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Interview Questions #1 - The Answers In Detail
If you find yourself here without having had the opportunity to take the quiz, first - go to Interview Questions Quiz #1 - and see how you do!

Ready for another quiz? Try the Resume Quiz or the Job Search Networking Quiz.

Question 1: Why are you the best person for this job?

A "I've held a lot of positions like this one, and that experience will help me here."

...Incorrect: May denote an inability to sustain consistent performance. Experience is good, however, "a lot of jobs" is not.

B "Because I am good at what I do."

...Incorrect: This is a confident answer but too vague. You will be expected to support your answers with examples and you must be diplomatic. This may come across sounding arrogant.

C "Our discussion here leads me to believe this is a good place to work."

...Incorrect: This is a pleasant, flattering statement but sounds self serving. Always position your answering with some give and take. Describe what you can offer the employer.

D "You need someone who can produce results, and my background and experience are proof of my ability. For example..."

...This is the best answer. Acknowledging the need and giving a supported answer is the best tactic here.

Question 2: If asked a point blank question such as: Are you creative? Are you analytical? Can you work under pressure? etc. What is the best way to answer?

A Answer yes or no

...Incorrect: Unsupported answers are often viewed as not credible. Even a closed-ended question normally requires some explanation.

B Answer yes and give a specific example

...This is the best answer. A brief, specific example supports your answer well and says you are confident, well prepared, and genuine.

C Answer yes and give an explanation

....Incorrect: Specific examples offer a much more concise explanation of what you can do. During explanations people tend to ramble and lose the point. You also don't want to give "pat" answers and sound like a professional interviewer.

Question 3: Describe yourself.

A Outline personal data, hobbies, and interests.

...Incorrect: Normally interviewers want to know about your work habits and demeanor. Detailed information about your personal life is rarely appropriate.

B Give an overview of your personality and work habits.

...Incorrect: Being vague will not set you apart from the competition. When all is said and done, you must be memorable and believable. An overview likely will not accomplish either.

C Give three specific examples of your personality traits and accomplishments.

...This is the best answer. Examples are proof of your ability and a sign of confidence. Giving a clear concise example will be more memorable and set you apart from the group. Before the interview, think the needs of the job and how your personality could be a fit.

Question 4: Why are you in the job market?

A "I have invested a great deal of time with my company and become disenchanted with the way things are done."

...Incorrect: This sounds like a malcontent. Remember that the interview process is an elimination process as much as a selection process. You must come across as positive as possible.

B "I have a solid plan for my career. Within that plan I am looking for additional responsibility and more room for growth."

...This is the best answer. This shows you have given some thought to your career objectives. At the same time, it outlines your desire to grow and contribute.

C "I have been passed over for promotions when I know I am capable of doing more. I want to move on to a company that will not stunt my growth."

...Incorrect: This has a bitter sound to it. Diplomacy not only sounds better but shows control and preparation. The fact that you were passed over for promotions may indicate there were behaviors or unmet goals keeping you from moving up. Be careful to steer clear of negatives which will exclude you from consideration.

Question 5: What are you looking for in a position?

A "I'm looking for an opportunity to apply my skills and contribute to the growth of the company while helping create some advancement opportunities for myself."

...This is the best answer. This answer shows ambition, willingness to work for opportunity, and a desire to work for a dynamic organization. In this response you have energy and confidence.

B "I'm looking for an organization that will appreciate my contributions and reward my efforts."

...Incorrect: This is a one-sided answer. The interviewer may perceive this as an unwillingness to give and work hard for the good of the organization.

C "I'm looking for a position that will allow me to make enough money to support my lifestyle. I am a hard worker and will give a concerted effort to earn the money I need."

...Incorrect: It is alright to be money motivated to some degree, but be more subtle. Most interviewers are looking for people who are willing to work hard and get the job done. Such a concentration on financial rewards will not look good in most cases.

Question 6: What do you know about our organization?

A "I've done a little homework and here is what I know about your organization...(cite examples)"

...Incorrect: Doing your homework is good. This approach, however, denotes a lack of confidence in the knowledge you have and leaves a lot of room to ramble. A concise answer is better when possible.

B "Everything I've seen and heard makes me want to be a part of this organization. I understand your industry is ________ and your primary customer is __________. A particularly exciting part of your business appears to be _________ ."

...This is the best answer. Although this takes a little preparation, this level of knowledge and precise presentation will do wonders for starting an interview on the right foot.

C "I know enough to know this is an exciting place to work. It appears to be fit for my career goals."

...Incorrect: This is the right answer if you don't know anything. Remember, when distinguishing yourself from the competition there is no substitute for preparation.

Question 7: What are your short term objectives?

A "Short term, I just want a job."

...Incorrect: Will "any old job" do?

B "Bills are beginning to pile up. In the short run I need to find work so I can keep up with my obligations."

