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Their Questions & Your Answers

Time to fight back and get that job right..!

Introduction

Find on this section a selection of all the most commonly used questions you will be probably facing on a Job Interview.

Most of the questions included are of general, behavioural, personal and professional matters and are used for interviews of any kind.

NOTE: Click on the questions below to have the answer revealed, click again to hide it and save you from scrolling.

1 - Are You a Self Motivator?

  • Review below sample answers to the interview question "Are you a self motivator?" When you respond, keep in mind that companies are seeking motivated and enthusiastic employees.

      Absolutely. I am a very active person, and I enjoy my work.

      I'm always looking for new and innovative ideas to bring to a project.

      I believe I am a self motivator. I give my all to a project, and am always looking ahead to the next one at hand. Successfully completing one and moving on to the next is very exciting for me. I am passionate about my work, and truly enjoy working toward the next big goal.

      I have always been self motivated. Coming from my background, not very much was expected of me after I finished High School. I always wanted more, and put myself through College and Grad School with very little support from my family. In the workplace, I bring that same drive to managing projects and deadlines.

2 - Are you overqualified for this job?

  • Keep in mind that you can customize these answers to fit your particular circumstances and the job you are applying for.

      Overqualified? Some would say that I'm not overqualified but fully qualified. With due respect, could you explain the problem with someone doing the job better than expected?

      Fortunately, I've lived enough years to have developed the judgment that allows me to focus on the future. Before we speak of past years, past titles and past salaries, can we look at my strengths and abilities and how I've stayed on the cutting edge of my career field, including its technology?

      I hope you're not concerned that hiring someone with my solid experience and competencies would look like age bias if once on the job you decided you'd made a mistake and I had to go. Can I present a creative idea? Why don't I work on a trial basis for a month -- no strings -- which would give you a chance to view me up close? This immediately solves your staffing problem at no risk to you. I can hit the floor running and require less supervision than a less experienced worker. When can I start?

      I was proud to be a charge nurse but I really like getting back to working with patients.

      I'm flattered that you think I'm headhunter bait and will leap to another job when an offer appears. Not really. This job is so attractive to me that I'm willing to sign a contract committing to stay for a minimum of 12 months. There's no obligation on your part. How else can I convince you that I'm the best person for this position?

      I'm here because this is a company on the move and I want to move up with you. With more than the minimal experience to just skim by, I offer immediate returns on your investment. Don't you want a winner with the skill sets and attitudes to do just that?

      My family's grown. And I am no longer concerned with title and salary -- I like to keep busy. A reference check will show I do my work on time, and do it well as a team member. I'm sure we can agree on a salary that fits your budget. When can we make my time your time?

      Downsizings have left generational memory gaps in the workforce and knowledge doesn't always get passed on to the people coming up. I could be an anchor or mentor -- calm, stable, reliable and providing day-to-day continuity to the younger team. For my last employer, I provided the history of a failed product launch to a new marketing manager, who then avoided making the same mistakes.

      As you note, I've worked at a higher level but this position is exactly what I'm looking for. You offer opportunity to achieve the magic word: balance. I'm scouting for something challenging but a little less intense so I can spend more time with my family.

      Salary is not my top priority. Not that I have a trust fund but I will work for less money, will take direction from managers of any age, will continue to stay current on technology and will not leave you in the lurch if Hollywood calls to make me a star. And I don't insist that it's my way or the highway.

3 - Are you willing to travel?



  • When you are asked about your willingness to travel during an interview, be honest. There's no point in saying "yes" if you would prefer to be home five nights a week.

    It is perfectly acceptable to ask how much travel is involved. That way, you can weigh how much you would need to be on the road and make an educated decision as to whether the amount of travel required fits in with your lifestyle.

    What's most important is to get a good understanding of what's involved before you are offered the job, rather than being (unpleasantly) surprised after you have already been hired.

4 - Describe a Time When Your Workload was Heavy

  • A typical interview question to discover how you manage your work is "Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it.".

      While at the HKL plant, we were faced with a sudden order increase for the j-ball bearing. It was for a new customer. I immediately sat down with the production supervisor, our materials/supply manager, and the union steward. We were able to lay out a workable plan that maximized hourly costs, guaranteed materials were available and, with only a slight adjustment, meet the production deadline. While it was challenging and involved long hours, the pay-off was a signed contract with a new customer.

