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These are suggested answers suitable for a few candidates and environment.  Please modify them suitably .

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A few questions that are asked normally in interviews and the suggested response are given here.

Question 1              Tell me about yourself.

NOTE::  Beware, about 80% of all interviews begin with this “innocent” question. Many candidates, unprepared for the question, skewer themselves by rambling, recapping their life story, delving into ancient work history or personal matters.
BEST RESPONSE:  Start with the present and tell why you are well qualified for the position. Remember that the key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. In other words you must sell what the buyer is buying. This is the single most important strategy in job hunting.
So, before you answer this or any question it's imperative that you try to uncover your interviewer's greatest need, want, problem or goal.
To do so, make you take these two steps:
1.     Do all the homework you can before the interview to uncover this person's wants and needs (not the generalized needs of the industry or company)
2.     As early as you can in the interview, ask for a more complete description of what the position entails.  You might say: “I have a number of accomplishments I'd like to tell you about, but I want to make the best use of our time together and talk directly to your needs. To help me do, that, could you tell me more about the most important priorities of this position?  All I know is what I (heard from the recruiter, read in the classified ad, etc.)”
 Then, ALWAYS follow-up with a second and possibly, third question, to draw out his needs even more. Surprisingly, it's usually this second or third question that unearths what the interviewer is most looking for.
You might ask simply, "And in addition to that?..." or, "Is there anything else you see as essential to success in this position?:
This process will not feel easy or natural at first, because it is easier simply to answer questions, but only if you uncover the employer's wants and needs will your answers make the most sense. Practice asking these key questions before giving your answers, the process will feel more natural and you will be light years ahead of the other job candidates you're competing with.
After uncovering what the employer is looking for, describe why the needs of this job bear striking parallels to tasks you've succeeded at before. Be sure to illustrate with specific examples of your responsibilities and especially your achievements, all of which are geared to present yourself as a perfect match for the needs he has just described.

Question 2              What are your greatest strengths?

NOTE:  This question seems like a softball lob, but be prepared. You don't want to come across as egotistical or arrogant. Neither is this a time to be humble.
BEST RESPONSE:  You know that your key strategy is to first uncover your interviewer's greatest wants and needs before you answer questions. And from Question 1, you know how to do this.
Prior to any interview, you should have a list mentally prepared of your greatest strengths. You should also have, a specific example or two, which illustrates each strength, an example chosen from your most recent and most impressive achievements.
You should, have this list of your greatest strengths and corresponding examples from your achievements so well committed to memory that you can recite them cold after being shaken awake at 2:30AM.
Then, once you uncover your interviewer's greatest wants and needs, you can choose those achievements from your list that best match up.
As a general guideline, the 10 most desirable traits that all employers love to see in their employees are:
A proven track record as an achiever...especially if your achievements match up with the employer's greatest wants and needs. "savvy".
Honesty...integrity...a decent human being.
Good fit with corporate culture...someone to feel comfortable with...a team player who meshes well with interviewer's team.
Likeability...positive attitude...sense of humor.
Good communication skills.
Dedication...willingness to walk the extra mile to achieve excellence.
Definiteness of purpose...clear goals.
Enthusiasm...high level of motivation.
Confident...healthy...a leader.

Question 3              What are your greatest weaknesses?

NOTE::  Beware - this is an eliminator question, designed to shorten the candidate list. Any admission of a weakness or fault will earn you an “A” for honesty, but an “F” for the interview.
PASSABLE ANSWER:  Disguise a strength as a weakness.
Example: “I sometimes push my people too hard.  I like to work with a sense of urgency and everyone is not always on the same wavelength.”
Drawback:  This strategy is better than admitting a flaw, but it's so widely used, it is transparent to any experienced interviewer.
BEST RESPONSE:  (and another reason it's so important to get a thorough description of your interviewer's needs before you answer questions): Assure the interviewer that you can think of nothing that would stand in the way of your performing in this position with excellence. Then, quickly review you strongest qualifications.
Example:  “Nobody's perfect, but based on what you've told me about this position, I believe I' d make an outstanding match. I know that when I hire people, I look for two things most of all. Do they have the qualifications to do the job well, and the motivation to do it well?  Everything in my background shows I have both the qualifications and a strong desire to achieve excellence in whatever I take on. So I can say in all honesty that I see nothing that would cause you even a small concern about my ability or my strong desire to perform this job with excellence.”
Alternate strategy (if you don't yet know enough about the position to talk about such a perfect fit):
Instead of confessing a weakness, describe what you like most and like least, making sure that what you like most matches up with the most important qualification for success in the position, and what you like least is not essential.

Example:  Let's say you're applying for a teaching position. “If given a choice, I like to spend as much time as possible in front of my prospects selling, as opposed to shuffling paperwork back at the office.  Of course, I long ago learned the importance of filing paperwork properly, and I do it conscientiously. But what I really love to do is sell (if your interviewer were a sales manager, this should be music to his ears.)

Question 4              Tell me about something you did – or failed to do – that you now feel a little ashamed of.

