Changes between Version 7 and Version 8 of Career/101JobInterviewQuestions

Jan 31, 2017, 4:19:19 AM (4 years ago)
Vijay Varadan

Added chapter 4 notes.


  • Career/101JobInterviewQuestions

    v7 v8  
    367367=== Character Questions
     368Questions often come in the form of a moral dilemma. More often than not, your chosen course of action to resolve the dilemma is less important than  showing that you knew what you were doing and why.
     370**Tactic**: Show that you make conscious & clear decisions according to a set of values, & that you can live with the consequences.
     372==== 30. How was your journey here?
     373//Read to begin the interview? 5... 4... 3... 2...//
     375**Tactic**: A big smile and a short answer that's long on gratitude.
     377* This warm-up question is your chance to show a positive attitude.
     380==== 31. Where does your boss think you are now?
     381//How easily tempted are you to lie?//
     383**Tactic**: Simple - don't lie.
     385* Take a vacation day or interview outside office hours.
     387==== 32. What are your core values?
     388//Do your values like up with ours?//
     390**Tactic** Make sure you know the company's values as well as your own.
     392* 50% answer --> Highlight overlaps in your principles and the company's.
     393* 100% answer --> Provide anecdotal evidence to illustrate overlaps.
     395==== 33. What are you hobbies and interests?
     396//Do you pass the airport test?//
     398**Tactic**: Share a genuine passion, but don't make it sound like it's more important than your work.
     400* Only offer a subject you can converse about in some detail and with enthusiasm: your interviewer may be a fellow enthusiast and ask follow-up questions.
     401* Convey that you are a rounded, engaging person with interests outside the office; careful that it doesn't sound like they will impinge on your job commitment.
     403==== 34. Tell me about your first job.
     404//How's your work ethic?//
     406**Tactic**: Whatever you thought of your first job, not's the time to recount any positive lessons it taught you.
     408* Question is about your attitude - ensure you don't come across as a snob who avoided / refused menial work early in your career.
     409* Show you have good work ethic & an ability to multitask.
     411==== 35. Who do you admire and why?
     412//What are your fundamental values?//
     414**Tactic**: The why is more important than the who - make sure you show that you value something that the company values too.
     416* What qualities do you value in other people **and** yourself - why matters more than who.
     417* Avoid politicians - you might reveal an affiliation that the interviewer does not share.
     418* A widely admired person as an answer won't stand out, neither will someone who's obscure.
     419* Avoid close friends / family.
     421==== 36. If you could bring anyone to this company from where you currently work, who would it be?
     422//Who do you need around you in order to function well? What does this company need to function well? What are our competitors doing that maybe we aren't?//
     424**Tactic**: Choose someone who would help you do the job, not someone who would help you get through a boring day.
     426* Answer should shed light on your key motivations & expectations from people around you.
     427* Person should add to both the company & you.
     428* You may also be asked a follow up - Who wouldn't you bring?
     430==== 37. Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult person.
     431//You know that everyone's difficult sometimes, right?//
     433**Tactic**: Show that you can work with anyone, even if nobody's perfect - including you.
     435* Emphasize that some people are employed because they're good at what they do, not because they're easy-going.
     436* Prep for this question before interview, else risk talking about your nemesis - this will likely not end well.
     437* Risky to talk about colleagues or customers.
     438* Pick someone whose job it is to give you grief, e.g. someone from a rival firm, an agent for a client, a certified inspector, a journalist, a pressure group or someone from local government.
     439* Answer should cover:
     440  * Could you have changed the situation?
     441  * Did you do anything to make it worse?
     442  * Did you listen to the other person?
     443  * Could you have reasonably been expected to put up with it - if not, how did you stand your ground?
     444  * Did you keep your cool?
     445  * Do you see the world as adversarial or consensual?
     446* Good note to strike is that it takes two people to have a personality clash.
     448==== 38. When were you last angry - and why?
     449//Are you a hothead? Can you handle stress?//
     451**Tactic**: Provide an example when you constructively worked through a stressful or annoying situation.
     453* Anger is destructive, not constructive - so, don't provide an anecdote.
     454* Massage the question to replace "angry" with "stressed" or "frustrated" - choose an annoying situation where you were able to keep your cool & handle it constructively.
     455* Do **not** cite your boss as a source of stress.
     457==== 39. Tell me about something funny that has happened to you at work.
     458//Can I stand to be cooped up in the same office with you 40-odd hours a week?//
     460**Tactic**: Make a joke at your own expense.
     462* Skip barbed humor, mockery or political incorrectness.
     463* Pick an innocuous victimless story.
