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Recruiting
0..~
THE KILLER QUESTIONS
1. so, tell me a little about yourself
WHAT HA VE YOU DONE WITH YOUR LIFE
2. Why are you thinking about leaving your current job?
3. Are you still employed at the firm listed on your resume?
4. After being with the same organisation for so long, don't you think you might
have a tough time getting accustomed to another?
5. You've changed jobs quite frequently. How do we know you'll stick around if we
hire you?
6. You've been with your current employer only a short amount of time. Is this an
indication that you'll be moving around a lot throughout your career?
7. Have you managed people in any of the positions you've held?
8. Have you been in charge of budgeting, approving expenses, and monitoring
departmental progress against financial goals? Are you very qualified in this
area?
9. How long have yon been in the job market?
10.Why haven't you received any offers so far?
11.Who made you an offer? For what type of position?
WORK AND THE "REAL" YOU
.
12.What are your key strengths as an employee?
13.Why should I consider you a strong applicant for this position?
14.What are your biggest weaknesses as an employee?
15.What do you plan to do to correct those weaknesses?
16.What are the biggest failures you've had during your career?
17.What have you done to make sure they won't occur again?
18.What are the skills you mostiieed to develop to advance your career?
19.What do your supervisors tend to criticise most about your performance?
.
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20. How did you do on your last perfonnance appraisal? What were the key strengths
and weaknesses mentioned by your supervisor?
21. Tell me about the best you've ever had.
22. Tell me about the worst boss you've ever had
23. Looking back on the experience now, do you think there was anything you could
have done to improve your relationship with that one bad boss?
24. How do you get about making important decisions?
25. Do you work well under pressure?
26. Do you anticipate problems well or merely react to them?
27.Would you describe yourself as a risk taker or someone who plays safe?
28. If you could start your career allover again, what would you do differently?
29. What is the biggest mistake you ever made in choosing a job? Why?
30. Do you prefer to work with others M.by yourself?
31. Are you good with people?
32. How do you get alone with superiors?
33. How do you get alone with co-workers?
34. How do you get alone with people you've supervised?
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO FOR A liVING
35. What were your most memorable accomplishments on your last job?
36. What have been the most memorable accomplishments of your career?
37. Was there anything your company (or department) could have done to be more
successful?
38. What is the title of the person to whom you report, and what are hir or her
responsibilities?
39. Describe the way your department is organised.
40. Did you inaugurate any new procedures (or systems or policies) in any of the
positions you've held?
41. If you don't leave your current job, what do you think will happen to you in your
career?
l
42. How far do you expect to advance with your present company?
43. If you are so happy at your current finn, why are you looking for another job?
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44. Your history of salary increases and promotions is good. Will they be surprised
that you're leaving?
45. If you have these complaints about your present company, and they think so
highly of you, why haven't you brought your concerns to their attention?
HOW CAN THE INTERVIEWER BE SURE
46. What interests you most about this position?
47. What do you like most about our company?
48. What have you heard about our company that you don't like?
49. What about the job we've described has the least appeal?
50. Describe your ideal job based on what you know about our industry right now.
51. How does that ideal stack up against the description of the job you're applying
for?
52. What types of people do you find it most difficult to get along with
53. Are there any people that have trouble getting along with you?
54. Have you ever hired anyone?
55. Why did you choose him or her (or them)?
56. Have you ever fired anyone?
57. What caused you to fire that person?
58. What does the word "success" mean to you?
59. What does the word "failure" mean to you?
60. What do you want to be doing five years from now?
61. What do you want to accomplish in your life?
62. What are your most important long-term goals?
63. Have you recently established any new objectives or goals?
64. How would you describe your management philosophy?
PERSON TO PERSON: IS ANYBODY HOME?
65. Are you good in health?
66. What do you do to stay in shape?
67. Do you have any physical problems that may limit your ability to perform the job
for which you're applying?
