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Answers to Sample Interview Questions

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My answers to sample interview questions.

My answers to sample interview questions.

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  • 1. Sample  Interview  Question  &  Answer       1.) What   are   the   key   strengths   (qualities,   attributes,   skills...   not   work   experience)  you  bring  that  would  be  important  to  the  position?     I.       Communication  Skills   One   of   the   most   adept   skills   that   I   would   bring   to   the   table   is   my   ability   to   communicate   effectively   to   a   wide   variety   of   audiences   through   various   mediums.   This   skill   was   cultivated   at   some   of   the   nation’s   top   institutions   of   higher   education,   refined   through   hard   work   in   difficult   professional   industries   and   polished   by   unique   life   experiences  all  around  the  globe.       As   a   student   at   the   College   of   William   &   Mary,   I   learned   how   to   organize   and   convey   my   thoughts   both   orally   and   in   writing.   I   continued   to   fine-­‐tune   those   skills   as   a   history   teacher   in   the   United   Kingdom  where  I  learned  how  to  take  complex  ideas  and  break  them   down   into   digestible   components   that   were   accessible   and   interesting   to  both  students  and  colleagues.  In  law  school,  I  furthered  my  mastery   of   analyzing   information,   formulating   my   thoughts   and   delivering   compelling   arguments.   Working   as   a   litigator,   I   represented   large   corporate   clients   and   won   cases   by   effectively   communicating   my   clients’  messages  clearly  and  succinctly.       When   I   transitioned   into   the   business   world   as   an   entrepreneur,   I   put   my   education   and   life   experiences   to   the   test   as   I   sought   to  create   and   raise   capital   for   various   enterprises.   I   outlined   and   achieved   every   fundraising   goal   I   established   because   I   approached   investors   with   a   well-­‐crafted  message,  laid  the  proper  foundation  and  was  not  afraid  to   ask  difficult  questions.  As  a  business  owner  and  community  leader  in   Richmond,   I   continue   to   engage   a   wide   variety   of   audiences   as   I   promote   artistic,   business,   educational,   governmental   and   philanthropic  organizations  to  individuals,  companies,  politicians  and   institutions  throughout  the  region.       In   short,   although   my   resume   clearly   outlines   my   educational   and   professional   accomplishments,   what   it   may   not   overtly   do   is   illuminate   one   of   the   key   threads   that   tie   all   of   my   experiences   together—the   ability   to   effectively   communicate   with   practically   anyone  to  achieve  my  desired  objective.     II.     Leadership   Throughout  my  entire  life,  I  have  held  leadership  positions  in  a  variety   of  business,  civic  and  community  organizations.  I  am  a  natural  leader   who  is  comfortable  setting  specific  goals,  charting  a  course  to  achieve   1  
  • 2. them,   delegating   tasks,   managing   a   team   of   people   and   generating   a   genuine  sense  comradery  and  enthusiasm.       My   goal   as   a   leader   is   not   to   create   followers,   but   to   create   more   leaders.   That   is,   I   strive   to   inspire   people   and   show   them   what   they   are   capable   of   achieving   both   individually   and   as   part   of   a   team.   Utilizing  this  philosophy,  I  empower  my  team  members  to  accomplish   our   objectives   in   a   way   that   makes   everyone   feel   good   about   themselves,  their  work  and  our  mission.       A  true  leader  is  also  a  natural  salesperson.  Many  years  ago,  I  learned   an   invaluable   lesson   that   applies   to   both   leaders   and   marketers— what   people   think   about   something   matters   less   that   how   something   makes  people  feel  about  themselves.       That   is,   when   presenting   your   product   to   someone   (be   it   a   restaurant,   membership  in  an  organization  or  even  an  idea),  do  not  bother  asking   what  that  person  thinks  about  your  product.  That  superficial  question   will  likely  illicit  narrow  responses  such  as:  your  restaurant  has  good   food;   or,   your   organization   serves   an   important   need;   or,   your   idea   sounds   reasonable.   Instead,   ask   your   audience   how   your   product   makes   them   feel   about   themselves.   In   other   words,   ask:   Does   my   restaurant   make   you   feel   welcome,   happy   and   good   about   yourself   when   you   are   here?   Does   membership   in   my   association   create   a   sense   of   pride   in   you   and   a   feeling   of   place   and   worth   in   your   community?   Does   my   idea   generate   feelings   of   empathy   and   understanding  or  help  clarify  your  very  sense  of  self?       This   “feeling-­‐based   marketing”   technique   mirrors   my   aforementioned   leadership  philosophy.  I  engage  potential  clients  and  members  of  the   community   in   the   same   manner   that   I   lead   my   team   members—I   empower  them  to  feel  good  about  themselves,  the  work  that  they  do   and   our   collective   mission.   