- If you knew then what you know now, how would you change your life or your career?
- What is your definition of success? Of failure? And how do you rate yourself in these two categories?
- What makes you better than any other candidate I can hire?
- I'm sure that there were some policies in your previous companies that you didn't agree with. . . . How did you handle those?
- What kind of people do you hang out with?
- Tell me a joke.
- How would you describe your personality?
If you knew then what you know now, how would you change your life or your career?
This is a really good question, and you need to have a really good answer for it. You should mention things that might be obvious. For instance, if you have not completed your degree, you might say that, looking back on it, you would have finished your degree. If you have had several very short jobs on your resume, you might say that if you knew then what you know now, you wouldn't have taken those jobs. You should discuss any obvious mistake or misstep in your career, admit to it, and add the fact that you have learned a lot from the mistake and then move on. You might also add in summation that, "The important thing, for me, is that I've learned from every mistake I've ever made and, fortunately, I haven't made the same mistake more than once. I know I will make others, but I'm going to make the best of what I learn from them. It would be nice if the lessons hadn't been so painful." Do not say that you wouldn't change a thing because, even if it were true, not many people would believe you.
What is your definition of success? Of failure? And how do you rate yourself in these two categories?
This is a loaded question that has no absolutely correct answer. But something along the lines of, "Well, success for me is the constant pursuit of a worthy goal where I am personally growing and economically providing for myself and my family. The only definition of failure, for me, would be to quit trying and give up. Failure is not an option for me, nor should it be for anyone else."
What makes you better than any other candidate I can hire?
"Well, I don't know that I necessarily am better than anyone else you could interview, at least on paper. But I am a very hard worker and am determined to be successful. In the final analysis, I have more passion and commitment to the job than most people do. So, with me, you get passion, commitment, and determination far above what you'd probably get in most anybody else." You can then demonstrate those features by telling stories that speak of how you have provided benefit to your previous employers.
I'm sure that there were some policies in your previous companies that you didn't agree with. . . . How did you handle those?
This is one of those questions where the interviewing or hiring authority is trying to find out how you respect your previous employers. Obviously, if you think your previous employers and their policies weren't good, a hiring authority will assume you will feel the same about his or hers if you were hired. So the answer is, "I guess there might have been some minor policies and procedures that may not have been clearly understood, but, for the most part, it was apparent that most all of the policies and procedures were for the good of the company and everybody in it." Don't ever badmouth a previous employer!
What kind of people do you hang out with?
Be a little careful with this question. Some interviewing authorities may be trying to ask you about church groups, ethnic groups, or things like that. The best answer is something along the line of, "I have a diverse group of friends that are all very interesting." If you were asked about hobbies and you mentioned golf or tennis, you might mention that you hang out with people like that.
Tell me a joke.
This is a stupid question. Be careful here. Whatever you do, don't tell anything off-color or inappropriate. If you have little kids, tell a joke your 5-year-old told you.
How would you describe your personality?
Consider the kind of opportunity you are interviewing for when you go and answer this question. If you were interviewing for a sales position, you certainly wouldn't want to say, "I'm an introverted quiet person who doesn't like people." If you are interviewing for an accounting position, it would not be intelligent to say, "Well, I'm a wild and crazy guy, and people never know what to expect of me in the way of my moods." Think, be honest, but don't go overboard.