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A short course of lectures
«Acing the interview»

Keep RecordsAn Open Letter to SupportersHave I done my research on the company? "No" is the second best answer you can get. Describe the most difficult problem you had to deal with. In what way has your present job prepared you to take on greater responsibilities? What are one or two things your present or previous co-workers dislike about you? What makes this a good company to work for? How This Affects YouIn your current/last position, state your five most significant accomplishments. 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? Are you a good employee/manager/engineer/accountant/sales person/administrative support person/etc.? How do you know? Why have people in the past failed to do well at this job? What can you contribute most to our organization? Successful Technique No. 2What is the percentage of turnover in the company? Are You Going to Be a Long-Term Employee or Will You Leave Quickly?How did you feel about your workload at that company? And how did you divide your time on your major areas of responsibility? What makes this company good—or not so good? How is the department perceived by the rest of the company? How This Affects YouQuestions to Ask Yourself After Each InterviewYou 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. Businesses That Can Help You Get an InterviewTell me a joke. What is the least relevant job that you had? 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 would you define your job as a manager? What kind of job are you looking for? What are you looking for in a job? 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. What is your energy level like? Describe one of your typical days. What do you think about yourself is most important to us? What kind of personal experience, outside of work, do you have for this job? Questions Regarding Your FeelingsWhat kind of money would you like to earn? 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? What reservations might you have about working here? Questions to Ask an Internal Recruiter, Human Resources Representative, or Third-Party Internal "Screener"What are you currently earning? Or, what have you been earning most recently? Why do you want to hire me? What did I demonstrate to you that the other candidates didn't? What are the company's major strengths and weaknesses? Why are there no internal candidates for this job? What kind of people do you hang out with? May I speak with the person who has left or is leaving the job? What area of your skills/professional development you want to improve at this time? Your Next (Possible) Employer's Generational DNAWhat are your hobbies? Outside interests? Books you've read recently? If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently? Describe a situation where you personally or professionally failed.What are the most difficult aspects of working here or the job itself?Have you ever doubted your decision about firing someone? Top Five Mistakes Candidates Make When They Think They Have Been Eliminated After an InterviewWhat is your definition of success? Of failure? And how do you rate yourself in these two categories? 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? What is your role in the interviewing process? How This Affects YouWhat do you know about our business? What are some of the things in your last job that you didn't like?Personality Styles and the Individuals You Will MeetDo you prefer to delegate or be a "hands-on" employee? Are You a Risk?Have you done the best work you are capable of doing? Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Strengths and WeaknessesExactly how much travel is involved with the job? Tell me about a situation where you were disappointed in your own performance. What is the next step in this process? What would you do when you have a great deal of work to accomplish in a short time span? How have you reacted? How do you manage to interview while still employed? 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 is his or her role in the company? What is his or her role in the interviewing process? Top Ten Mistakes Candidates Make in an Initial InterviewWhy do you want to work here? You need to sell your particular "features, advantages, and benefits." Tell me about the last time one of your subordinates made a big mistake. What did you do? Please describe the working environment. Taking on the same style as the interviewer doesn't work. How would others at your present or previous jobs rate you on a scale of one to ten? Illegal QuestionsWhat happened to the last person in the job? Does the company have any present or pending legal issues? What do you do in your spare time? What are the reasons for your success in this profession? If a personal commitment conflicts with a business emergency, what do you do? What were the most important/difficult decisions that you made in your present, last job, or even your job before that? Have you ever been involved in long-range planning? Are you creative? When do you expect a promotion? 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? How do you keep updated and informed in a professional sense?Script AnalysisYour Emotional StateImportant Reminders About InterviewsCan you explain the organizational structure of the company and of the department? Why haven't they hired anyone yet? Describe a very difficult person that you had to work with and how you handled it. How Do Your Skills and Experience Fit?About the AuthorWhat has been the most difficult challenge in finding the right candidate? We play a lot of poker (golf, tennis, bowling, etc.) are around here. Are you any good at it? EpilogueWho are the "stars" that can help my transition go smoothly? What kind of people have you hired and what you look for in those people? What was the most difficult part of your last two jobs? In what areas could your boss do a better job? Tell me how you moved up through the organization. What have you done to implement improvements in your work group organization? What makes you mad? I understand that the company is considering a merger (acquisition, buyout, etc.). How do you think it will affect the company? We sometimes run into a person who makes unreasonable demands of us. Tell me about a time when this happened to you. Can you work overtime or on weekends? How will my success be measured in this job? If you were to invite three famous people to dinner, whom would you invite? Is the company seeking to grow? How? How