Do I/We Like You?
Based on my experience, determining whether you are liked accounts for 40% of the hiring decision. Of all of the four basic questions that need to be answered affirmatively, this carries the greatest weight. No matter how good your skills might be, no matter how much of a risk you may or may not be, and even if working the money out is a foregone conclusion, you will never get hired unless you are liked.
Of the more than 100,000 face-to-face interviews that I have personally arranged over the past three decades or so, I've never had a candidate hired who wasn't, at first, liked by the people doing the interviewing and hiring. This fact defies logic and common sense. With all of the business acumen and wisdom that companies and the people in them are purported to have, you'd think that the emotional aspects of liking someone would have a minimal impact.
But the truth is that hiring people is like "buying" anything else. People do it for emotional reasons and justify the rest. I can't tell you the number of people I've placed over the years who were hired simply because they were liked by the hiring organization. The number of extremely qualified, excellent candidates that weren't hired because they weren't initially liked by the interviewing or hiring authority defies logic and common sense.
Companies and interviewing authorities often try to find out if they like you in very odd ways. These questions can have a tendency to get under your skin. Oftentimes you could be insulted by them if you let yourself. You can never
let these or any other kinds of questions throw you off emotionally. You can't interview well when you are emotionally flustered. So the way to prepare for them is to either use the answers that I've given or come up with your own; but practice them with your coach.
Will You Be a Fit with Us?
Are you a leader or follower?
Simple answer: "Well, in certain situations I am a leader and in certain situations I am a follower. I can be both." Then reinforce this answer with stories, if necessary.
What do people like most about you? What do they like least?
Things like being a team player, getting along well with others, dealing well in tense situations, volunteering when you don't have to, perseverance, communication skills, etc., always work well. Reinforce the attributes that you spoke about in your presentation that make you a good employee. Regarding what people like least about you, laugh and say something like, "I'm a lousy golfer," or a poor tennis player or not good at telling jokes. Make it light.
What are your three greatest strengths? Three greatest weaknesses?
Strengths should be easy for you to come up with. Weaknesses are always difficult. What works well is saying things like, "Well, I'm very impatient with myself. I oftentimes expect the same passion and commitment from the others that I tend to have. I'm working on becoming a better listener." I have known people to say just plain stupid things like, "Well, to be honest, I talk too much." "I'm late a lot." "I seem to have bad luck in jobs and get fired." "I have bad luck with women and jobs." "I get bored easily." Don't do that. Make sure your "weaknesses" can also be "strengths." Ask your coach to help you with these because you are going to get this question.
What are your hobbies? Outside interests? Books you've read recently?
Don't hesitate to talk about some of your outside interests and hobbies, as long as they are reasonable and "business-wise." I would not recommend talking about your particular involvement with anything controversial. Church groups, political parties, or any organization that might be controversial, unless you were absolutely sure of the religious or political persuasion of the interviewing authority, should not be mentioned. Talk about hobbies like golf, tennis, running, cycling, gourmet cooking, etc.—anything— just be sure it is safe and not controversial. Make sure you are reading some kind of business-oriented book and briefly mention it if you have to. This kind of question is easy to prepare for, and you will give the same answer to everyone.