Once   an   individual,   corporation   or   organization  believes  that  your  product  and  your  mission  makes  them   feel   good   about   themselves,   you   have   gained   more   than   a   client— you’ve  created  a  staunch  advocate  and  partner.       As  an  employee  in  this  company,  I  will  lead  my  team  and  market  our   product   to   the   community   using   this   effective   feeling-­‐based   leadership   and   marketing   style   that   has   become   a   part   of   my   personality  and  come  to  define  my  professional  life.       III.     Tenacious  Work  Ethic   If   there   is   one   thing   that   my   resume   indicates,   and   that   can   be   confirmed  by  anyone  who  knows  me,  it  is  that  I  have  a  tenacious  work   ethic.   I   am   a   self-­‐motivated,   driven   and   methodical   person   who   2  
  • 3. operates  well  individually  and  as  a  part  of  a  team.  Once  I  establish  a   goal  (be  it  getting  into  a  top-­‐tier  school,  passing  the  Virginia  Bar  Exam   or  selling  people  on  an  idea  or  product),  I  devise  a  plan  to  achieve  it   and   systematical   work   towards   my   objective.   My   personal   and   professional   experiences   demonstrate   that   I   possess   an   innate   work   ethic  that  will  enable  me  to  achieve  all  of  the  goals  that  this  position   requires.       Not  only  must  the  person  who  holds  this  position  fulfill  his/her  duties   proficiently,   that   person   must   do   so   in   a   way   that   makes   the   entire   organization  appear  competent,  diplomatic,  professional  and  refined.   Importantly,   I   have   extensive   experience   in   bringing   finesse   to   professional  and  social  situations  ranging  from  business  functions  and   courtroom   trials   to   organizational   meetings   and   cocktail   parties.   If   given   the   opportunity   to   serve   in   this   post,   I   will   successfully   attain   the   company’s   stated   goals   and   do   so   with   the   dignity   and   grace   required  of  someone  given  the  responsibility  of  this  position.           This  position  plays  an  integral  part  in  working  towards  the  company’s   mission   and,   therefore,   much   like   an   entrepreneur,   the   person   who   occupies  the  post  is  never  really  “off  duty.”  If  selected,  I  will  work  on   behalf   of   the   company   both   on   and   off   the   clock   as   I   continue   to   pursue   my   “extra-­‐curricular”   involvement   in   various   civic   and   community   organizations   throughout   the   region   and   beyond.   Just   as   a   proper   education   extends   beyond   the   walls   of   the   classroom   during   the  school  day,  successful  execution  of  this  position’s  responsibilities   will   require   that   I   work   on   behalf   of   the   company   outside   of   the   office   in   various   facets   throughout   my   personal   and   professional   life.   I   am   ready   to   take   on   a   position   like   this   that   will   require   comprehensive   and  holistic  engagement  on  my  part.   IV.   Sense  of  Humor   In   every   professional   position   that   I   have   held   to   date   I   have   struck   the   appropriate   balance   between   hard   work   and   whimsicality,   all   while   maintaining   a   healthy   sense   of   humor.   Mark   Twain   once   said,   “Humor   is   mankind’s   greatest   blessing.”   Although   I   agree   with   Mark   Twain,  I  would  also  argue  that  humor  is  a  managerial  tool  that,  if  used   properly,   can   increase   the   chances   of   achieving   one’s   personal   and   professional  goals  throughout  life.       An  important  measure  of  a  good  leader  is  that  person’s  ability  to  use   humor   in   otherwise   serious   contexts.   Proper   use   of   humor   puts   people   at   ease   and   makes   it   easier   to   engage   them   on   an   emotional   level  and  win  them  over  as  an  advocate  for  your  objectives.  Over  time,   I  have  learned  when  and  how  to  effectively  use  humor  to  advance  my   goals.  If  selected  for  this  position,  I  will  continue  to  use  humor  as  both   3  
  • 4. a   business   tool   and   a   purely   social   device   in   order   to   achieve   my   objectives   and   to   provide   a   healthy   sense   of   levity   to   my   personal   and   professional  life.     Summary   It   should   be   readily   apparent   that   my   key   strengths   that   I   outlined   above   (communication   skills,   leadership,   tenacious   work   ethic   and   sense  of  humor)  are  inherently  interrelated.  Viewed  individually,  each   trait   is   admirable   and   likely   presents   someone   who   is   an   excellent   worker   and   an   all-­‐around   “good   guy.”   Viewed   collectively,   however,   these  traits  demonstrate  that  my  unique  life  experiences  have  granted   me   vast   insight   into   the   human   condition   that   has   enabled   me   to   succeed  in  various  facets  of  my  life.  As  an  employee  in  this  company,  I   will  utilize  that  insight  to  advance  the  company’s  mission,  provide  an   influential  and  vibrant  voice  to  its  vision  and  ensure  that  its  message   resonates  throughout  the  community.       4