NOTE:  There are some questions your interviewer has no business asking, and this is one.  But while you may feel like answering, “none of your business,” naturally you can’t.  Some interviewers ask this question on the chance you admit to something, but if not, at least they’ll see how you think on your feet.
Some unprepared candidates, flustered by this question, unburden themselves of guilt from their personal life or career, perhaps expressing regrets regarding a parent, spouse, child, etc.  All such answers can be disastrous.
BEST RESPONSE:  As with faults and weaknesses, never confess a regret.  But don’t seem as if you’re stonewalling either.
Best strategy:  Say you harbor no regrets, then add a principle or habit you practice regularly for healthy human relations.
Example:  Pause for reflection, as if the question never occurred to you.  Then say, “You know, I really can’t think of anything.”  (Pause again, then add): “I would add that as a general management principle, I’ve found that the best way to avoid regrets is to avoid causing them in the first place.  I practice one habit that helps me a great deal in this regard.  At the end of each day, I mentally review the day’s events and conversations to take a second look at the people and developments I’m involved with and do a double-check of what they’re likely to be feeling.  Sometimes I’ll see things that do need more follow-up, whether a pat on the back, or maybe a five minute chat in someone’s office to make sure we’re clear on things…whatever.”
“I also like to make each person feel like a member of an elite team, like the Boston Celtics or LA Lakers in their prime.  I’ve found that if you let each team member know you expect excellence in their performance…if you work hard to set an example yourself…and if you let people know you appreciate and respect their feelings, you wind up with a highly motivated group, a team that’s having fun at work because they’re striving for excellence rather than brooding over slights or regrets.”

Question 5              Why should WE  hire you?

NOTE::  Believe it or not, this is a killer question because so many candidates are unprepared for it.  If you stammer or adlib you’ve blown it.
BEST RESPONSE:  By now you can see how critical it is to apply the overall strategy of uncovering the employer’s needs before you answer questions.  If you know the employer’s greatest needs and desires, this question will give you a big leg up over other candidates because you will give him better reasons for hiring you than anyone else is likely to…reasons tied directly to his needs.
Whether your interviewer asks you this question explicitly or not, this is the most important question of your interview because he must answer this question favorably in is own mind before you will be hired.  So help him out!  Walk through each of the position’s requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason why you meet that requirement so well.
Example:  “As I understand your needs, you are first and foremost looking for someone who can manage the sales and marketing of your book publishing division.  As you’ve said you need someone with a strong background in trade book sales.  This is where I’ve spent almost all of my career, so I’ve chalked up 18 years of experience exactly in this area.  I believe that I know the right contacts, methods, principles, and successful management techniques as well as any person can in our industry.”
“You also need someone who can expand your book distribution channels. In my prior post, my innovative promotional ideas doubled, then tripled, the number of outlets selling our books.  I’m confident I can do the same for you.”
“You need someone to give a new shot in the arm to your mail order sales, someone who knows how to sell in space and direct mail media.  Here, too, I believe I have exactly the experience you need.  In the last five years, I’ve increased our mail order book sales from Rs.600,000 to Rs.2,800,000, and now we’re the country’s second leading marketer of scientific and medical books by mail.”  Etc., etc., etc.,
Every one of these selling “couplets” (his need matched by your qualifications) is a touchdown that runs up your score.  IT is your best opportunity to outsell your competition.

Question 6              Where do you see yourself five/seven years from now?

NOTE::  One reason interviewers ask this question is to see if you’re settling for this position, using it merely as a stopover until something better comes along.  Or they could be trying to gauge your level of ambition.
If you’re too specific, i.e., naming the promotions you someday hope to win, you’ll sound presumptuous.  If you’re too vague, you’ll seem rudderless.
BEST RESPONSE:   Reassure your interviewer that you’re looking to make a long-term commitment…that this position entails exactly what you’re looking to do and what you do extremely well.  As for your future, you believe that if you perform each job at hand with excellence, future opportunities will take care of themselves.
Example:  “I am definitely interested in making a long-term commitment to my next position.  Judging by what you’ve told me about this position, it’s exactly what I’m looking for and what I am very well qualified to do.  In terms of my future career path, I’m confident that if I do my work with excellence, opportunities will inevitable open up for me.  It’s always been that way in my career, and I’m confident I’ll have similar opportunities here.”

Question 7              Describe your ideal company, location and job.

NOTE::  This is often asked by an experienced interviewer who thinks you may be overqualified, but knows better than to show his hand by posing his objection directly.  So he’ll use this question instead, which often gets a candidate to reveal that, indeed, he or she is looking for something other than the position at hand.
BEST RESPONSE:  The only right answer is to describe what this company is offering, being sure to make your answer believable with specific reasons, stated with sincerity, why each quality represented by this opportunity is attractive to you.
Remember that if you’re coming from a company that’s the leader in its field or from a glamorous or much admired company, industry, city or position, your interviewer and his company may well have an “Avis” complex.  That is, they may feel a bit defensive about being “second best” to the place you’re coming from, worried that you may consider them bush league.
This anxiety could well be there even though you’ve done nothing to inspire it. You must go out of your way to assuage such anxiety, even if it’s not expressed, by putting their virtues high on the list of exactly what you’re looking for, providing credible reason for wanting these qualities.
If you do not express genuine enthusiasm for the firm, its culture, location, industry, etc., you may fail to answer this “Avis” complex objection and, as a result, leave the interviewer suspecting that a hot shot like you, coming from a Fortune 500 company in New York, just wouldn’t be happy at an unknown manufacturer based in Topeka, Kansas.