...Incorrect: This may be true - but no employer wants someone who has family or creditor problems or who sees the job under discussion as simply a paycheck. This answer implies a one-way relationship with this potential employer and little interest on the part of the job seeker to become part of the company long term.

C "Short-term, I'd like to find a position that is a good fit and where I can contribute to a company's bottom line. The position we are here to discuss today would appear to be such an opportunity. Could you tell me more about it?"

...This is the best answer. This answer alludes to "giving" as well as "getting" AND it refocuses the discussion on the job opening.

Question 8: What are your long term objectives?

A "I would think over long term I would be preparing myself to do your job."

...Incorrect: This answer might be true but it could very easily threaten the interviewer.

B "If selected I would hope to meet my goals and take advantage of opportunities to learn so I will be considered for other positions within the company. I hope to build my career with a company such as this one."

...This is the best answer. This answer suggests both a desire to move up and an understanding that the exact pace of movement is subject to many factors. Reassuring the interviewer of a desire to stay with a company is always a good idea.

C "Long term, I hope to start my own business."

...Incorrect: This answer might also be true--but it says that you intend to learn on the job and then become a potential competitor. Few interviewers would look forward to training their competitor!

Question 9: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A "In five years I will have either been promoted to your job or have started my own business."

...Incorrect: This answer is too aggressive for the vast majority of situations.

B "This is a very volatile market. I find it difficult to project out five years."

...Incorrect: Even if the position is in a very volatile industry, a more positive approach is expected of anyone who wants to be seriously considered for a position.

C "That really depends on the firm I join. I would like to take a position with some responsibility and room for growth. The key is with the right challenge I intend to continually contribute and grow with the firm."

...This is the best answer. It acknowledges the basic desires of wanting to work hard, contribute and grow without threatening.

Question 10: Before we go any further, what kind of money do you need to make?

A "I was making 50k at my last job and I feel I am worth at least 10% more."

...Incorrect: Many employers use money to exclude candidates. You must understand what the job is about and have the interviewer and all necessary parties ready to make an offer before you begin to negotiate salary. Salary negotiation is critical all by itself...don't sell yourself short.

B "My salary requirements are negotiable. Your firm has a reputation of compensating employees fairly and I trust you would do the same in my case. I am very interested in finding the right opportunity and will be open to any fair offer when I do so."

...This is the best answer. A discussion about salary before all the facts are on the table is premature. You will have much more bargaining power if you sell the company on you before talking salary. This answer is particularly effective because it recognizes the importance of wages but shifts the focus to the immediate discussion and effectively says "let's talk about that later." See article on Salary Negotiation Strategies.

C "Money is not very important to me. I need to be able to pay the bills but the work environment is far more important to me."

...Incorrect. This underscores the importance of your salary. This dramatically weakens your bargaining position if you do get an offer. It also says you don't put much value on your time and ability.

Question 11: What are your strengths?

A "I am good at giving constructive criticism to my coworkers. This honesty is something I'm very proud of and have found essential to having open working relationships."

...Incorrect: While this answer may be true, it may also send a red flag saying you are critical of others. It would be much better to simply say (and give an example of) how well you work with others.

B "I consider myself to be very consistent. I have proven myself to be someone who can be counted upon to do what is expected."

...Incorrect: This answer is not a bad answer but it lacks energy and creativity. Consistency is good, but it has nothing to do with action and solving problems and could exclude you from consideration.

C "I have a determination and ability to get things done. At the same time, I have strong analytical abilities and problem solving skills. These skills combine to give me a unique ability to solve problems and then implement productive solutions."

...This is the best answer. This shows you have given some real thought to your strengths and highlights not only the skills you have, but also of what use they are to the employer.

Question 12: What do subordinates think of you?

A "They perceive me as a leader. The people who have worked for me learned great deal under my direction and accomplished in many cases more than they thought possible."

...Incorrect: In most cases this is not the best response. It sounds as though you are a task master and rule with an iron hand.

B "My employees would tell you they got direction when they needed and the room to work when it was appropriate. I believe a measure of a good manager is how much he is able to get done through others."

...Incorrect: This is not the best answer in most cases. While this may be true it could give a signal that you do not get involved as a manager. This opinion could exclude you if the interviewer does not agree with you.

C "They perceive me as someone who cared about them personally and had high expectations. Former employees would highlight three of my priorities, which are to build loyalty and a team environment, obtain results and develop people."

...This is the best answer. This answer depicts a manager who cares about people but is keenly focused on productivity. This answer gives clear examples of the important aspects of one management style that is widely accepted.

Ready for another quiz? Try the Resume Quiz or the Job Search Networking Quiz.

Should I Hire a Professional Resume Writer?  /  1st-Writer.com Services

See more articles on job hunting

Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell Jones, 1st-Writer.com - over 15 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help!

1st-Writer.com P.O. Box 1128, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-1128 (904) 248-2493   E-mail Sue Campbell Jones

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