How many hours in your previous jobs did you have to work each week to get the job done?

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Don't fall prey to this loaded question. Your answer has to be something like, "Gee whiz, I'm not on a clock. I really don't know." If you have a job where you were paid overtime, the hiring authority may be concerned about having to pay a lot of overtime. So, in a situation like this, you would answer by saying, "I was always very careful to be sure that I didn't work overtime unless I absolutely had to. I'm a very fast worker and usually got my work done in the allotted time. Of course, my references would substantiate this." If you get a sense that overtime is not an issue, then you would answer, "I work very efficiently. I do whatever it takes to get the job done on time, with high quality. Whenever time it takes is whatever time it takes."

You don't have as much experience in some of the aspects of this job. How do we know if you can do it?

The answer should be something like this, "Looking back on most every job that I have ever had, I really didn't have the amount of experience my previous employers really wanted. Fortunately, I had very good managers in the places that I've worked. I noticed in the interviewing process here that people were willing to be involved in helping so that I'm absolutely confident I will have no problem in performing all aspects of the job."

What are some of the things in your last job that you didn't like?

Answer this question with things that have nothing to do with your performance or your abilities. Something like, "Well, I was frustrated because most everybody was so negative about the poor situation of the company. The company was eventually sold; unfortunately, most everyone had a negative attitude." Or something along the lines of, "Well, when work slowed down to a crawl, our major distributor stopped buying. Instead of looking around for things to do and thinking about what we could do to make the business better, most everyone in the firm complained. Some of us got together and came up with alternatives." Whatever you "didn't like" make it a values thing or something you could do nothing about.

What reservations might you have about working here?

The answer quite simply is, "None that I know of. No job or company is perfect, and I'm sure that you all have your positives and negatives just like any other company."

How many levels of management have you had to communicate with?

Be truthful, being aware that the purpose of this question is to discern how many levels above you are comfortable dealing with. If you only communicated to one or two levels above, you need to make sure you communicate that it was more related to the function of your job then your inability to communicate with upper management.

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?

Just be ready for this question and be aware of the unique aspects of the particular job that you were interviewing for. Make sure that you communicate very positive reasons as to why the job you are interviewing for would be "a better fit" than the ones you have had in the past.

Are you a good employee/manager/engineer/accountant/sales person/administrative support person/etc.? How do you know?

This very simple question requires a very simple answer: "I really love what I do. I really am very good at it because I get a lot of very positive feedback for the job that I do. My performance reviews and salary reviews have always been excellent."

In what way has your present job prepared you to take on greater responsibilities?

You'd better have an answer to this before it ever gets asked. You want to emphasize that there are certain aspects of your job that you have outgrown personally and professionally. Remember to make sure that you say you "love " your job, but you are ready for a new challenge. Emphasize that you have grown as much as you can in your current position and maybe cite one or two stories about how you could have contributed more but it just wasn't necessary because there were plenty of people who were doing so. Throughout the interviewing process you need to be able to communicate that you have one or two or even three skills and abilities that are on tap in the position. That way you always communicate, "I can contribute more, and I am not limited." Relate to your personal "growth" rather than a personal "issue."

Can you relocate either now or in the future?

The answer to any relocation question either now or in the future always has to be, "I will certainly do anything that is good for my company and my career. Relocation would certainly be included."

In what areas could your boss do a better job?

There's really only one way to answer this question: "I have a respect for my present boss. She does her job extremely well. There might be some little things that she might be able to do little better, but they certainly must be minor."

How well did you feel your boss rated your performance?

"All of the supervisors or bosses that I've had have done a good job in a rating my performance."

How did your boss or previous bosses get the best out of you?

This is a little bit of a trick question. It is as much to see how you react as it is to find out the answer. Just be ready for a question like this and realize that the simple answer is, "By telling me exactly what the objectives are and then leaving me alone."

Do you have budgetary responsibility? How large was your budget? Did you have any problems staying within budget?

Just be ready for any questions about your budgetary responsibility.

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.

You need to have three or four stories that could be used interchangeably with questions like this. If, in a previous answer, you told a story that could be an answer to this question, you don't want to tell the same story. In fact, there is a tendency for candidates, if they haven't prepared well, to tell the same one or two stories more than they should. Most of the questions that telling a story would answer are similar. If you keep answering different questions with the same two stories, you will appear shallow. So, be prepared with a number of different stories that can address different situations.

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.

Again, like above, you'd better have a positive story to tell. If you have to think about it, or ponder the answer, you won't appear decisive.

Do you know when to lead and when to follow?

Examples of both need to be given. You need to be prepared for this kind of question. Again, if you have to think about it or you ponder it, you will look like you don't know what you're doing. Short story situations where you lead and where you followed are appropriate.

Can you identify the critical needs in a situation, deal with them, and put the others on the back burner?

The answer is, "of course." And a story or two where you had to identify critical situations will work.

If you were offered this job, how long will it take you to decide?

"If I were offered the job, I should be able let you know within a day, at the most two."

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