Question 8              Why do you want to work at our company?

NOTE::  This question tests whether you’ve done any homework about the firm.  If you haven’t, you lose.  If you have, you win big.
BEST RESPONSE:   This question is your opportunity to hit the ball out of the park, thanks to the in-depth research you should do before any interview.
Best sources for researching your target company:  annual reports, the corporate newsletter, contacts you know at the company or its suppliers, advertisements, articles about the company in the trade press.

Question 9              What are your career options right now?

NOTE::  The interviewer is trying to find out, “How desperate are you?”
BEST RESPONSE:  Prepare for this question by thinking of how you can position yourself as a desired commodity.  If you are still working, describe the possibilities at your present firm and why, though you’re greatly appreciated there, you’re looking for something more (challenge, money, responsibility, etc.).  Also mention that you’re seriously exploring opportunities with one or two other firms.
If you’re not working, you can talk about other employment possibilities you’re actually exploring.  But do this with a light touch, speaking only in general terms.  You don’t want to seem manipulative or coy.

Question 10            Why have you been out of work so long?

NOTE::  A tough question if you’ve been on the beach a long time.  You don’t want to seem like damaged goods.
BEST RESPONSE:  You want to emphasize factors which have prolonged your job search by your own choice.
Example: “After my job was terminated, I made a conscious decision not to jump on the first opportunities to come along.  In my life, I’ve found out that you can always turn a negative into a positive IF you try hard enough. This is what I determined to do.  I decided to take whatever time I needed to think through what I do best, what I most want to do, where I’d like to do it…and then identify those companies that could offer such an opportunity.”
“Also, in all honesty, you have to factor in the recession (consolidation, stabilization, etc.) in the (banking, financial services, manufacturing, advertising, etc.) industry.”
“So between my being selective and the companies in our industry downsizing, the process has taken time.  But in the end, I’m convinced that when I do find the right match, all that careful evaluation from both sides of the desk will have been well worthwhile for both the company that hires me and myself.

Question 11            Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized.

NOTE::  This is a tough question because it’s a more clever and subtle way to get you to admit to a weakness.  You can’t dodge it by pretending you’ve never been criticized.  Everybody has been.  Yet it can be quite damaging to start admitting potential faults and failures that you’d just as soon leave buried.
This question is also intended to probe how well you accept criticism and direction.
BEST RESPONSES:  Begin by emphasizing the extremely positive feedback you’ve gotten throughout your career and (if it’s true) that your performance reviews have been uniformly excellent.
Of course, no one is perfect and you always welcome suggestions on how to improve your performance.  Then, give an example of a not-too-damaging learning experience from early in your career and relate the ways this lesson has since helped you.  This demonstrates that you learned from the experience and the lesson is now one of the strongest breastplates in your suit of armor.
If you are pressed for a criticism from a recent position, choose something fairly trivial that in no way is essential to your successful performance.  Add that you’ve learned from this, too, and over the past several years/months, it’s no longer an area of concern because you now make it a regular practice to…etc.
Another way to answer this question would be to describe your intention to broaden your master of an area of growing importance in your field.  For example, this might be a computer program you’ve been meaning to sit down and learn… a new management technique you’ve read about…or perhaps attending a seminar on some cutting-edge branch of your profession.
Again, the key is to focus on something not essential to your brilliant performance but which adds yet another dimension to your already impressive knowledge base.

Question 12            What are your outside interests?

NOTE::  You want to be a well-rounded, not a drone.  But your potential employer would be even more turned off if he suspects that your heavy extracurricular load will interfere with your commitment to your work duties.
BEST RESPONSES:  Try to gauge how this company’s culture would look upon your favorite outside activities and be guided accordingly.
You can also use this question to shatter any stereotypes that could limit your chances.  If you’re over 50, for example, describe your activities that demonstrate physical stamina.  If you’re young, mention an activity that connotes wisdom and institutional trust, such as serving on the board of a popular charity.
But above all, remember that your employer is hiring your for what you can do for him, not your family, yourself or outside organizations, no matter how admirable those activities may be.

Question 13            How do you feel about reporting to a younger person (minority, woman, etc)?

NOTE::  It’s a shame that some interviewers feel the need to ask this question, but many understand the reality that prejudices still exist among some job candidates, and it’s better to try to flush them out beforehand.
The trap here is that in today’s politically sensitized environment, even a well-intentioned answer can result in planting your foot neatly in your mouth.  Avoid anything which smacks of a patronizing or an insensitive attitude, such as “I think they make terrific bosses” or “Hey, some of my best friends are…”
Of course, since almost anyone with an IQ above room temperature will at least try to steadfastly affirm the right answer here, your interviewer will be judging your sincerity most of all.  “Do you really feel that way?” is what he or she will be wondering.
So you must make your answer believable and not just automatic.  If the firm is wise enough to have promoted peopled on the basis of ability alone, they’re likely quite proud of it, and prefer to hire others who will wholeheartedly share their strong sense of fair play.
BEST RESPONSE:  You greatly admire a company that hires and promotes on merit alone and you couldn’t agree more with that philosophy.  The age (gender, race, etc.) of the person you report to would certainly make no difference to you.
Whoever has that position has obviously earned it and knows their job well.  Both the person and the position are fully deserving of respect.  You believe that all people in a company, from the receptionist to the Chairman, work best when their abilities, efforts and feelings are respected and rewarded fairly, and that includes you.  That’s the best type of work environment you can hope to find.