68. What do like to do when you're not at work?
,,
Recruiting
0.. I
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r 69.How wouldyourco-workersdescribeyou?
70. How do you generally handle conflict?
71. How do you behave when you're having a problem with a co-worker?
72. If you could change one thing about your personality with a snap of your fingers,
what would it be? Why?
73. Describe your best friend and what he or she does for a living.
74. In what ways are you similar or dissimilar to your best friend? .
75. Your supervisor left an assignment in your in-box and then left town for a week.
You can't reach him and don't fully understand the assignment. What would you
do?
76. The successful candidate for this position will be working with some highly
trained individuals who have been with the company a long time. How will you
fit in with them?
77.Your supervisor tells you to do something in away you know is dead wrong.
What would you do?
78. How will you handle the least interesting or least pleasant tasks that are part of
this job?
79. You've had little experience with budgeting (or sales or marketing or whatever).
How do you intend to learn?
80. This is a much smaller (or much larger) company than you've ever worked at.
How do you feel about that?
81. Are you an organised person?
82. Do you manage your time well?
THERE ARE NO INNOCENT QUESTIONS
83. How are you today?
84. Did you have any trouble finding us?
85. Do you know much about our company?
86. What's the last book you read?
87. What's the last movie you saw?
...
I I
GOING BACK TO SCHOOL
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88. What extracurricular activities were you active in? What made you choose these?
Which of them did you most enjoy? Why?
89. What led you to select your major? Your minor?
90. Which courses did you like most? Which courses did you like least?
91. If you were to start college over again tomorrow, what courses would you take?
Why?
92. What are your most memorable experiences from college?
93. What did you learn from (or why don't I see any) internships on your resume?
94. In what courses did you get your worst grades? Why? How do you think that will
affect you performance on thejob?
WRAPPING UP
95. Do you have any questions?
96. What sort of salary are you looking for?
97. Are you willing to travel?
98. Are you willing to relocate?
99. May I contact your current employer?
100. May I contact your references?
101. Is there anything else I should know about you?
Q : "Tell me about yourself."
HINT: Talk about personal characteristicsand skills that translate into career strengths.
A: "I love tojump into projects with both feet. I like sitting in front of a computer or at
my desk for hours at a time thinking about a problem, plotting out the solution, making
the presentation. Object-orientedtechnology [or any new technology]is my newest
challenge."
Q : "What are your greatest strengths?"
HINT: Discuss specific assetsthe employerdesires.
A : "Pleasant personality/politeness, loyalty, willingness to work hard, motivation,
persistence, tenacity."
Q : "How do you let off steam after you've completed a tough project? What do
you like to do in your spare time?"
HINT: Managers like well-roundedemployees;your answer to this question illustrates
some of your personal qualities. If you can mention pastimes that would be an asset to the
job you are seeking, so much the better. For example, a bridge player must possess
valuable analytical skills. Whatever your favoritehobby is, strongoutside interests round
out your character.
A : "For relaxation I like to read a mystery novel, go swimming, go skiing, make
pottery . . ."
Q : "Where do you plan to be in five years?"
HINT: Everyone hates this question, but everyone asks it. The traditional answer is
"management." But in recent years companies have started to develop a technical career
track. Many companies call this position "consultant" or "senior software engineer" or
"staff engineer." Of course, any other management position that you think would interest
you is also appropriate: product marketing manager, application manager for a particular
project (in other words, a first-line manager), or any other position that requires a
technical background. Employers like goal-oriented workers, so saying you don't know
will turn a manager off.
I
I....
A: The generic answer would be, "}would like to try the technical career track," or, "I
want to follow the management career path."
,,
Q : "What are your weaknesses?"
HINT: There are a couple of approachesyou can take with the "weakness"question.
Whatever you do, do not mentionany true weakness, such as, "I have a hard time getting
to work on time." The abilityto answerthe question properly is half of what the manager
is looking for. One strategy is to give a personal weakness that is considered a
professional strength.