      When I was working on a software implementation team at ABC Company, we took over another company and had to transition many clients to a new product in a short amount of time. It took a lot of planning, time, hard work, and effort, but we were able to complete the project in a timely manner.

5 - How would you describe yourself?

  • Review sample answers to the interview question "How would you describe yourself?" When you respond, keep in mind the type of position you are interviewing for, the company culture, and the work environment. Your answer should help show the interviewer why you're a match for the job and for the company.

      I'm a people person. I really enjoy meeting and working with a lot of different people.

      I'm a perfectionist. I pay attention to all the details, and like to be sure that everything is just right.

      I'm a creative thinker. I like to explore alternative solutions to problems and have an open mind about what will work best.

      I'm efficient and highly organized. This enables me to be as productive as possible on the job.

      I enjoy solving problems, troubleshooting issues, and coming up with solutions in a timely manner.

6 - Describe the Pace at Which You Work



  • When you're asked to describe the pace at which you work, be careful how you respond.

    This is another question where faster isn't necessarily better. Most employers would rather hire employees who work at a steady pace. Someone who is too slow to get the job done in a reasonable time frame isn't going to be a good hire. Neither is a candidate who works frenetically all day.

    Options for answering this question include saying that you work at a steady pace, but usually complete work in advance of the deadline. Discuss your ability to manage projects and get them done on, or ahead, of schedule. If you work at a job where you have set criteria (i.e. number of calls made or responsed to) that measures accomplishments, discuss how you have achieved or exceeded those goals.

7 - Do You Prefer to Work Independently or On a Team

  • When the interviewer asks "Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?" he or she wants to know if you're a team player or would rather work on your own.

      I am equally comfortable working as a member of a team and independently. In researching the LMN company, your mission statement and the job description, I could see similarities to my previous position where there were some assignments that required a great deal of independent work and research and others where the team effort was most effective. As I said, I'm comfortable with both.

      In high school, I enjoyed playing soccer and performing with the marching band. Each required a different kind of team play, but the overall goal of learning to be a member of a group was invaluable. I continued to grow as team member while on my sorority's debate team and through my advanced marketing class where we had numerous team assignments. I'm very comfortably working on a team, but I can also work independently, as well.

8 - Do You Take Work Home With You

  • When you're asked if you take work home with you, be careful how you respond as being work alchoolic sometimes is seen as leading to stress, hence a negative attitude.

      When I need to, no problem. I realize the importance of meeting deadlines and getting work done on time.

9 - Give some examples of teamwork

  • A typical interview question to discover how well you would work with other people is "Give some examples of teamwork."

      In my last postion, I was part of a software implementation team. We all worked together to plan and manage the implementation schedule, to provide customer training, and ensure a smooth transition for our customers. Our team always completed our projects ahead of schedule with very positive reviews from our clients.

      I was part of team responsible for evaluating and selecting a new vendor for our office equipment and supplies. The inter-departmental team reviewed options, compared pricing and service, chose a vendor, and implemented the transition to the new vendor.

      In high school, I enjoyed playing soccer and performing with the marching band. Each required a different kind of team play, but the overall goal of learning to be a member of a group was invaluable. I continued to grow as team member while on my sorority's debate team and through my advanced marketing class where we had numerous team assignments.

10 - Greatest weakness

  • When you're asked what your greatest weakness is, try to turn a negative into a positive. For example, a sense of urgency to get projects completed or wanting to triple-check every item in a spreadsheet can be turned into a strength i.e. you are a candidate who will make sure that the project is done on time and your work will be close to perfect.

    Note
    The term "weakness" isn't used in the sample answers - you always want to focus on the positive when interviewing.

      When I'm working on a project, I don't want just to meet deadlines. Rather, I prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule.

      Being organized wasn't my strongest point, but I implemented a time management system that really helped my organization skills.

      I like to make sure that my work is perfect, so I tend to perhaps spend a little too much time checking it. However, I've come to a good balance by setting up a system to ensure everything is done correctly the first time.

      I used to wait until the last minute to set appointments for the coming week, but I realized that scheduling in advance makes much more sense.

      I would say that I can be too much of a perfectionist in my work. Sometimes, I spend more time than necessary on a task, or take on tasks personally that could easily be delegated to someone else. Although I've never missed a deadline, it is still an effort for me to know when to move on to the next task, and to be confident when assigning others work.

      I've learned to make my perfectionism work to my advantage at work. I am excellent at meeting deadlines, and with my attention to detail, I know my work is correct.