Question 14            Would you tell a lie for the company?

NOTE::  This another question that pits two values against one another, in this case loyalty against integrity.
BEST RESPONSE:  Try to avoid choosing between two values, giving a positive statement which covers all bases instead.
Example:  “I would never do anything to hurt the company..”
If aggressively pressed to choose between two competing values, always choose personal integrity.  It is the most prized of all values.

Question 15            Looking back, what would you do differently in your life?

NOTE::  This question is usually asked to uncover any life-influencing mistakes, regrets, disappointments or problems that may continue to affect your personality and performance.
You do not want to give the interviewer anything negative to remember you by, such as some great personal or career disappointment, even long ago, that you wish could have been avoided.
Nor do you wish to give any answer which may hint that your whole heart and soul will not be in your work.
BEST RESPONSE:  Indicate that you are a happy, fulfilled, optimistic person and that, in general, you wouldn’t change a thing.
Example:  “It’s been a good life, rich in learning and experience, and the best it yet to come.  Every experience in life is a lesson it its own way.  I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Question 16            Can you work under pressure?

NOTE::  An easy question, but you want to make your answer believable.
BEST RESPONSE:  Absolutely…(then prove it with a vivid example or two of a goal or project accomplished under severe pressure.)

Question 17            What makes you angry?

NOTE::  You don’t want to come across either as a hothead or a wimp.
BEST RESPONSE:    Give an answer that’s suited to both your personality and the management style of the firm.  Here, the homework you’ve done about the company and its style can help in your choice of words.
Examples:  If you are a reserved person and/or the corporate culture is coolly professional:
“I’m an even-tempered and positive person by nature, and I believe this helps me a great deal in keeping my department running smoothly, harmoniously and with a genuine esprit de corps.  I believe in communicating clearly what’s expected, getting people’s commitment to those goals, and then following up continuously to check progress.”
“If anyone or anything is going off track, I want to know about it early.  If, after that kind of open communication and follow up, someone isn’t getting the job done, I’ll want to know why.  If there’s no good reason, then I’ll get impatient and angry…and take appropriate steps from there.  But if you hire good people, motivate them to strive for excellence and then follow up constantly, it almost never gets to that state.”
If you are feisty by nature and/or the position calls for a tough straw boss.
“You know what makes me angry?  People who (the fill in the blanks with the most objectionable traits for this type of position)…people who don’t pull their own weight, who are negative, people who lie…etc.”

Question 18            Who has inspired you in your life and why?

NOTE:  If you grope for an answer, it seems you’ve never been inspired.  If you ramble about your high school basketball coach, you’ve wasted an opportunity to present qualities of great value to the company.
BEST RESPONSE:  Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of Directors” – Leaders in your industry, from history or anyone else who has been your mentor.
Be prepared to give examples of how their words, actions or teachings have helped inspire your achievements.  As always, prepare an answer which highlights qualities that would be highly valuable in the position you are seeking.

Question 19            What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?

NOTE::  Giving an unprepared or irrelevant answer.
BEST RESPONSE:  Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the decision was difficult…the process you followed in reaching it…the courageous or effective way you carried it out…and the beneficial results.

Question 20            Tell me about the most boring job you’ve ever had.

NOTE::  You give a very memorable description of a very boring job.  Result?  You become associated with this boring job in the interviewer’s mind.
BEST RESPONSE:  You have never allowed yourself to grow bored with a job and you can’t understand it when others let themselves fall into that rut.
Example:  “Perhaps I’ve been fortunate, but that I’ve never found myself bored with any job I have ever held.  I’ve always enjoyed hard work.  As with actors who feel there are no small parts, I also believe that in every company or department there are exciting challenges and intriguing problems crying out for energetic and enthusiastic solutions.  If you’re bored, it’s probably because you’re not challenging yourself to tackle those problems right under your nose.”

Question 21            I’m concerned that you don’t have as much experience as we’d like in…

NOTE::  This could be a make-or-break question.  The interviewer mostly likes what he sees, but has doubts over one key area.  If you can assure him on this point, the job may be yours.
BEST RESPONSE:   This question is related to “The Fatal Flaw” (Question 18), but here the concern is not that you are totally missing some qualifications, such as CPA certification, but rather that your experience is light in one area.
Before going into any interview, try to identify the weakest aspects of your candidacy from this company’s point of view.  Then prepare the BEST RESPONSE you possible can to shore up your defenses.
To get past this question with flying colors, you are going to rely on your master strategy of uncovering the employer’s greatest wants and needs and then matching them with your strengths.  Since you already know how to do this from Question 1, you are in a much stronger position. 
More specifically, when the interviewer poses as objection like this, you should…
Agree on the importance of this qualification.
Explain that your strength may be indeed be greater than your resume indicates because…
When this strength is added to your other strengths, it’s really your combination of qualifications that’s most important.
Then review the areas of your greatest strengths that match up most favorably with the company’s most urgently-felt wants and needs.
This is powerful way to handle this question for two reasons.  First, you’re giving your interviewer more ammunition in the area of his concern.  But more importantly, you’re shifting his focus away from this one, isolated area and putting it on the unique combination of strengths you offer, strengths which tie in perfectly with his greatest wants.