A: "I'm so compulsive about my work, that I can't stop until thejob is perfect." Another
approach is to turn the question into a discussion of your currentprofessional goals.
Example: "I plan to improve myself this year by taking a class in public speaking."
Choose a peripheral weakness --one that you may really need to work on, but not one
that would disqualify you for the position in question.
Q : "Why do you want to work here at XYZ Company?"
HINT: Be very careful with this one. If you've researchedthis companythen you can say
something specific, like "object-orientedrelational databasetechnology really turns me
on." Showing that you have done some research marks you as a self-starterwith a solid
grasp of the big picture.
A : "I've been following XYZ's growth and I want a company that I can grow with. Your
company is solid and stable, with a growth rate of X percent last year and a great
competitive position" Or, "I like a start-upenvironmentwhere I can really make a '
difference. "
Q : "Why should we hire you?"
A : "Because I would be an asset to your organization. I'm loyal,tenacious, motivated,
and I learn fast. I'm someonewho couldbe very productive very quickly."
Q : "What motivates you?"
HINT: Whatever you do, do not say lots of money. We all know that money,power and
recognition are all basic motivators.But you do not want to appear selfish. You want to
appear intelligent and hard-workingand interested in doing a goodjob, interested in
giving rather than receiving. If you've heldjobs while in college or duringthe summers,
be sure to reach from those specific examplesto illustratethe above.
I
L
A: "A job well done." "A challenge." "Interesting work/technology." Any or all of these
answers work.
r
r Q : "Tell me about a conflict you encountered and how you handled it."
HINT: This is one of the toughest interview questionsof all. It's sort of a trick question,
as a matter of fact. Never speak negatively about anyone.The ability to successfully
resolve conflicts is important for all members of an IS team.. It may be the most
important factor if you'reworking in a service environment,such as a large consulting
firm that deals with outside clients. The answer you give here could go a long way
toward getting you ajob offer. Managerswant to see that you are mature and unselfish.
The answer should involveproof of your maturity level. They are looking for your ability
to handle conflict. Compromiseand working it out without external intervention are the
keys. A disgruntledperson is not going to be productive, and tends to bring down
coworkers' morale as well.
A : "I sat down with the otherperson and asked what his issueswere. Then I outlined my
issues. We talked about which were the most important ones and which we could
compromise on. We looked for the common aspects of our goals and placed those first.
Then we decided together what to give up and what to keep, so that both parties felt they
were winning something.Both parties were satisfied."
Q : "What changes have you made in your life that you are most proud of?"
HINT: This tells the manager more about your ability to take control of your life. It
illustrates your leadershippotential, and suggestsjust how promotableyou might be.
After all, ifhe produces a star,he looks good. '
If you're interviewing at a service provider, you will probably be asked to lunch.
Remember that you're being judged on whether you know how to make small talk with a
client and your overall manners and social skills.
Q : "What are your salary requirements?"
HINT: The use of the word "offer" is critical. It's a subliminalmessage that an actualjob
offer is what you are discussing,notjust your salary needs in general.
A : "Salary is not my primary consideration. Of course, I have to pay the bills. I'd be open
to any reasonable offer." Pause and maintain direct eye contact, even if it seems like
forever. Do not be the first one to flinch. Do not over-talk. Be prepared for a long silence.
Let the manager be the first to present a figure. It will give you power and control.
-
If forced to give a specific number, never give a broad range -- you will usually be
offered the low end. Instead, be as precise as possible: "I'd be open to something in the
low-fifties (or mid-forties, high-seventies, whatever)." Giving such a specific number
presumes you've researched the local job market and know what entry-level people with
your skills are making.
Q : "Are you interviewing at any other companies?"
HINT: You want the manager to know that you're extremelyinterested in his opportunity,
but are keeping your options open.
A : "Yes, Mr. X, but at this point XYZ is my first choice."