and with Whom to Get an InterviewAsking Your Own Questions of Yourself, Your Recruiter, and Your Potential EmployerWhat are people's greatest misperceptions about you? What do you think of your current/last boss? You are awfully young for this position, aren't you? What are the trends in your industry? Questions You Must Ask Yourself When You Get an OfferTop Five Mistakes Candidates Make in Answering Interview QuestionsWhat specifically have you learned from the jobs that you held most recently? May I speak with the staff I will be managing? Describe the biggest mistake you made in hiring. All you can do is all you can do. Were you fired? And, why were you fired? Where do you see yourself five years from now? Or how does this job fit into your career goals? Do you know when to lead and when to follow? What are your personal plans with the company? Give me an example of a new or innovative idea that you came up with or implemented. Why did you get hired here? What did you do to get the job? What was your background before you got here? Watch your body language. Ending the Initial InterviewFeatures, Advantages, and BenefitsIf you could, what would you change about the position you're interviewing for? What was it like for you growing up? Have you ever been asked in any of your jobs to do something unethical? How did you handle it? Did I get a copy of the job description before the interview? Your resume shows that you been with one company a long time without any appreciable increase in rank or salary. Tell me about this.Have you ever "failed" in a job? Putting Yourself in ContextWhat aspects of the job or the company am I going to be surprised about? What have you learned from the jobs that you held? Is there anything in my background or experience that needs to be clarified? Perspective on What Recruiters Can and Can't Do for YouHow would you describe your personal character? What are you looking for that you haven't found in the candidates you have interviewed? How do you organize yourself for day-to-day activities? Do You Work Well with Others?Questions to Ask When the Interviewer Is the Hiring AuthorityHave you ever had personal financial difficulties? Delivery is important. The Immediate E-MailFear of Making a Hiring MistakeIf you could start your career over again, what would you do differently? After I get to know you, what will annoy me about you? Does he or she usually agree with your opinions? How Much of a Liability Might You Be?Describe a time when an internal customer tried your patience. 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? On a personal level, what would your previous boss or present boss say about you? What do you know about the position you are applying for? Why have you not been promoted sooner? If you're so good, why haven't you been promoted? Time is your enemy. How many people is this person going to interview? Questions to Ask When Working with an External RecruiterYou'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? How These Things Affect YouWho is your greatest personal mentor? Do I have a list of good questions to ask the interviewer based on the research I have done? The Follow-Up ActivityDescribe 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? Based on our interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job? What do you look for in a job? How This Affects YouIf you inherited a lot of money, say or million, what would you do? What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you? 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 do you consider most valuable: a high salary, job recognition, or advancement? Why do you want to leave where you are? Or, why did you leave your last position? Are You Management Material? What Kind of Manager Are You?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? How do you rank yourself personally and professionally among your peers? The Four Types of Qualifying QuestionsHow These Things Affect YouSometimes taking on the style of the interviewer does work. 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?Questions to Ask in the Initial InterviewHow do we know that you will be successful at this job? What is the most recent business lesson you have learned and how did you learn it? Describe in detail your last two positions. Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Look for a Job if You Are Looking Full TimeRecruiters' Biggest Challenge with Hiring OrganizationsWhat are the major problems facing the company and this department? Do you object to honesty or psychological testing? How many people have you interviewed for this job? How much authority will I have in running the department (the group, the facility, etc.?) Why should I hire you? What are one or two things you wished you had accomplished in your present or last job and the job before that? What condition is morale in and why? Questions to Ask in Interviews with Potential PeersQuestions to Ask in a Telephone "Screening" InterviewHas there ever been a situation where your work was criticized? What can you do for us that someone else cannot do? When will this person get back to you with feedback? PrologueHow the Internet Can Help YouHow long do you think it will take for you to make a meaningful contribution to our organization? Are there any difficult personalities on the staff that I will be supervising? 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? What do you like most about this position? And what you like least about this position? What are the biggest problems in the department? If I have budgetary responsibility, how large is the budget? Has the department been above or below budget, presently and in the recent past? What would be my access to you? Daily, weekly, monthly? What is the most difficult part of the job? 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. How long have you been here? Why did you come to work here? How many people have been in this job in the last five years? Where are they now? Tell me about yourself and your last few jobs. 