     465==== 40. What is it about this job that you would least look forward to?
     466//Are you going to like this job? Are you drawn to it for the right reasons? Do you have the guts for it? Is this job consistent with your career goals - if not, what's the real reason you're applying?//
     468**Tactic**: Acknowledge an unfortunate (but key) aspect of the job & say how you've dealt with it before.
     470* Show you're tougher than the rest.
     471* No dodging. Don't pick an infrequent task & hide behind the infrequency.
     472* Pick a part of the job that no one would enjoy - show how you can handle it with reference to experience.
     473* Don't pick a task you've never done before - that would be knocking it before trying it.
     475==== 41. Tell me something about yourself that isn't on your resume.
     476//Are you going to give me a mature response? Are you a well-rounded person outside of work? And oh, I'm tired - will you take over for a bit?//
     478**Tactic**: If it advances the action, say whatever you want to say. Avoid trivia & flippancy.//
     480* Pick something interesting & impressive that wasn't worth putting on your resume.
     481* Show you have outside interests that are sociable & achievement-oriented, ones that involve teamwork or personal initiative.
     482* Professional:
     483  * First job: how it set you on your current career path.
     484  * Project / professional episode that was harder than appears on your resume, but which you succeeded at.
     485* Personal:
     486  * Voluntary work.
     487  * Specific, interesting instances of your hobby.
     488  * Groups you belong to & contribute regularly to.
     490==== 42. What do you most dislike about yourself?
     491//If I rattle your cage, what will you reveal about yourself?//
     493**Tactic**: Don't mistake the interview room for your psychologist's office. Reframe and answer in a professional manner.
     495* Negative version of "What are your greatest weaknesses?" - weaknesses can be remedies, character flaws are harder to fix.
     496* Interviewer probably trying to see how you react to your feathers being ruffled.
     497* Reframe the question as one about areas in need of improvement.
     499==== 43. How would you react if i told you that you are not the strongest candidate we have interviewed so far?
     500//Show me you can fight in your corner.//
     502**Tactic**: Ask the interviewer why you might not measure up & try to reassure them about any concerns.
     504* Keep your cool, ask for more info.
     505* If they have genuine reservations, use the interviewer's answer to tailor your response & assuage their concerns.
     506* If it's a hypothetical, it means that they want see your response to direct challenges - so, show that you take a constructive approach to criticism & conflict.
     508==== 44. Is it acceptable to lie in business?
     509//What are your core values?//
     511**Tactic**: Show that you leave lying to people who are content to win that way.
     513* Play it 1000% straight, say that lying is always unacceptable for moral & practical reasons.
     514* Don't suggest a set of qualifying circumstances. Don't squirm, bargain or wheedle.
     515* Don't try to tease out any nuances - you'll regret even trying.
     517==== 45. If you could go back & change 1 thing about your career to date, what would it be?
     518//Is there something back about you that I cannot see, and if there is, can I get you to admit it? Do you carry psychological baggage that you don't need? How readily do you forgive yourself & others?//
     520**Tactic**: Give the interviewer a little bit of grit, but never use the work "regret" in your answer. Focus on something positive & say you wished you'd done more of it. Then stop talking.
     522* Mindset - people make mistakes & most of us have a few regrets.
     523* Emphasize what you're running towards, not what you're running from.
     524* Keep it honest & positive - but short.
     526==== 46. What do people assume about you that would would be wrong?
     527//How well do you know yourself?//
     529**Tactic**: Demonstrate self-awareness at the same time as you put the interviewer's fears to bed.
     531* This questions probes both your personality & emotional intelligence.
     532* Starting from a position of honesty, be strategic about your reply.
     534==== 47. Can you tell me about a time when you stood up for the right thing to do?
     535//We're not going to end up on the front page of the newspapers for an ethics scandal, are we?//
     537**Tactic**: Assure the interviewer that you're honest & trustworthy.
     539* Narrate a situation where you proved honest & trustworthy.
     540* You want to be seen as upright & dependable, but not someone who can't resolve issues within a team.
     541* Don't violate someone's confidentiality.
     543==== 48. Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
     544//Will you pretend you've never put a foot wrong, or will you do the right thing?//
     546**Tactic**: They're more worried about your integrity then their inventory.
     548* Don't get drawn into an unnecessary debate on details; kill the conversation with a realistic answer & move on.
     549* e.g. On occasion, but I typically return it when I remember. I don't have a room full of supplies from the office, if that's what you mean. :-)
     551==== 49. Did you enjoy school / college?
     552//You have too little experience in the world of work for us to learn about you, so hopefully your academic experience will give us some insight into your character.//
     554**Tactic**: Just as if they were asking about work, be honest but showcase the skills & character traits most relevant to the job.