Question 22            How do you feel about working nights and weekends?

NOTE::  Blurt out “no way, Jose” and you can kiss the job offer goodbye.  But what if you have a family and want to work a reasonably normal schedule?  Is there a way to get both the job and the schedule you want?
BEST RESPONSE:  First, if you’re a confirmed workaholic, this question is a softball lob.  Whack it out of the park on the first swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your style.  Add that your family understands it.  Indeed, they’re happy for you, as they know you get your greatest satisfaction from your work.
If however, you prefer a more balanced lifestyle, answer this question with another:  “What’s the norm for your best people here?
If the hours still sound unrealistic for you, ask, “Do you have any top people who perform exceptionally for you, but who also have families and like to get home in time to see them at night?”  Chances are this company does, and this associates you with this other “top-performers-who-leave-not-later-than-six” group.
Depending on the answer, be honest about how you would fit into the picture.  If all those extra hours make you uncomfortable, say so, but phrase your response positively.
Example:  “I love my work and do it exceptionally well.  I think the results speak for themselves, especially in …(mention your two or three qualifications of greater interest to the employer.  Remember, this is what he wants most, not a workaholic with weak credentials).  Not only would I bring these qualities, but I’ve built my whole career on working not just hard, but smart.  I think you’ll find me one of the most productive people here.
I do have a family who likes to see me after work and on weekends.  They add balance and richness to my life, which in turn helps me be happy and productive at work.  If I could handle some of the extra work at home in the evenings or on weekends, that would be ideal.  You’d be getting a person of exceptional productivity who meets your needs with strong credentials.  And I’d be able to handle some of the heavy workload at home where I can be under the same roof as my family.  Everybody would win.”

Question 23            What do you see as the proper role/mission of…
…a good (job title you’re seeking);
…a good manager;
…an executive in serving the community;
…a leading company in our industry; etc.

NOTE::  These and other “proper role” questions are designed to test your understanding of your place in the bigger picture of your department, company, community and profession….as well as the proper role each of these entities should play in its bigger picture.
The question is most frequently asked by the most thoughtful individuals and companies…or by those concerned that you’re coming from a place with a radically different corporate culture (such as from a big government bureaucracy to an aggressive small company).
The most frequent mistake executives make in answering is simply not being prepared (seeming as if they’ve never giving any of this a though.)…or in phrasing an answer best suited to their prior organization’s culture instead of the hiring company’s.
BEST RESPONSE:    Think of the most essential ingredients of success for each category above – your job title, your role as manager, your firm’s role, etc.
Identify at least three but no more than six qualities you feel are most important to success in each role.  Then commit your response to memory.
Here, again, the more information you’ve already drawn out about the greatest wants and needs of the interviewer, and the more homework you’ve done to identify the culture of the firm, the more on-target your answer will be.

Question 24            What would you say to your boss if he’s crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks?

NOTE::  This is another question that pits two values, in this case loyalty and honesty, against one another.
BEST RESPONSE:    Remember the rule stated earlier:  In any conflict between values, always choose integrity.
Example:  I believe that when evaluating anything, it’s important to emphasize the positive.  What do I like about this idea?”
“Then, if you have reservations, I certainly want to point them out, as specifically, objectively and factually as I can.”
“After all, the most important thing I owe my boss is honesty.  If he can’t count on me for that, then everything else I may do or say could be questionable in his eyes.”
“But I also want to express my thoughts in a constructive way.  So my goal in this case would be to see if my boss and I could make his idea even stronger and more appealing, so that it effectively overcomes any initial reservation I or others may have about it.”
“Of course, if he overrules me and says, ‘no, let’s do it my way,’ then I owe him my full and enthusiastic support to make it work as best it can.”

Question 25            How could you have improved your career progress?

NOTE::  This is another variation on the question, “If you could, how would you live your life over?”  Remember, you’re not going to fall for any such invitations to rewrite person history. You can’t win if you do.
BEST RESPONSE:  You’re generally quite happy with your career progress.  Maybe, if you had known something earlier in life (impossible to know at the time, such as the booming growth in a branch in your industry…or the corporate downsizing that would phase out your last job), you might have moved in a certain direction sooner.
But all things considered, you take responsibility for where you are, how you’ve gotten there, where you are going…and you harbor no regrets.

Question 26            What would you do if a fellow executive on your own corporate level wasn’t pulling his/her weight…and this was hurting your department?