      I used to like to work on one project to it completion before starting on another, but I've learned to work on many projects at the same time, and I think it allows me to be more creative and effective in each one.

11 - How did You Handle Challanges

  • When asked the job interview question "How did you handle a challenge?" be sure to include specific examples of how you handled a particular difficult situation. Discuss how you researched the issue and contributed to finding a solution. Examples of good responses include:

      During a difficult financial period, I was able to satisfactorily negotiate repayment schedules with multiple vendors.

      When the software development of our new product stalled, I coordinated the team which managed to get the schedule back on track. We were able to successfully troubleshoot the issues and solve the problems, within a very short period of time.

      A long-term client was about to take their business to a competitor. I met with the customer and was able to change how we handled the account on a day-to-day basis, in order to keep the business.

12 - How do you evaluate success?

  • Here is an example of "positive" answer

      I evaluate success in different ways. At work, it is meeting the goals set by my supervisors and my fellow workers. It is my understanding, from talking to other employees, that the GGR company is recognized for not only rewarding success, but giving employees opportunity to grow as well. After work, I enjoy playing softball, so success on the field is catching the winning pop-up.

13 - How do you Handle if the Boss is Wrong

  • The question "If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something, how would you handle this?" is asked to find out how you deal with a difficult situation. An answer that works well is: "It depends on the situation and the personality of the supervisor." To elaborate, give examples:>

      My present supervisor does not like to have his authority questioned. He's fairly new on the job and almost all of the people he supervises have been on the job longer than he has. He's never bothered to learn the procedures, how things are done or how the computer system works. But if any of us tell him that how he wants something done won't work, he gets extremely angry. So, I never tell him he's wrong. Never. Whatever he tells me to do, I smile and say "okay." Then if I know a way to get it done that will work, I do it that way, give him the results he wants and never tell him I didn't do it the way he told me to. He got the results and is happy. I saved myself the stress of being yelled at and gave him what he wanted, so I'm happy.

      My prior superviser was more easy-going and if I told her "you know, I think it might work better if I do what you asked in such and such a way," she say "okay, try it."

      If I were a new hire on a job, I would probably not question a supervisor because I might think I didn't know enough. Except on the new job I'm going to. The director has admitted that she's new on the job and there are alot of things that a secretary does that she doesn't know how to do, so she will be depending on me to know how to keep the office running.

14 - How do you Handle Stress

  • It's a good idea to give examples of how you have handled stress to your interviewer. That way, they get a clear picture how well you can work in stressful situations.

      Stress is very important to me. With stress, I do the best possible job. The appropriate way to deal with stress is to make sure I have the correct balance between good stress and bad stress. I need good stress to stay motivated and productive.

      I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and doesn't become stressful.

      I actually work better under pressure and I've found that I enjoy working in a challenging environment.

      From a personal perspective, I manage stress by visiting the gym every evening. It's a great stress reducer. Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job.

      If the people I am managing are contributing to my stress level, I discuss options for better handling difficult situations with them.

      I find that when I'm under the pressure of a deadline, I can do some of my most creative work

      I'm not a person who has a difficult time with stress. When I'm under pressure, I focus, and get the job done.

      I find it exhilarating to be in a dynamic environment where the pressure is on. stress. When I'm under pressure, I focus, and get the job done.

      I find a past pace to be invigorating, and thrive when the pressure is on.

      I've done some of my best work under tight deadlines, where the atmosphere was very stressful.

      I'm the kind of person who stays calm under pressure, and handles stress fairly easily.

15 - How Many Hours do you Work?



  • Be careful before you answer questions about how many hours a week you work. You don't want to be construed as a slacker or as someone who works too many hours. At some companies, the norm is a 40 hour week and everyone goes home on time. At others, everyone might work 50 or 60 hours a week.

    However, working a lot of hours isn't necessarily a good thing - it could mean you're not productive enough to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.

    So, unless you're sure about the company culture and expectations, the safest answer is not to mention a certain number of hours. Rather, mention that you work as much as necessary to get the job done.

16 - Do you check voicemail and email when on vacation?

  • The interviewer is wondering whether they will always be able to find you. The second answer can be used together with the first.

      While on vacation, I can be reached for emergencies; however, I also know the people with whom I work are very capable of making good decisions while I'm away.

      I understand the importance of recharging my battery.

