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- Why are you leaving your present job?
If you had the opportunity to cover this in your 2-minute self-introduction, there’s a good chance the question will not be asked. Regardless of when it is asked, it must be answered briefly. If it was a force reduction due to economic circumstances, make that clear. If possible, explain how your termination was part of a larger movement. When you have finished answering, let it go. Refrain from analyzing any friction points with your boss.
- Describe what you feel would be an ideal working environment.
This is a place where you can bring in some of your own values and personal experiences. But don’t make it sound too sublime or impractical. Downplay the negative.
- Looking back. How do you perceive your past employer?
Be positive. Refer to the valuable experience you have gained. “It is an excellent company which has given me a lot of good experience and opportunities to perform.”
- What have you done that helped increase sales or profit? How did you go about it?
This is your chance to describe in some detail a business accomplishment that is relevant to the proposed new job. Feel free to dwell on this.
- How much financial responsibility have you had to account for?
You can answer this in terms of your budget or head-count or the size of the project or sales that you directed
- How many people have you managed on your recent jobs?
Be specific – and feel free to refer to those over whom you had influence, such as a task force or a matrix organization.
- Give examples of times when you were a leader.
Draw examples from accomplishments, which demonstrate your leadership skills.
- How do you think your subordinates perceive you?
Be as positive as you can, referring to your strengths, skills and traits, remember to be honest. References are easily checked.
- In your last position, what were the things that you liked most? And liked least?
Respond with care to this question. You’ll have the information from your satisfiers/dissatisfiers, but you’ll want to emphasize the positive and not talk at length about the negatives.
- In your recent position, what were some of your most significant accomplishments?
Since you have already selected the specific accomplishments you want to talk about, this question will be easy for you. Be ready to describe three or four of them in detail. When possible, try to relate your answer to the nature of the new challenges you might be facing.
- Why haven’t you found a new position after so many months?
You may find this question offensive, but do not take it personally. Simply give a brief answer, “Finding just any job is not too difficult, but finding the right job takes care and time,” and move on.
- What do you think of your previous boss?
Be as positive as you can, and avoid becoming embroiled in this issue. This is a loaded question because most bosses avoid a contentious or difficult subordinate. If you like the individual, say so and tell why. If you don’t, think of something positive to say.
- If I spoke with your previous boss, what would he or she say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Be consistent with what you think he or she would say. Position any weakness in a positive way. Your old boss will probably want to give you a good reference, so recount some of the good things you did for him or her.
- In your most recent position, what problems did you identify that had previously been overlooked?
Refer to accomplishments listed on your resume. Keep answers brief and include how the accomplishment was obtained.
- If you had your choice of jobs or companies, where would you land?
Talk about the target job and what is attractive in the company that is interviewing you.
- What do you feel you should earn in the proposed position?
You may want to answer this with a question, such as, “What is the typical salary range for similar jobs in your company?” Or, ”I consider myself to be a better than average, so I would expect to receive an offer that would be better than the midpoint of the salary range for the position.” If there is no range in the company, give the range that you had in mind. But qualify it by saying you hope to learn more about the job responsibilities and scope.
- If we were to offer you this position, what changes would you make in your organization?
The timing of this question is critical, since you can’t give any specific answer without knowing some details about the position, organization and culture. Even if you do, be careful about describing sweeping changes you might want to make. Unless the interviewer has specified critical problem areas that you feel comfortable addressing, limit your answer to explaining the need to study the current organization, talk with staff, and fully assess the implications before recommending any changes.
- Do you have any objections to taking our battery of psychological tests?
“No, none at all.” (This is an indication that you are a serious candidate.)
- What other types of jobs or companies are you considering at this time?
Don’t feel obliged to reveal details of your other negotiations. If you are interviewing elsewhere refer to your campaign in a general way. But concentrate mainly on the specific job for which you are interviewing.
- What sort of outside reading do you do?
Be honest. If possible, mention some of the things you read in order to keep yourself up-to-date in your professional field. However, it is okay to show balanced interests by mentioning your recreational reading as well.
- What motivates you the most?
Use the results of your career anchors and career assessment, but keep your answer fairly general: the satisfaction of meeting the challenges of the position, developing teams and individuals, meeting organizational goals. (Only if you are in sales would you mention money as a motivator.)
- Give one or two examples of your creativity.
Refer to accomplishments that relate to the company and the position, if possible.
- What are your long-range goals?
Relate your answer to the company you are interviewing with, rather than give a very broad, general answer. Keep your ambitions realistic. Talk first about doing the job for which you are applying, then talk about longer-range goals.
- What sort of relationships do you have with your associates, both at the same level and above and below you?
This is a very important question, so you will want to take the time to answer it in logical steps. When talking about your relationships with subordinates, be prepared to state your management philosophy, particularly with regard to performance issues.
When speaking of bosses, indicate your keen interest in understanding your boss’s expectations, so that you and your organization can build your goals in a way that will support his/her goals. You may also want to talk about how you would keep your boss informed. Stress your team-building, mutually cooperative approach with peers.
- What are some of your outside activities or recreations?
Hopefully, your answer can show that you lead a balanced life. But avoid mentioning so many activities that it casts some doubt on how much time you will have for the job. Remember that your hobbies and recreation activities can be quite revealing as to your own personality and values.