NOTE::  This question and other hypothetical ones test your sense of human relations and how you might handle office politics.
BEST RESPONSE:  Try to gauge the political style of the firm and be guided accordingly.  In general, fall back on universal principles of effective human relations – which in the end, embody the way you would like to be treated in a similar circumstance.
Example:  “Good human relations would call for me to go directly to the person and explain the situation, to try to enlist his help in a constructive, positive solution.  If I sensed resistance, I would be as persuasive as I know how to explain the benefits we can all gain from working together, and the problems we, the company and our customers will experience if we don’t.”
POSSIBLE FOLLOW-UP QUESTION:  And what would you do if he still did not change his ways?
ANSWER:  “One thing I wouldn’t do is let the problem slide, because it would only get worse and overlooking it would set a bad precedent.  I would try again and again and again, in whatever way I could, to solve the problem, involving wider and wider circles of people, both above and below the offending executive and including my own boss if necessary, so that everyone involved can see the rewards for teamwork and the drawbacks of non-cooperation.”
“I might add that I’ve never yet come across a situation that couldn’t be resolved by harnessing others in a determined, constructive effort.”

Question 27.           You’ve been with your firm a long time.  Won’t it be hard switching to a new company?

NOTE::  Your interviewer is worried that this old dog will find it hard to learn new tricks.
BEST RESPONSE:  To overcome this objection, you must point to the many ways you have grown and adapted to changing conditions at your present firm.  It has not been a static situation. Highlight the different responsibilities you’ve held, the wide array of new situations you’ve faced and conquered.
As a result, you’ve learned to adapt quickly to whatever is thrown at you, and you thrive on the stimulation of new challenges.
To further assure the interviewer, describe the similarities between the new position and your prior one.  Explain that you should be quite comfortable working there, since their needs and your skills make a perfect match.

Question 28            Give me an example of your creativity (analytical skill…managing ability, etc.)

NOTE::  The worst offense here is simply being unprepared.  Your hesitation may seem as if you’re having a hard time remembering the last time you were creative, analytical, etc.
BEST RESPONSE:  Remember from Question 2 that you should commit to memory a list of your greatest and most recent achievements, ever ready on the tip of your tongue.
If you have such a list, it’s easy to present any of your achievements in light of the quality the interviewer is asking about.  For example, the smashing success you orchestrated at last year’s trade show could be used as an example of creativity, or analytical ability, or your ability to manage.

Question 29            Where could you use some improvement?

NOTE::  Another tricky way to get you to admit weaknesses.  Don’t fall for it.
BEST RESPONSE:  Keep this answer, like all your answers, positive.  A good way to answer this question is to identify a cutting-edge branch of your profession (one that’s not essential to your employer’s needs) as an area you’re very excited about and want to explore more fully over the next six months.

Question 30            What do you worry about?

NOTE::  Admit to worrying and you could sound like a loser.  Saying you never worry doesn’t sound credible.
BEST RESPONSE:  Redefine the word ‘worry’ so that it does not reflect negatively on you.
Example:  “I wouldn’t call it worry, but I am a strongly goal-oriented person.  So I keep turning over in my mind anything that seems to be keeping me from achieving those goals, until I find a solution.  That’s part of my tenacity, I suppose.”

Question 31            How many hours a week do you normally work?

NOTE::  You don’t want to give a specific number.  Make it to low, and you may not measure up.  Too high, and you’ll forever feel guilty about sneaking out the door at 5:15.
BEST RESPONSE:  If you are in fact a workaholic and you sense this company would like that:  Say you are a confirmed workaholic, that you often work nights and weekends.  Your family accepts this because it makes you fulfilled.
If you are not a workaholic:  Say you have always worked hard and put in long hours.  It goes with the territory.  It one sense, it’s hard to keep track of the hours because your work is a labor of love, you enjoy nothing more than solving problems.  So you’re almost always thinking about your work, including times when you’re home, while shaving in the morning, while commuting, etc.

Question 32            What’s the most difficult part of being a (job title)?

NOTE::  Unless you phrase your answer properly, your interviewer may conclude that whatever you identify as “difficult” is where you are weak.
BEST RESPONSE:  First, redefine “difficult” to be “challenging” which is more positive.  Then, identify an area everyone in your profession considers challenging and in which you excel.  Describe the process you follow that enables you to get splendid results…and be specific about those results.
Example:  “I think every sales manager finds it challenging to motivate the troops in a recession. But that’s probably the strongest test of a top sales manager.  I feel this is one area where I excel.” 
“When I see the first sign that sales may slip or that sales force motivation is flagging because of a downturn in the economy, here’s the plan I put into action immediately…” (followed by a description of each step in the process…and most importantly,  the exceptional results you’ve achieved.).

Question 33            What was the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced?

NOTE::  Being unprepared or citing an example from so early in your life that it doesn’t score many points for you at this stage of your career.
BEST RESPONSE:  This is an easy question if you’re prepared. Have a recent example ready that demonstrates either:
A quality most important to the job at hand; or
A quality that is always in demand, such as leadership, initiative, managerial skill, persuasiveness, courage, persistence, intelligence, etc.

Question 34            Do you consider starting your own business?

