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Ultimate Guide to Job Interview Answers

1 November, 2014




What did you like best and least about your previous
job?

DISCUSSION: This question reveals a lot about you. You want to
indicate that
what you liked best about your last job are things that will appeal to the
Hiring
Manager. Show that your last job allowed you to demonstrate many of the
desirable
Behavioral Competencies that are discussed at the beginning of this Guide.
Give
specific examples of how your last job allowed you to flex your skills and
show your
maturity. Never make statements like “I like that my last company gave me
a lot of
vacation days,” or something similar. When answering about what you liked
least, keep
it short, do not be negative, and relate your answer to how your last job
limited you
in your ability to exhibit positive Behavioral
Competencies.X” skills, which I know
will help me succeed here if I am fortunate enough to be able to join your
team. What are the qualities and skills of the people who have been


“What I liked about my last job was the fact that there was good on the
job training. I was able to really develop my “X” skills, which I know
will help me succeed here if I am fortunate enough to be able to join your
team. What are the qualities and skills of the people who have been most
successful at this company?”

“One thing I liked about my last job was that it allowed me to develop my
leadership
skills. FOR EXAMPLE, I was put in charge of a project where I had
to earn
the
“buy-in” of people from multiple different departments — including
Marketing, IT,
Product Development, and even HR. I held all the responsibility for
getting this
project completed on time, even though I had no real authority over my
teammates
since they did not report to me. I was able to create a project vision
that the team
agreed on, and then day-to-day I made sure that each team member completed
their work
on time. I did this in most cases by appealing to my teammates’ own
self-interests.
FOR EXAMPLE … “

“What I liked least about my last job was that the management style was
pretty hands
off, and this was fine for me because I am self-motivated and work hard
to achieve.
But the lack of structure sometimes allowed some of my teammates to
slack off
from time to time — and I often ended up having to pick up the extra
work. I would
not mind that SOMETIMES, but it got old after a while. I had to
constructively
approach my manager
and let her know what was going on WITHOUT
creating
any friction
between me and the slacker teammates, who I actually liked as people. In
the end, it
worked out well, because I was pro-active. Have you ever run into that
type of situation as a manager?”

“… a full explanation of what
you need to say to get you hired …”

What have you learned from your
mistakes?

DISCUSSION: Show that you are able to learn from your mistakes, but
don’t
offer up any negative examples concerning your past performance. Show that
you have
been successful, but that you have the maturity it takes to examine your
own
behavior so
that you can learn and grow and be a better employee. Be
brief.

“Good question. Well, I have been successful at
every job I
have had, but I have had the normal ups and downs. I’d say that I do
actively try to
monitor my work habits and the quality of my work so that I can constantly
be
improving myself. FOR EXAMPLE, I have had one or two hiccups with
customers
where their
satisfaction was not where I thought it was. I learned that I have to
really monitor
certain difficult customers closely and “take their temperature” so I can
keep their
satisfaction level as high as possible. Have you had any customers like
that
here?”

“… learn
the ‘mind-set’ of successful interviewing …”

We were able to deliver on time, and the client
was thrilled!
I was able to make sure no time was wasted on adding unnecessary features,
and since
we were working on a fixed bid price, we saved my company time
Give me an example of a problem you faced on
the job,
and tell me how you solved it.

DISCUSSION: This is a problem solving
question that
tests your critical thinking skills. This is a great question for showing
that you
are a creative and capable problem solver. The problem you select to use
as an
example should be as similar as possible to a problem that you are likely
to face at
the job you are interviewing for.


“I try to take a systematic approach to problem solving where I take
the time to gather
the relevant data, clearly define the problem or goal, then come up with
possible
solutions. I think it is important to get the information and clarify the
problem
first before you start coming up with possible solutions, or wasting other
people’s
time. FOR INSTANCE, when I was at Job “X” …
What kinds of
challenges
are you
currently facing in your department?
How tough a position does this
put
you in? What
could the ideal candidate do to help solve this problem in his or her
first three
months on the job?”

“…
will fill you with motivation and confidence …”

Describe a situation when working with a team
produced
more successful results than if you had completed the project on your
own.

