Many people perform only passably in interviews. The cause is almost always lack of preparation. Since nearly every conceivable question can be anticipated, you’ll gain a real edge over others through preparation.
Thoroughly preparing for the following 101 questions can easily take 15–25 hours. That may seem like a lot of time, but your success in interviewing will make the time spent a great investment. Few of your competitors will spend anywhere near that time in preparation, enabling you to stand out. If you apply only for those jobs that you are eminently qualified for (meaning you are not trying to stretch), then perhaps you could get by with 10–12 hours and still do well. Perhaps. The danger you face is that someone out there without the level of experience you have will become an outstanding interviewee, and will cause you to finish a close second. For the average job perhaps that’s okay, but what if you were a close second for that dream job?
Following are 101 questions which are frequently asked or cause great difficulty for interviewees. Write each question on a sheet of paper, and then briefly list the points you would like to make in response to them. Do not write out your responses word for word or try to memorize the answers. In an interview you may forget parts and stumble. Besides, your answers would sound canned. Instead, briefly list the main points you’d like to cover, then practice speaking the answers. This will enable you to give thoughtful but spontaneous-sounding answers.
An outline might look like this:
What is your greatest strength?
Developing solutions to difficult problems
Able to recognize root causes of problems
Effectively present the problem to management and gain support
Able to pull together the necessary resources
Develop excellent plans of action
Get others to buy into solving the problem and gain their support
Won’t quit until the problem is solved
Examples: 1) Found cause for defects in valve covers and resolved it, 2) decreased absenteeism 32%
In the next eight chapters the principles for answering the following questions will be covered in detail.
See our web site at www.cmr-mvp.com in order to print out a complete list of the questions with space already provided so you can write in your points as you prepare.
Chapter 21 Selling Personal Strengths
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. What is your greatest strength?
3. What can you offer us that someone else can’t?
4. What are your three most important career accomplishments?
5. How would you describe yourself?
6. Why should I hire you?
7. Describe the biggest crisis in your life [career].
8. What is unique about you?
9. How would your supervisor describe you?
10. Rate yourself on a scale of 1–10.
11. Tell me a story.
12. How have you benefited from disappointments?
Chapter 22 Overcoming Negatives And Objections
13. What is your greatest weakness? (similar to, What do you most need to work on?)
14. Have you ever been fired or asked to resign?
15. Why have you changed jobs so frequently?
16. Why have you been out of work so long? What have you been doing?
17. What is the biggest mistake you ever made?
Chapter 23 Responding To Questions About Your Personal Factors
18. What are your career goals?
19. What do you really want to do in life?
20. How long have you been out of work?
21. What personal, non-job-related goals have you set for yourself?
22. Are you willing to relocate?
23. Are you willing to travel overnight?
24. How do you feel about overtime?
25. What have you learned from your past mistakes? What were some of them?
26. What do you think determines a person’s progress with a good company?
27. Who has exercised the greatest influence on you? How?
28. What public figure do you admire most, and why?
29. What are your primary activities outside of work?
30. Would you have any concern if we did a full background check on you? What would we find?
31. What qualities do you most admire in people?
32. What have you done to increase your personal development?
33. What types of books and magazines do you read?
34. What was the last book you read [movie you saw] and how did it affect you?
35. How do you feel about your career progress?
36. What was the most useful criticism you ever received?
37. What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life in the past ten years?
38. If you won the $5 million lottery today, what would you be doing a year from now?
Chapter 24 Selling Personal Qualities
39. Can you work well under stress?
40. Do you prefer to work individually or as part of a team?
41. Are you a team player?
42. Tell me about the last incident that made you angry. How did you handle it?
43. What are the things that motivate you?
44. How do you handle people that you really don’t get along with?
45. What have you done that shows initiative?
46. What personal qualities are important for success in this field?
47. Sell me this pen.
48. Are you willing to take calculated risks?
49. Can you establish effective methods and procedures?
50. We have some very difficult and demanding customers. Can you handle that?
51. We need someone who is resourceful.
52. What has been your greatest challenge?
53. Describe a team project where you are proud of the team’s result, as well as of your personal contribution.
54. Describe a difficult decision you’ve made, and the process you went through to reach that decision.
55. Give me three qualities that are really helping you get ahead and three qualities you must work on if you are going to achieve your career goals.
56. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last ten years?
Chapter 25 Job Factors
57. Describe your perfect job.
58. What is most important to you in a job?
59. Why do you want to change careers?
60. Why do you want to get into this field?
61. Why did you leave your last job?
62. How long will it take before you make a positive contribution to our organization?
63. What do you like least about this position? Most?
64. Tell me about your duties at your present job.
65. What is the most important aspect of your job?
66. Describe a time when you were criticized on your job.
67. What is the most difficult situation you ever faced?
68. What frustrates you about your job?
69. What jobs have you enjoyed most? Least? Why?
70. What duties have you enjoyed most? Least? Why?
71. What is the worst thing you’ve heard about this organization?
72. Describe a typical work day.
Chapter 26 Questions Regarding Organizations And Supervisors
73. What position do you expect to hold in five years? (similar to, Where do you expect to be in five years?)
74. Why would you like to work for us?
75. What is your opinion of your present [or past] employer?
76. How long would you stay if we offered you this position?
77. What do you know about our company?
78. Why do you want to leave your present employer?
79. Starting with your first job out of college, tell me why you left each organization.
80. What kind of recommendations will you get from previous employers?
81. Describe your relationship with your last three supervisors.
82. What are your supervisor’s strengths and weaknesses?
83. What kind of supervisors do you like the most? Least? Why?
84. How has your supervisor helped you grow?
85. What did your supervisor rate you highest on during your last review? Lowest?
86. What kind of supervisor gets the best results out of you?
87. What is your boss like?
Chapter 27 Are You A Good Manager?
88. What actions would you take if you came on board?
89. Can you supervise people?
90. Describe your management philosophy and management style.
91. How many people have you hired? How do you go about it? How successful have the people been?
92. How many people have you fired? How do you handle terminations?
93. How would your subordinates describe you as a supervisor?
94. Some managers watch their employees closely while others use a loose rein. How do you manage?
95. How have you improved as a supervisor over the years?
Chapter 28 College: How Did You Do?
96. Why did you pick your major?
97. What kind of grades did you have?
98. What courses did you like most? Least? Why?
99. How has your schooling prepared you for this job?
100. Do you feel you did the best work at school that you were capable of doing?
101. How did your summer jobs benefit you?
In the following material, I’ve given you principles you can use to answer each of these questions. In some instances I have given examples of what could be said. When examples have been provided, it is not with the belief that these short responses are adequate to answer the entire question. Your responses will almost assuredly be longer. Use this material as a guide, then develop your own responses.