     556* Are your personal style & skills a fit for this role?
     558==== 50. Do you know anyone at this company?
     559//What will they say about you? Will they try to set me up or give it to me straight?//
     561**Tactic**: If you have connections, be 100% honest about them - but you should also show why you deserve to be hired on merit.
     563* Come clean about whom you know, but play down their importance - it's possible that your acquaintance is not well respected in the organization.
     564* You don't want to appear to be overly coached.
     566==== 51. How do you maintain a good work / life balance?
     567//If we hire you, will you be here when we need you? Or are you rapidly going to become a stressed-out, burned-out mess?//
     569**Tactic**: They really don't care about how you keep work apart from your home life; they want to know how you keep your home life & stress away from your work.
     571* Reassure the interviewer that you have systems in place to deal with stress & scheduling conflicts, & that the pressures of home will not at all impinge on your ability to do the job.
     573==== 52. Are your grades a good indicator of success in this business?
     574//Did you make the correct academic choices? Were your results good enough & do you take responsibility for them?//
     576**Tactic**: If you don't have excellent results to brag about, explain your academic performance without blaming others or sounding defensive.
     578==== 53. Would you rather be liked or feared?
     579//What's your leadership style? Also, do you have the poise to wriggle out of a trick question?//
     581**Tactic**: Opt for the unsaid option - "respected".
     583* Acknowledge the original framing of the question, then opt for the unsaid one.
     585==== 54. What are your thoughts on the interview process so far?
     586//How are your diplomacy skills?//
     588**Tactic**: Walk the line between flattery & criticism.
     590* Question tries to figure out if you can offer constructive feedback, yet maintain pleasant relations with colleagues.
     591* Avoid pointless flattery, show respect & ensure that the interviewer continues to like you.
     593==== 55. Why should I choose you over other candidates?
     594//You probably have the skills to do this job, but what sort of person are you? What intangibles will you bring to the company?//
     596**Tactic**: Skip the competencies here & instead focus on what sets you apart as a person.
     598* Forget the comparison framing - you don't know anything about the other candidates.
     599* Expand on your finest personal characteristics.
     600* Talk about your interesting facets that aren't captured in the resume.
     601* Highlight intangibles that you haven't been able to work into the conversation till this point.
     602* Discuss any unusual skills / special abilities that other candidates won't have.
     604==== 56. Is it OK to spend time at work on non-work stuff, like Facebook or YouTube?
     605//Are you coming here to work or play?//
     607**Tactic**: Their house, their rules. If you don't like it, don't take their money.
     609* You want to be seen to accept the importance of the issue to the employer. Any time spent on non-work stuff is likely viewed as misconduct.
     610* Nothing to be gained by the perception that you consider both sides of the issue.
     612==== 57. What are 3 positive things your boss / colleagues would say about you?
     613//What's your track record, really? Are you self-aware? Are you going to sound like all the rest?//
     615**Tactic**: Show, don't tell.
     617* Important that you deliver the answer in a natural & relaxed tone. Peer feedback is how people that interview well, but can't do the job well are ferreted out - so, your tone of voice needs to back up your words.
     618* Goal is to pay yourself compliments, without sounding boastful or fake - leave out the self-criticism.
     619* Talk about what your boss / colleagues would say about what you've done, rather than who you are.
     620* Quantifiable achievement will always beat self-serving rhetoric.
     622==== 58. What has been the biggest setback in your career?
     623//Are you resilient? Are you honest?//
     625**Tactic**: Be frank about your failure, but positive about what you learned.
     627* This is a chance to demonstrate 2 extremely valuable characteristics - frankness & resilience.
     628* Present the setback as evidence of your humility & the lessons you learned which made you stronger.
     629* Show that you have the ability to persevere & to snatch something positive from a negative situation.
     631==== 59. Your boss overslept & is not late for a client meeting . He calls & asks you to tell the client that he's stuck in traffic - in other words to lie for him. What do you do?
     632//How do you make difficult decisions? Who's more important - a client or a boss? Do you value the team or the rules? What are your standards?//
     634**Tactic**: Very gently undermine the question. Say that you've presented with an impossible situation & no one should expect a perfect answer.
     636* Take the sting out of the question by highlighting its impossible nature.
     637* Suggest that your answer will inevitably be slightly unsatisfactory, & that real life usually offers more wiggle room.
     639=== Competency Questions
     640Use the STAR technique. Give context to the *S*ituation, the *T*ask, your *A*ctions and the *R*esult.
     642==== 60. What was the last big decision you had to make?