-

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101 toughest interviews_questions

  • 1. Recruiting 0..~ THE KILLER QUESTIONS 1. so, tell me a little about yourself WHAT HA VE YOU DONE WITH YOUR LIFE 2. Why are you thinking about leaving your current job? 3. Are you still employed at the firm listed on your resume? 4. After being with the same organisation for so long, don't you think you might have a tough time getting accustomed to another? 5. You've changed jobs quite frequently. How do we know you'll stick around if we hire you? 6. You've been with your current employer only a short amount of time. Is this an indication that you'll be moving around a lot throughout your career? 7. Have you managed people in any of the positions you've held? 8. Have you been in charge of budgeting, approving expenses, and monitoring departmental progress against financial goals? Are you very qualified in this area? 9. How long have yon been in the job market? 10.Why haven't you received any offers so far? 11.Who made you an offer? For what type of position? WORK AND THE "REAL" YOU . 12.What are your key strengths as an employee? 13.Why should I consider you a strong applicant for this position? 14.What are your biggest weaknesses as an employee? 15.What do you plan to do to correct those weaknesses? 16.What are the biggest failures you've had during your career? 17.What have you done to make sure they won't occur again? 18.What are the skills you mostiieed to develop to advance your career? 19.What do your supervisors tend to criticise most about your performance? .
  • 2. ,. ,r r R .t . 0..ecrul In9 ~ 20. How did you do on your last perfonnance appraisal? What were the key strengths and weaknesses mentioned by your supervisor? 21. Tell me about the best you've ever had. 22. Tell me about the worst boss you've ever had 23. Looking back on the experience now, do you think there was anything you could have done to improve your relationship with that one bad boss? 24. How do you get about making important decisions? 25. Do you work well under pressure? 26. Do you anticipate problems well or merely react to them? 27.Would you describe yourself as a risk taker or someone who plays safe? 28. If you could start your career allover again, what would you do differently? 29. What is the biggest mistake you ever made in choosing a job? Why? 30. Do you prefer to work with others M.by yourself? 31. Are you good with people? 32. How do you get alone with superiors? 33. How do you get alone with co-workers? 34. How do you get alone with people you've supervised? WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO FOR A liVING 35. What were your most memorable accomplishments on your last job? 36. What have been the most memorable accomplishments of your career? 37. Was there anything your company (or department) could have done to be more successful? 38. What is the title of the person to whom you report, and what are hir or her responsibilities? 39. Describe the way your department is organised. 40. Did you inaugurate any new procedures (or systems or policies) in any of the positions you've held? 41. If you don't leave your current job, what do you think will happen to you in your career? l 42. How far do you expect to advance with your present company? 43. If you are so happy at your current finn, why are you looking for another job?
  • 3. R 8 t 8 D..ecrul In9 ~ 44. Your history of salary increases and promotions is good. Will they be surprised that you're leaving? 45. If you have these complaints about your present company, and they think so highly of you, why haven't you brought your concerns to their attention? HOW CAN THE INTERVIEWER BE SURE 46. What interests you most about this position? 47. What do you like most about our company? 48. What have you heard about our company that you don't like? 49. What about the job we've described has the least appeal? 50. Describe your ideal job based on what you know about our industry right now. 51. How does that ideal stack up against the description of the job you're applying for? 52. What types of people do you find it most difficult to get along with 53. Are there any people that have trouble getting along with you? 54. Have you ever hired anyone? 55. Why did you choose him or her (or them)? 56. Have you ever fired anyone? 57. What caused you to fire that person? 58. What does the word "success" mean to you? 59. What does the word "failure" mean to you? 60. What do you want to be doing five years from now? 61. What do you want to accomplish in your life? 62. What are your most important long-term goals? 63. Have you recently established any new objectives or goals? 64. How would you describe your management philosophy? PERSON TO PERSON: IS ANYBODY HOME? 65. Are you good in health? 66. What do you do to stay in shape? 67. Do you have any physical problems that may limit your ability to perform the job for which you're applying? 68. What do like to do when you're not at work?