NOTE::  If you say “yes” and elaborate enthusiastically, you could be perceived as a loose cannon in a larger company, too entrepreneurial to make a good team player…or someone who had to settle for the corporate life because you couldn’t make a go of your own business.
Also too much enthusiasm in answering “yes” could rouse the paranoia of a small company indicating that you may plan to go out on your own soon, perhaps taking some key accounts or trade secrets with you.
On the other hand, if you answer “no, never” you could be perceived as a security-minded drone who never dreamed a big dream.
BEST RESPONSE:  Again it’s best to:
1.     Gauge this company’s corporate culture before answering and…
2.     Be honest (which doesn’t mean you have to vividly share your fantasy of the franchise or bed-and-breakfast you someday plan to open).
In general, if the corporate culture is that of a large, formal, military-style structure, minimize any indication that you’d love to have your own business.  You might say, “Oh, I may have given it a thought once or twice, but my whole career has been in larger organizations.  That’s where I have excelled and where I want to be.”
If the corporate culture is closer to the free-wheeling, everybody’s-a-deal-maker variety, then emphasize that in a firm like this, you can virtually get the best of all worlds, the excitement of seeing your own ideas and plans take shape…combined with the resources and stability of a well-established organization.   Sounds like the perfect environment to you.
In any case, no matter what the corporate culture, be sure to indicate that any desires about running your own show are part of your past, not your present or future.
The last thing you want to project is an image of either a dreamer who failed and is now settling for the corporate cocoon…or the restless maverick that will fly out the door with key accounts, contacts and trade secrets under his arms just as soon as his bankroll has gotten rebuilt.
Always remember:  Match what you want with what the position offers.  The more information you’ve uncovered about the position, the more believable you can make your case.

Question 35            What are your goals?

NOTE::  Not having any…or having only vague generalities, not highly specific goals.
BEST RESPONSE:  Many executives in a position to hire you are strong believers in goal-setting. (It’s one of the reason they’ve achieved so much).  They like to hire in kind.
If you’re vague about your career and personal goals, it could be a big turnoff to may people you will encounter in your job search.
Be ready to discuss your goals for each major area of your life:  career, personal development and learning, family, physical (health), community service and (if your interviewer is clearly a religious person) you could briefly and generally allude to your spiritual goals (showing you are a well-rounded individual with your values in the right order).
Be prepared to describe each goal in terms of specific milestones you wish to accomplish along the way, time periods you’re allotting for accomplishment, why the goal is important to you, and the specific steps you’re taking to bring it about.  But do this concisely, as you never want to talk more than two minutes straight before letting your interviewer back into the conversation.

Question 36            What do you look for when you hire people?

NOTE::  Being unprepared for the question.
BEST RESPONSE:  Speak your own thoughts here, but for the BEST RESPONSE weave them around the three most important qualifications for any position.
Can the person do the work (qualifications)?
Will the person do the work (motivation)?
Will the person fit in (“our kind of team player”)?

Question 37            Sell me this stapler…(this pencil…this clock…or some other object on interviewer’s desk).

NOTE::  Some interviewers, especially business owners and hard-changing executives in marketing-driven companies, feel that good salesmanship is essential for any key position and ask for an instant demonstration of your skill.  Be ready.
BEST RESPONSE:  Of course, you already know the most important secret of all great salesmanship – “find out what people want, then show them how to get it.”
If your interviewer picks up his stapler and asks, “sell this to me,” you are going to demonstrate this proven master principle.  Here’s how: 
“Well, a good salesman must know both his product and his prospect before he sells anything.  If I were selling this, I’d first get to know everything I could about it, all its features and benefits.”
“Then, if my goal were to sell it you, I would do some research on how you might use a fine stapler like this.  The best way to do that is by asking some questions.  May I ask you a few questions?”
Then ask a few questions such as, “Just out of curiosity, if you didn’t already have a stapler like this, why would you want one?  And in addition to that?  Any other reason?  Anything else?”
“And would you want such a stapler to be reliable?...Hold a good supply of staples?”  (Ask more questions that point to the features this stapler has.)
Once you’ve asked these questions, make your presentation citing all the features and benefits of this stapler and why it’s exactly what the interviewer just told you he’s looking for.
Then close with, “Just out of curiosity, what would you consider a reasonable price for a quality stapler like this…a stapler you could have right now and would (then repeat all the problems the stapler would solve for him)?  Whatever he says, (unless it’s zero), say, “Okay, we’ve got a deal.”
NOTE:  If your interviewer tests you by fighting every step of the way, denying that he even wants such an item, don’t fight him.  Take the product away from him by saying, “Mr. Prospect, I’m delighted you’ve told me right upfront that there’s no way you’d ever want this stapler.  As you well know, the first rule of the most productive salespeople in any field is to meet the needs of people who really need and want our products, and it just wastes everyone’s time if we try to force it on those who don’t.  And I certainly wouldn’t want to waste your time.  But we sell many items.  Is there any product on this desk you would very much like to own…just one item?”  When he points something out, repeat the process above.  If he knows anything about selling, he may give you a standing ovation.

Question 38            What was the toughest part of your last job?

NOTE:: This is slightly different from the question raised earlier, “What’s the most difficult part of being a (job title…)” because this asks what you personally have found most difficult in your last position.  This question is more difficult to redefine into something positive.  Your interviewer will assume that whatever you found toughest may give you a problem in your new position.
BEST RESPONSE:  State that there was nothing in your prior position that you found overly difficult, and let your answer go at that.  If pressed to expand your answer, you could describe the aspects of the position you enjoyed more than others, making sure that you express maximum enjoyment for those tasks most important to the open position, and you enjoyed least those tasks that are unimportant to the position at hand.