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? What was the last thing you disagreed with your company about? Do I/We Like You?Have you ever had to overcome any personal hardships? What percentage of your week or month was devoted to the different functions of your job? Top Twelve Interview Mistakes Entry-Level Candidates MakeDoes this company have any glaring problems that I should know about? How often is the turnover in the job I'm discussing with you? What do people like most about you? What do they like least? Why should I hire an outsider when I could fill the job with someone inside the company? When would you like to fill the position? How long do you plan to be in your position? With the company? What type of turnover have you had as a manager? How do you deal with people whom you don't like and who don't like you in the workplace? Describe the best job that you've ever had and why was it so much better than other ones you have had. Do you like me as a person? What is your greatest accomplishment in each of your last three jobs? 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? How would you describe your own personality? Reference Checking Your Next EmployerHow These Things Affect YouLeaving VoicemailsHow often have you had to fire someone? How would you describe the philosophy of the company as well as your personal philosophy? You will be older than anyone else here. How does that make you feel? Do you ever lie? Who will be doing the initial interviewing? Have I taken good notes about the company to refer to during the interview? How long have you been looking for a person? I understand we are here to discuss an offer, correct? Describe a difficult business problem that you had to deal with and how you did it. Are you a leader or follower? How involved is this person (or group) in the day-to-day function of the job? Give clear explanations. You don't have anything until you have an offer. What are the worst aspects of the job? What is the biggest personal mistake you have ever made? Questions to Ask the Hiring Authority at the Time of an OfferWhat to SayI see you are working on your MBA/graduate degree. What are you going to do when you get it? 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. Are there any members of the staff or staffs that should be let go?WOW . . . your grades are really low. What happened? Describe how you make decisions. Highlight your experience in dealing with interpersonal conflict disagreements by recalling a difficult situation that you were involved in. Dress professionally. Tell stories. How do you stack/rank the candidates? Am I your strongest one? Are you going to recommend me as the best candidate to your superior? Interview with a non-hiring authority is different. 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? Paradox of InterviewingWhat is the management style of your boss and the company? 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? What do you think about_(any controversial issue, i.e., politics, religion, anything in news that might be controversial)?Can you relocate either now or in the future? Describe a situation where you had to make a quick decision in your last job. How do you make it? Questions to Ask Before the Initial InterviewHow much time did you take off last year? What interests you most about this job? Don't talk too much or too little. What will your boss say when you resign? Will he or she be upset?You really don't have as much experience as we would like; why should we hire you? Where have you made difficult decisions before and what were they about? What makes you think you can handle this position? How many levels of management have you had to communicate with? If you could choose any organization to work for, whom would you go to? What is the most money that you have ever made? I'm sure that there were some policies in your previous companies that you didn't agree with. . . . How did you handle those? What Today's Job Seekers Need to Know About Today's Hiring Authorities and Their CompaniesWhat made you choose to become a_? I don't think with your experience and background you are capable of doing this job. What do you think? How many candidates have you interviewed? The Uncertain Attitude of the U.S. WorkerTake notes. Describe the situation where you had to work with a very difficult person. How did you handle it? Will You Be a Fit with Us?Tell me about a time when your team fell apart. Why did it happen? What did you do? Generational DNATop Ten Mistakes Candidates Make When They Are Told They Are Going to Get an OfferWhy do you like working here? What are your three greatest strengths? Three greatest weaknesses?Focus on the process of interviewing and don't worry about the result. Working with RecruitersWhat This Means to YouQuestions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin to Look for a Job if You Are EmployedHow has he or she felt about other candidates that you have sent?How do you motivate your subordinates? When do you plan on retiring? Are there any internal candidates? Can I articulate my unique features, advantages, and benefits for this position or the company based on what I know about it? Why didn't you hire from within? How did you get your last job? Explain your hiring procedure. What kind of benefits are you expecting? How did your boss or previous bosses get the best out of you? How is your performance measured? How often? How does that relate to the job I'm considering? What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? You 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 major project that you have worked on and how it contributed to the overall good of your employer. How long have you been looking for another position? Why did you apply to our company? Acing the Initial InterviewIs this organization consistent with the things that I've done in the past? 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. It's a numbers game. What special problems do you have with the day-to-day management of your staff? Can We Work the Money Out?Can you identify the critical needs in a situation, deal with them, and put the others on the back burner? How many candidates have you interviewed? As a manager, how have you promoted diversity? Do you communicate best with written or oral communications? You have moved up in the management ladder rapidly, but it seems like you've leveled off. Why? Have you ever had to fire someone? Describe the circumstances?What are your professional and personal expectations of me? What do you like and dislike about your present boss? What Today's Job Seekers Need to Know About Themselves and Their CompetitionWhat do you think are the most difficult aspects of the job I'm interviewing for? Rate yourself on the scale of one to ten. What is your management style? Questions to Ask Related to Subsequent InterviewsGive us an example of how you got your staff to support an unpopular decision. How well did you feel your boss rated your performance? Initial Interview Question MistakesKnowing what you know about the job you are interviewing for, what are the things that you're going to dislike the most? What have you done in the past that has demonstrated a high level of personal integrity? Describe a situation where you demonstrated a high level of commitment to an organization where you worked. If you were offered this job, how long will it take you to decide? When faced with a very difficult business decision, what do you do?How you handle dishonesty? What is the turnover in this department? What would be your ideal work group? 