10 Killer Job Interview questions and Answers

27 08 2007

Behind every interview question there is a concern or
another question. Your job is to process the question
thinking about what the interviewer’s concern might be. In
other words, why is the interviewer asking you this
question?

Q#1 – How long have you been looking for a job? (Concern –
is there something wrong with you that other employers have
picked up?)

A#1 – “After I was laid off from my last job, I took the
opportunity to take some time out to examine my career
goals and where I was going with my life. I have just begun
my search in the last few weeks. I have a definite goal in
mind and have been selective about the positions I
consider. Your company and this position are of great
interest to me.”

Q#2 – How did you prepare for this interview? (Concern –
are you interested enough to do some research, or are you
going to “wing it”?)

A#2 – “When I found this position posted on the internet
(monster.com) I was immediately interested. I checked out
the company website and mission statement, looked at the
bios of company founders and executives, and was impressed.
Once I had the interview appointment, I talked with friends
and acquaintances in the industry. And, I’m sure I’ll find
out a lot more in today’s meetings.”

Q#3 – What is your salary expectation for this job?
(Concern – Can we afford you? Can we get you for less than
budgeted?)

A#3 – “I’ll need more information about the job and the
responsibilities involved before we can begin to discuss
salary. Can you give me an idea of the range budgeted for
this position?”

Q#4 – How do you keep current and informed about your job
and the industries that you have worked in? (Concern – Once
you get the job do you continue to learn and grow – stay
challenged and motivated?)

A#4 – “I pride myself on my ability to stay on top of what
is happening in my industry. I do a lot of reading – the
business section of the newspapers and magazines. I belong
to a couple of professional organizations and network with
colleagues at the meetings. I take classes and seminars
whenever they are of interest, or offer new information or
technology.”

Q#5 – Tell me about a time when you had to plan and
coordinate a project from start to finish. (Concern –
behavioral questions – seeking an example of specific past
behavior)

A#5 – ” I headed up a project which involved customer
service personnel and technicians. I organized a meeting to
get everyone together to brainstorm and get his or her
input. From this meeting I drew up a plan, taking the best
of the ideas. I organized teams, balancing the mixture of
technical and non-technical people. We had a deadline to
meet, so I did periodic checks with the teams. After three
weeks, we were exceeding expectations, and were able to
begin implementation of the plan. It was a great team
effort, and a big success. I was commended by management
for my leadership, but I was most proud of the team spirit
and cooperation which it took to pull it off.”

Q#6 – What kinds of people do you have difficulties
working with? (Concern – ability to be flexible and work in
a diverse environment?)

A#6 – “In my last three jobs I have worked with men and
women from very diverse backgrounds and cultures. The only
time I had difficulty was with people who were dishonest
about work issues. I worked with one woman who was taking
credit for work that her team accomplished. I had an
opportunity to talk with her one day and explained how she
was affecting the morale. She became very upset that others
saw her that way, and said she was unaware of her behavior
or the reactions of others. Her behavior changed after our
talk. What I learned from that experience is that sometimes
what we perceive about others is not always the case if we
check it out.”

Q#7 – We expect managers to work more than 8 hours a day.
Do you have a problem with that? (Concern – are you a
work-aholic or a person who requires balance?)

A#7 – “I have no problem working long hours. I have worked
12 or 14 hour days. What I have found works for me is to
work smarter, not necessarily longer. My goal is to get the
job done, whatever that takes, in the most efficient
manner.”

Q#8 – When have you been most satisfied in your career?
(Concern – what motivates you? Or demotivates you?)

A#8 – “The job before the one I am currently at, was my
most rewarding experience for me. I worked in a wonderful
team environment. There was a lot of camaraderie. I worked
with a team of four people and we did some really original
thinking. It is that kind of environment I want to be
involved in again.”

Q#9 – Why do you want this job? (Concern – are you using
the shot-gun approach to job search or do you really know
what you want?)

A#9 – “I’ve been very careful about the companies where I
have applied. When I saw the ad for this position, I knew I
found what I was looking for. What I can bring to this job
is my seven years of experience, and knowledge of the
industry, plus my ability to communicate and build customer
relationships. That, along with my flexibility and
organizational skills, makes me a perfect match for this
position. I see some challenges ahead of me here, and
that’s what I thrive on. I have what you need, and you have
what I want.”

Q#10 – We are ready to make an offer. Are you ready to
accept today? (Concern – we don’t want you to go away and
think about it and change your mind – we want you.)

A#10 – “Based on my research and the information I have
gathered during the interview process, I feel I am in a
position to consider an offer. I do, however, have a
personal policy that I give myself at least 24 hours to
make major life decisions. I could let you know by
tomorrow.”

There is no way you can accurately predict the questions
that will be asked in an interview, but you can be ready
and prepared by thinking about the factors that might
concern an interviewer or employer before the interview.

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