Question 39            How do you define success…and how do you measure up to your own definition?

NOTE::  Seems like an obvious enough question.  Yet many executives, unprepared for it, fumble the ball.
BEST RESPONSE:  Give a well-accepted definition of success that leads right into your own stellar collection of achievements.
Example:  “The best definition I’ve come across is that success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.”
“As to how I would measure up to that definition, I would consider myself both successful and fortunate…”(Then summarize your career goals and how your achievements have indeed represented a progressive path toward realization of your goals.)

Question 40            “The Opinion Question” – What do you think about …Abortion…The President…The Death Penalty…(or any other controversial subject)?

NOTE::  Obviously, these and other “opinion” questions should never be asked.  Sometimes they come up over a combination dinner/interview when the interviewer has had a drink or two, is feeling relaxed, and is spouting off about something that bugged him in today’s news.  If you give your opinion and it’s the opposite of his, you won’t change his opinions, but you could easily lose the job offer.
BEST RESPONSE:  In all of these instances, just remember the tale about student and the wise old rabbi.  The scene is a seminary, where an overly serious student is pressing the rabbi to answer the ultimate questions of suffering, life and death.  But no matter how hard he presses, the wise old rabbi will only answer each difficult question with a question of his own.
In exasperation, the seminary student demands, “Why, rabbi, do you always answer a question with another question?”  To which the rabbi responds, “And why not?”
If you are ever uncomfortable with any question, asking a question in return is the greatest escape hatch ever invented.  It throws the onus back on the other person, sidetracks the discussion from going into an area of risk to you, and gives you time to think of your answer or, even better, your next question!
In response to any of the “opinion” questions cited above, merely responding, “Why do you ask?” will usually be enough to dissipate any pressure to give your opinion.  But if your interviewer again presses you for an opinion, you can ask another question.
Or you could assert a generality that almost everyone would agree with.  For example, if your interviewer is complaining about politicians then suddenly turns to you and asks if you’re a Republican or Democrat, you could respond by saying, “Actually, I’m finding it hard to find any politicians I like these days.”
(Of course, your best question of all may be whether you want to work for someone opinionated.)

Question 41            If you won Rs.1 crore lottery, would you still work?

NOTE::  Your totally honest response might be, “Hell, no, are you serious?”  That might be so, but any answer which shows you as fleeing work if given the chance could make you seem lazy.  On the other hand, if you answer, “Oh, I’d want to keep doing exactly what I am doing, only doing it for your firm,” you could easily inspire your interviewer to silently mutter to himself, “Yeah, sure.  Gimme a break.”
BEST RESPONSE:  This type of question is aimed at getting at your bedrock attitude about work and how you feel about what you do.  Your BEST RESPONSE will focus on your positive feelings.
Example:  “After I floated down from cloud nine, I think I would still hold my basic belief that achievement and purposeful work are essential to a happy, productive life.  After all, if money alone bought happiness, then all rich people would be all happy, and that’s not true.
“I love the work I do, and I think I’d always want to be involved in my career in some fashion.  Winning the lottery would make it more fun because it would mean having more flexibility, more options...who knows?”
“Of course, since I can’t count on winning, I’d just as soon create my own destiny by sticking with what’s worked for me, meaning good old reliable hard work and a desire to achieve.  I think those qualities have built many more fortunes that all the lotteries put together.”

Question 42            Looking back on your last position, have you done your best work?

NOTE::  Tricky question.  Answer “absolutely” and it can seem like your best work is behind you.  Answer, “no, my best work is ahead of me,” and it can seem as if you didn’t give it your all.
BEST RESPONSE:  To cover both possible paths this question can take, your answer should state that you always try to do your best, and the best of your career is right now.  Like an athlete at the top of his game, you are just hitting your career stride thanks to several factors.  Then, recap those factors, highlighting your strongest qualifications.

Question 43            Tell me something negative you’ve heard about our company…

NOTE::  This is a common fishing expedition to see what the industry grapevine may be saying about the company.  But it’s also a trap because as an outsider, you never want to be the bearer of unflattering news or gossip about the firm.  It can only hurt your chances and sidetrack the interviewer from getting sold on you.
BEST RESPONSE:  Just remember the rule – never be negative – and you’ll handle this one just fine.

Question 44            On a scale of one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.

NOTE::  Give a perfect “10,” and you’ll seem too easy to please.  Give anything less than a perfect 10, and he could press you as to where you’re being critical, and that road leads downhill for you.
BEST RESPONSE:  Once again, never be negative.  The interviewer will only resent criticism coming from you.  This is the time to show your positivism.
However, don’t give a numerical rating. Simply praise whatever interview style he’s been using.
If he’s been tough, say “You have been thorough and tough-minded, the very qualities needed to conduct a good interview.”
If he’s been methodical, say, “You have been very methodical and analytical, and I’m sure that approach results in excellent hires for your firm.”
In other words, pay him a sincere compliment that he can believe because it’s anchored in the behavior you’ve just seen.

Good luck in your job search!

A FEW INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 5:51:00 AM Rating: 5

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