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? The Nature of CompaniesRecognize and use metaphors and analogies to your advantage. 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. Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit? Business or personal?Recruiters' Biggest Challenge with CandidatesDescribe a situation where you had to make a "seat of the pants" decision without a company policy as a model. Do I know anyone in the company? What do I know about the company I'm speaking with? Follow-Up Phone CallHow do you handle criticism? Final Question in the Initial InterviewYou don't have as much experience in some of the aspects of this job. How do we know if you can do it? Sometimes 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. Questions to Ask in Interviews Beyond the Initial InterviewWhat makes you better than any other candidate I can hire? What 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? Questions to Ask in a Group Interview Beyond the Initial InterviewPrepare by researching for interviews. What have you done that shows initiative? You will be younger than anyone else here. How does that make you feel? What Kind of Worker Will You Be?Gee whiz, you have sure stayed short periods of time in your last three jobs. What's wrong? Based on what you know of me, what might my weaknesses be in light of this job? Walk me through a day in your current or most recent job. Successful Technique No. 1What is your management style? CustomizationWhat 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? Be aggressive. Are there any of the staff members who are in line for a promotion? Did any of them apply for this job? For what have you been most frequently criticized? What is the most recent skill you have learned? Have prepared questions. Analysis of the ScriptHow long have you been here at the company? Supporters: Great Assets or Your Worst NightmareHow do you define success? Have you ever had to carry out unpopular policies or decisions? What is this person going to like or dislike about my experience or background? Can you describe the ideal candidate? Is this an addition or a replacement? What are the circumstances?Questions to Ask in a "Marathon" Interview SessionQuestions to Ask Yourself Even Before the Interviewing ProcessHow many hours in your previous jobs did you have to work each week to get the job done? Is there relocation now or down the road? What kind of reports am I going to be responsible for? Are they internal, company reports, or governmental ones? Tell me about a time when you practiced diplomacy when communicating with another person or group. How you deal with disgruntled employees/subordinates? In your present or last jobs, were there any problems that you discovered that had been previously overlooked? How did you deal with them? Close for the next interview. Do you want to move into management? Do you have personal and professional goals? I would like to speak to peers about the position that I am interviewing for. Can we arrange that? Being the NightmareThe InternetHow This Affects YouQuestions to Ask When the Position Involves ManagementWhat is the greatest opportunity facing the company? Its greatest challenge? Can You Do the Job?What 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?) Today's Hiring Authority and YouHow Do You Handle Difficult Situations?How long would you expect to be at this position if you got it? Questions You Can Ask at the Time of an OfferWhat have you told him or her about me? How would you describe your personality? What is the most important professional lesson that you have learned from the jobs that you have had? How do you approach doing things that you really don't like to do?Who are the "problem" employees? What are the traits you see in me that are good for this job and made you want to hire me? Warm Call ScriptWere you ever denied a pay raise, got a poor performance review, or were passed up for a promotion? What did you do? You are selling yourself. It isn't a "two way-street." Give me an example of when you were refused or told "no" by your company or supervisors. All You Need to Know About Money NegotiationsHow do you make your opinions known when you disagree with management or your boss? Warm CallsIf I get two to three years of experience in this job, how have I enhanced my experience for the future? Being a True, Supportive CoachQuestions to Ask in One-on-One InterviewsCan you work under pressure? Tell me about the most pressure situation you were in. First impressions are critical. Some Important Lists for Job HuntersTop Ten Mistakes That Candidates Make When They Are Invited Back for Subsequent InterviewsWho should you get an interview with? How are the people in the department going to react to an outsider as a manager? How much do you know about the duties or responsibilities of the managers or superiors two levels below you? How does our position compare with the other opportunities you are currently interviewing for? PerspectiveWhat is it like to work here? If you knew then what you know now, how would you change your life or your career? The most qualified candidate does not always get the job. If you were me, what question should I ask that you really don't want to answer? Are there written goals for the department? Who sets them? What do you know about the position for which you are applying?Have you ever gotten personally involved or socially close to anyone at your work? Can this type of organization help me down the line? What are the things that you find most difficult to do? And how did you deal with them? Do you have budgetary responsibility? How large was your budget? Did you have any problems staying within budget? Is the company planning any layoffs or downsizings? How would you describe the culture and values of the company? 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 would you describe my potential peers? Do you set goals for yourself?
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