Do you set goals for yourself?

If you haven't set goals for yourself, start before this question gets asked. And for goodness sake don't say something like, "Well, I have goals, but I don't write them down." That's a sure way to get eliminated as a candidate.

You absolutely should have specific, written goals when it comes to a job search (and in life, if you want do it right). They don't have to be sophisticated, mesmerizing, or miraculous. Simple, specific, timed, measurable, and attainable goals are a necessity for a superior life as well as a superior job search.

How do you organize yourself for day-to-day activities?

An answer of, "Well, I just show up and react to what happens," won't get it. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a copy of your day-to-day activity/goal sheets. You have to communicate the idea that you plan every day and you work your plan.

What interests you most about this job?

This is a "trick" question. If you say something like, "Well, I hear it pays really well," you're dead. You've got to say something that is complimentary to the organization, as well as to yourself. Something along the line of, "As I see it, there's a great opportunity for me to really contribute to the growth of what appears to be a very strong organization. I would be able to push my limits and skills beyond what I have experienced in a job before. I'm excited about it," would be great. Communicate being able to provide your skills to what appears to be a great organization. Anything that appears to be a "what this job can do for me" answer will not be good.

What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?

Any question like this has to center around the idea that what the company gets when it hires you is that it gets YOU in the deal. The way you communicate that will make all the difference in the world. Saying something like, "I have been very fortunate to be blessed with skills that fit my personality very well. I not only bring my personality to the party, but also a unique way of communicating and being motivated. I also bring success" is appropriate. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a story of how your unique approach to things solved a problem in a previous position.

How long have you been looking for another position?

If you have been looking for a job for, what might appear to be an inordinate amount of time, like six months or so, you have to answer this question with the outright statement that you are looking for the "right" opportunity. So, if you've been out of work or been looking for a job for six months or so, it is appropriate to say, "I've been actively looking for a position for the past few months, and although I've had a number of opportunities to accept a job, I haven't found the right match for both me and a prospective employer."

Hiring or interviewing authorities will be concerned if you have been on the job market too long. They will wonder, "What is wrong with this person?" So, be sure to give a logical and reasonable explanation of why you might still be looking. If you just started looking for a position or in the early stages of your job search, you may simply state that you've just started your job search.

What do you think of your current/last boss?

This is a great chance for you to destroy your candidacy. The metaphors and analogies that you give here are extremely important. No matter what, even if you were fired by the biggest jerk in the world, you absolutely have to present your current or last boss in positive terms.

The reason for this is very simple. Employers and hiring authorities identify with employers and hiring authorities. Whatever you say about your present or last boss, they will assume that you will say it about them. This is one of the few ironclad rules about interviewing. Never forget that in interviewing, a hiring authority is not going to identify with you more than they're going to identify with your previous or present boss. If you badmouth your present or last boss, you are presenting yourself as a phenomenal risk. You cannot afford to do that. So, if you get along very well with your present or last boss, state that. If things were a little rocky, even if you were fired, say something like "We didn't see eye-to-eye and our chemistry was never great. I do respect him (her) and appreciated the success he (she) has had. I'm sure he respected me too in spite of our differences." Even if you disagreed with your previous boss or he or she fired you, this is a neutral answer. If your previous boss tries to destroy you in a reference after you have said something like this, he or she will marginalize him- or herself. The interviewing or hiring authority will have a tendency to think, "Well, after the relatively respectful things that this candidate said about his previous boss, I can't believe that he badmouthed this person that way. This previous boss must be a real jerk."

This kind of strategy doesn't work 100% of the time, but at least you neutralized whatever your previous boss might say. Just remember to take the high road. Because if you take the low road and present your previous boss in any negative terms, you probably won't get hired.

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