DISCUSSION: This is a “behavioral
interviewing”
style of question. The Hiring Manager wants to learn more about your
thought process,
and how well you can form examples to answer this teamwork related
question. You will
want to show your ability to solicit ideas from others, listen carefully,
and
persuade people to your point of view.

“Well, I have worked both independently and as a
member of team,
throughout my career. I enjoy both, and can do both equally well. I will
have to say, though, that
working with others has often yielded great results for projects I have
worked on — specifically
when it comes to brainstorming. I try to get everyone
involved in coming up with new solutions by making time for
sessions where
“there are
no wrong ideas or answers.” The creativity of a group of people is always
going to be
greater than that of one person, and thus the results will be more
successful. I did
that a lot a Job “Y”. FOR EXAMPLE …”Use
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“Working with others allows you data-mine other people’s skills and
experiences, get
perspectives and ideas that you would not have on your own, and check the
quality of
your own work before it goes out the door. FOR EXAMPLE, at Job “X”
I
worked with many
great people. I was able to “pick their brains” — so
to
speak —
about the effectiveness of various techniques, estimates on how long it
would take to
get various things done, etc. I would not have been able to do my job as
effectively
with out them. Will there be the opportunity to work in team situations
at this job?”

“… don’t let
another day go by before you take action …”

Describe a time when you were faced with
problems or
stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you
do?

DISCUSSION: Workplace stress is an issue
for
everyone. Don’t pretend that you never get stressed out. You want to show
that you
can deal with stress and cope with difficult situations. Show that you are
calm under
pressure, and know how to avoid stress in the first place through planning
and time
management.

What is the
best
thing that
ever
happened to
you?

Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be
a complex
project.
Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare
for and
finish
the project?
Were you
“Well I think it is important to remember that
stress
effects everyone, and it is inevitable that sometimes people are going to
have bad
days. That is why I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they
seem to
have a short fuse. What I do personally is try to control my response to a
situation.
You can’t necessarily control what happens to you, but you can control
your response.
What I try to do is lengthen the time between the stressful situation and
my response — so that I can identify the cause of the stress and decide
what I
can do
about it.
FOR EXAMPLE, on several occasions I have had to deal with very
irate
customers who
actually yelled at me. What I did was stay calm and not let them get under
my skin. I
really tried to listen and decide exactly what it was that was at the root
of their
problem. Then I provided solutions that could be completed within a
specific
time-frame. I always find that it is best to face those types of
situations head-on

and be objective about them. I do my best to be professional and not get
my emotions
involved. Also, I try to avoid stress in the first place by tackling
difficult tasks
or conversations sooner rather than later. Does that make
sense?”

“… if you fail to prepare,
then you prepare to fail …”

What was your role in your department’s most
recent
success?

DISCUSSION: You’ll want to be very
specific here,
and frame your answer in terms of how you saved time and money. The Hiring
Manager is
looking for a pattern of success, and you need to describe recent
successes in
detail. Use the S.T.A.R. Statement formula for your examples. Be prepared
with at
least three examples concerning your recent successes, and make sure at
least one of
them relates to teamwork and something you accomplished as part of a
group. Make sure
you address how your work made other people FEEL, as well as the time you
saved and
the revenue or cost-savings you generated.

“I guess that would be a recent project for
client “X.” I
handled all of the communication with the client for our last project. It
was a three
month long project where my team had to build a custom package based on
the needs of
client. I was instrumental in translating the client’s business needs into
detailed
product features. I had to make sure that my team understood what the
client wanted,
and then check the quality to make sure that we were delivering a quality
product
with the features that the client was expecting. This was an ongoing
process that
required a lot of communication and teamwork with my team as well as the
client. I
think my role
really was to clarify the scope of the project, and then
“manage the
client’s expectations.” We were able to deliver on time, and the client
was thrilled!
I was able to make sure no time was wasted on adding unnecessary features,
and since
we were working on a fixed bid price, we saved my company time and money.
My manager
and everybody on my team felt great because the project went so smoothly.
Is that the
kind of experience that would help me be successful
here
?”



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