17 - What led you to this point in your life?

  • The interviewer wants to know if you are unhappy, frustrated, or lost?

      My "road of life" has been interesting, sometimes challenging and always rewarding. I don't regrett being who I am today, I would do what I did If a chance was given to rewrite my past.

      The steps along the way that have led to this point in my life are, in some ways, very different than I had imagined; however, I like who I am today in part because of my past. An example is when the second company on my resume suddenly closed their doors during a down-turn in the economy. For a very brief time, the road ahead was unknown; however, I discovered I had previously untapped strengths such as perseverance.

18 - What is your preferred way to communicate?

  • This is a good opportunity to show you understand the importance of adjusting your preferences when necessary.

      At home, I enjoy talking on the phone and emails. At work, I follow the established pattern. Each of my bosses, in the past, has had a preferred method I've followed their lead.

19 - What would you do differently if you could start your working life over?

  • The interviewer is looking for a detour that continues to be a professional block in your career.

      Looking back over my career, I would have returned to school much earlier to complete my Masters degree. Even though I got my degree later than I had originally anticipated, I never lost sight of the goal.

20 - Tell me about a time that you worked with data, interpreting data, and presenting data.

  • If you are in a non-technical profession, this question is designed to see if you are comfortable with information not directly related to your position.

      While at the GHI corporation, one of my job assignments was to work with the IT department to prepare the annual meeting brochure complete with financial data, graphs and related SEC requirements. I became proficient at designing graphs that gave an accurate picture of the financial data, as well as editing the legal information into a more readable format.

21 - Why do you think you will be successful at this job?

  • The interviewer is concerned as to whether you see this as a career move, or stop-gap employment.

      As my resume reflects, I have been successful at each of my previous places of employment. My research of your company, the job description outlined, and the information we've exchanged today, lead me to believe I have the skills and experience for which you are looking; and I'm eager to be a contributing employee.

22 - Tell me about a time that you participated in a team, what was your role?

  • Companies, for the most part, do not want "Lone-Rangers" - - they are looking for employees who will adapt to the company culture and get along with others.

      In high school, I enjoyed playing soccer and performing with the marching band. Each required a different kind of team play, but the overall goal of learning to be a member of a group was invaluable. I continued to grow as team member while on my sorority's debate team and through my advanced marketing class where we had numerous team assignments.

23 - Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a co-worker who....wh

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a co-worker who wasn't doing his/her fair share of the work. What did you do and what was the outcome?

      I worked closely with Ann who, for the most part, always carried her fair share of the work load. During a stressful time, working on a project with a deadline, I realized Ann's contributions to the project were almost minimal. I made the decision to wait until after the project to speak with her. I'm glad I did, because I learned she'd been going through a very tough time in her personal life and she appreciated my willingness to go the extra mile so the project was completed on time. As a result, our ability to work well together significantly increased.

24 - Have you worked with someone you didn't like? If so, how did you handle it?

  • For the most part, this sort of questions may be asked to determine if you are a team player. Take a few seconds, when asked a difficult question, before you answer. An interviewer is not expecting you to have a ready answer. However, the Boy Scout Motto - Be Prepared - - certainly applies here as well.

      Yes, I've worked with someone whom I found difficult to like as a person. However, when I focused on the skills they brought to the job, their ability to solve problems and the two things I did appreciate, slowly my attitude towards them changed. We were never friends, but we did work well together.

25 - Give an example of where you had to use your computing skills effectively.

  • USING COMPUTERS/IT SKILLS. You have to prove you will be able to use computers skills as a regular part of the job

    EVIDENCE FOR COMPUTING SKILLS

    • Using a spreadsheet to analyse data for a course project
    • Using desktop publishing software to produce a school or student magazine
    • Using a wordprocessing to type business letters in a summer vacation job.


      • Give an example of where you had to use your COMPUTING skills effectively.

          CONTEXT A company I recently worked for have decided to take over the handling of their advertising from an outside company in the future. To do this they need to analyse the response they receive from adverts placed for them currently.

          ACTION I assisted in preparing a spreadsheet containing the data to be examined and showed them how to produce graphs from this. However this seemed rather time consuming since it would have to be repeated weekly. I was looking for an idea for my final year computing project and decided that this would form a good basis for it.

          RESULT I am now developing my analytical skills and using programmes such as MS Access to set up a system which will automatically produce a report containing accurate and relevant information for them are on a weekly basis.