Version 5 (modified by Vijay Varadan, 4 years ago) (diff)


101 Job Interview Questions You'll Never Fear Again

Author: James Reed



Coming Feb 1st week.


3G Mindset


(vantage point)




(fuel cell)

  • adaptability
  • flexibility
  • relationship building
  • collaborative focus
  • openness
  • innovativeness
  • honesty
  • trustworthiness
  • loyalty
  • sincerity
  • fairness
  • kindness
  • commitment
  • accountability
  • determination
  • drive
  • energy

Types of Interviewers

  1. Unicorn Hunter: "The perfect candidate does not exist."
    Tactic - Get them to specify competencies required and show how you meet them
  2. Late-running Runaway Train: Disorganized, nervous, ill-prepared.
    Tactic - Be effusive & expansive. Talk lots.
  3. Method Man / Woman: Asks all candidates same questions (competency).
    Tactics - Point our your relevant ones - twice.
  4. Napolean: Show-off, talks, asks few questions.
    Tactic - Offer praise where possible, else silence.
  5. Suitor: Hires attractive people.
    Tactic - Move on.
  6. B Player: Likes to hire C players.
    Tactic - Highlight your strengths & achievements. You probably won't get hired.
  7. Dues-payer: Defines success in terms of their career path; their path only. Doesn't like career-switchers.
    Tactic - Show how your skills are another manifestation of theirs.
  8. RHINO (Really Here in Name Only): Not engaged during interview.
    Tactic - Be gracious, put on the best show you can.
  9. Entrepreneur: Founder & sole owner of the company.
    Tactic - Play up work ethic, loyalty & flexibility.
  10. Poker Player: A warm & genuine exterior conceals steely interior.
    Tactic - Focus on showing what you can do for them.
  11. Goldilocks (Note: I didn't understand this one.): Neither too cold, nor too hot.
    Tactic - Pat yourself on the back for bringing out the best in people.

Classic Interview Questions

1. Tell Me About Yourself

Who do you think you are? And will you know what to leave in & what to leave out?

Tactic: Break it down, rehearse, breeze it.

  • Show a logical progression or underlying theme.
  • Indicate that you know exactly what you're going to say & it won't take long.
  • No more than 10% personal stuff.
  • What you've been up to lately, how that feeds into your skills & experience, and in turn, how skills & experience feed into this position.
  • Close clearly - indicate that you're done. Don't leave it hanging.
  • Can bounce around chronologically, but show logical progression.
  • Can use current job title to start off with the answer.
  • Avoid talking explicitly about strengths & weaknesses - this should flow from results you've achieved. Stick to achievements & passions (I'm not so sure about the passions bit).

2. Why are You Applying?

What can you do that we need you to do? Do you even know what we need you to do?

Tactic: Reflect the job spec in every line of your answer. Talk about their needs before you mention your own.

  • I'm applying because my skills, experience and motivation are the best fit for the job.
  • Imply long term satisfaction.
  • A person's values tend to be stable & enduring - so, point out that your personal values align with the firm's values.

3. What are Your Greatest Strengths?

Do you really know yourself? Do you know what our problem is here?

Tactic: Answer with the job description uppermost in mind. Go easy on the adjectives & heavy on the hard data.

  • Map the key requirements of the job against your best achievements to date.
  • Mandatory: solve the employer's problems.
    Necessary but insufficient: be perceived as smart & professional.
  • Showcase aspects that show progression & development over time.
  • What was the impact of your strength in context? Who acknowledged it and how?

4. What are Your Greatest Weaknesses?

Am I right in thinking X about you? Are you going to give me the same old evasive & lame answers that everybody else did, or are you going to level with me?

Tactic: Interviewer is probably seeking affirmation of predicted weaknesses, not info about new ones.

  • Don't give cliched answers; don't trivialize your weaknesses.
  • Stick to weaknesses that are apparent, don't introduce a new monster-under-the-bed that the interviewer hasn't spotted.
  • Be clear that you know your weaknesses & that they don't perturb you.
  • Show evidence that you're working on your weaknesses.
  • If possible, directly reference your key performance indicators (KPIs) - make it a less important KPI.

5. What will Your Skills & Ideas Bring to this Company?

What will be buying from you?

Tactic: Appear generous, no one wants a miser.

  • Be open & enthusiastic about your ideas, even if they're not a perfect match - your errors will be attributed to your outsider status, insufficient info / context.
  • Present ideas in terms of work executed personally.

6. What's Your Preferred Management Style?

Are you and I going to get along?

Tactic: Aim to be the boss & subordinate you always wanted for yourself.

  • Show that you can work under your own steam, but also that you know there's a hierarchy.
  • Bosses want to provide course correction, not spell out details.
  • Show you can take both good & bad news gracefully.
  • Show that you can give out bad news with respect & humility.
  • Show you can give off good energy to enthuse troops.
  • May help to talk about key experiences as a subordinate or manager w.r.t. conflicts, success, goal setting & staff performance.

7. Where do You See Yourself in Five Years' Time?

Are you after this job or just any job? How soon will you need a new challenge? Do you have a realistic sense of what we can offer you?

Tactic: If you don't know, calmly say so, as if now knowing were the most natural thing in the world - because it is.