  • 4. ,, Recruiting 0.. I I r 69.How wouldyourco-workersdescribeyou? 70. How do you generally handle conflict? 71. How do you behave when you're having a problem with a co-worker? 72. If you could change one thing about your personality with a snap of your fingers, what would it be? Why? 73. Describe your best friend and what he or she does for a living. 74. In what ways are you similar or dissimilar to your best friend? . 75. Your supervisor left an assignment in your in-box and then left town for a week. You can't reach him and don't fully understand the assignment. What would you do? 76. The successful candidate for this position will be working with some highly trained individuals who have been with the company a long time. How will you fit in with them? 77.Your supervisor tells you to do something in away you know is dead wrong. What would you do? 78. How will you handle the least interesting or least pleasant tasks that are part of this job? 79. You've had little experience with budgeting (or sales or marketing or whatever). How do you intend to learn? 80. This is a much smaller (or much larger) company than you've ever worked at. How do you feel about that? 81. Are you an organised person? 82. Do you manage your time well? THERE ARE NO INNOCENT QUESTIONS 83. How are you today? 84. Did you have any trouble finding us? 85. Do you know much about our company? 86. What's the last book you read? 87. What's the last movie you saw? ... I I GOING BACK TO SCHOOL ==
  • 5. R - t - [J..ecrul In9 ~ 88. What extracurricular activities were you active in? What made you choose these? Which of them did you most enjoy? Why? 89. What led you to select your major? Your minor? 90. Which courses did you like most? Which courses did you like least? 91. If you were to start college over again tomorrow, what courses would you take? Why? 92. What are your most memorable experiences from college? 93. What did you learn from (or why don't I see any) internships on your resume? 94. In what courses did you get your worst grades? Why? How do you think that will affect you performance on thejob? WRAPPING UP 95. Do you have any questions? 96. What sort of salary are you looking for? 97. Are you willing to travel? 98. Are you willing to relocate? 99. May I contact your current employer? 100. May I contact your references? 101. Is there anything else I should know about you?
  • 6. Q : "Tell me about yourself." HINT: Talk about personal characteristicsand skills that translate into career strengths. A: "I love tojump into projects with both feet. I like sitting in front of a computer or at my desk for hours at a time thinking about a problem, plotting out the solution, making the presentation. Object-orientedtechnology [or any new technology]is my newest challenge." Q : "What are your greatest strengths?" HINT: Discuss specific assetsthe employerdesires. A : "Pleasant personality/politeness, loyalty, willingness to work hard, motivation, persistence, tenacity." Q : "How do you let off steam after you've completed a tough project? What do you like to do in your spare time?" HINT: Managers like well-roundedemployees;your answer to this question illustrates some of your personal qualities. If you can mention pastimes that would be an asset to the job you are seeking, so much the better. For example, a bridge player must possess valuable analytical skills. Whatever your favoritehobby is, strongoutside interests round out your character. A : "For relaxation I like to read a mystery novel, go swimming, go skiing, make pottery . . ." Q : "Where do you plan to be in five years?" HINT: Everyone hates this question, but everyone asks it. The traditional answer is "management." But in recent years companies have started to develop a technical career track. Many companies call this position "consultant" or "senior software engineer" or "staff engineer." Of course, any other management position that you think would interest you is also appropriate: product marketing manager, application manager for a particular project (in other words, a first-line manager), or any other position that requires a technical background. Employers like goal-oriented workers, so saying you don't know will turn a manager off. I I.... A: The generic answer would be, "}would like to try the technical career track," or, "I want to follow the management career path."
