doesn't help solve the immediate problem. I don't think any of us perform well under the emotional stress of anger."

How do you make your opinions known when you disagree with management or your boss?

"If my opinions are sought out, I respectfully offer them. If they're not sought out, and it is not within my responsibility, I probably wouldn't offer the opinion. If I felt strongly enough about the issue and thought it was important to voice my opinion, I would make a private appointment with the appropriate person to discuss my feelings and thoughts." The purpose of this question is more to find out how you go about voicing your opinions rather than what your opinions might be.

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