  • 7. ,, Q : "What are your weaknesses?" HINT: There are a couple of approachesyou can take with the "weakness"question. Whatever you do, do not mentionany true weakness, such as, "I have a hard time getting to work on time." The abilityto answerthe question properly is half of what the manager is looking for. One strategy is to give a personal weakness that is considered a professional strength. A: "I'm so compulsive about my work, that I can't stop until thejob is perfect." Another approach is to turn the question into a discussion of your currentprofessional goals. Example: "I plan to improve myself this year by taking a class in public speaking." Choose a peripheral weakness --one that you may really need to work on, but not one that would disqualify you for the position in question. Q : "Why do you want to work here at XYZ Company?" HINT: Be very careful with this one. If you've researchedthis companythen you can say something specific, like "object-orientedrelational databasetechnology really turns me on." Showing that you have done some research marks you as a self-starterwith a solid grasp of the big picture. A : "I've been following XYZ's growth and I want a company that I can grow with. Your company is solid and stable, with a growth rate of X percent last year and a great competitive position" Or, "I like a start-upenvironmentwhere I can really make a ' difference. " Q : "Why should we hire you?" A : "Because I would be an asset to your organization. I'm loyal,tenacious, motivated, and I learn fast. I'm someonewho couldbe very productive very quickly." Q : "What motivates you?" HINT: Whatever you do, do not say lots of money. We all know that money,power and recognition are all basic motivators.But you do not want to appear selfish. You want to appear intelligent and hard-workingand interested in doing a goodjob, interested in giving rather than receiving. If you've heldjobs while in college or duringthe summers, be sure to reach from those specific examplesto illustratethe above. I L A: "A job well done." "A challenge." "Interesting work/technology." Any or all of these answers work.
  • 8. r r Q : "Tell me about a conflict you encountered and how you handled it." HINT: This is one of the toughest interview questionsof all. It's sort of a trick question, as a matter of fact. Never speak negatively about anyone.The ability to successfully resolve conflicts is important for all members of an IS team.. It may be the most important factor if you'reworking in a service environment,such as a large consulting firm that deals with outside clients. The answer you give here could go a long way toward getting you ajob offer. Managerswant to see that you are mature and unselfish. The answer should involveproof of your maturity level. They are looking for your ability to handle conflict. Compromiseand working it out without external intervention are the keys. A disgruntledperson is not going to be productive, and tends to bring down coworkers' morale as well. A : "I sat down with the otherperson and asked what his issueswere. Then I outlined my issues. We talked about which were the most important ones and which we could compromise on. We looked for the common aspects of our goals and placed those first. Then we decided together what to give up and what to keep, so that both parties felt they were winning something.Both parties were satisfied." Q : "What changes have you made in your life that you are most proud of?" HINT: This tells the manager more about your ability to take control of your life. It illustrates your leadershippotential, and suggestsjust how promotableyou might be. After all, ifhe produces a star,he looks good. ' If you're interviewing at a service provider, you will probably be asked to lunch. Remember that you're being judged on whether you know how to make small talk with a client and your overall manners and social skills. Q : "What are your salary requirements?" HINT: The use of the word "offer" is critical. It's a subliminalmessage that an actualjob offer is what you are discussing,notjust your salary needs in general. A : "Salary is not my primary consideration. Of course, I have to pay the bills. I'd be open to any reasonable offer." Pause and maintain direct eye contact, even if it seems like forever. Do not be the first one to flinch. Do not over-talk. Be prepared for a long silence. Let the manager be the first to present a figure. It will give you power and control. - If forced to give a specific number, never give a broad range -- you will usually be offered the low end. Instead, be as precise as possible: "I'd be open to something in the low-fifties (or mid-forties, high-seventies, whatever)." Giving such a specific number presumes you've researched the local job market and know what entry-level people with
  • 9. your skills are making. Q : "Are you interviewing at any other companies?" HINT: You want the manager to know that you're extremelyinterested in his opportunity, but are keeping your options open. A : "Yes, Mr. X, but at this point XYZ is my first choice." -