Interview questions are getting more challenging
Got an interview coming up? Getting past the first round is easy right? …Wrong! Companies are getting more and more savvy in their interview techniques and the questions are getting harder, not easier. The possibilities of questions are endless but getting the basics covered is critical to a positive interview.
We’ve complied the toughest 15 Q&A from from the book 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Vicky Oliver to help you prepare properly.
Q: What is your biggest weakness that’s really a weakness, and not a secret strength?
A: I am extremely impatient. I expect my employees to prove themselves on the very first assignment. If they fail, my tendency is to stop delegating to them and start doing everything myself. To compensate for my own weakness, however, I have started to really prep my people on exactly what will be expected of them.
Q: What if you work here for five years and don’t get promoted? Many of our employees don’t. Won’t you find it frustrating?
A: I consider myself ambitious, but I’m also practical. As long as I am continuing to learn and grow within my position, I’ll be a happy camper. Different companies promote people at different rates, and I’m pretty confident that working for you will keep my motivated and mentally stimulated for several years to come.
Q: Will you be out to take my job?
A: Maybe in about twenty years, but by then, I suspect you’ll be running the entire company and will need a good, loyal lieutenant to help you manage this department!
Q: If you knew that things at your company were rocky, why didn’t you get out of the company sooner?
A: I was working so hard to keep my job while everyone around me was being cut that I didn’t have any time left over to look for another job. With all of the mergers that have been happening in our field, layoffs are a way of life. At least I gave it my best shot!
Q: I see from your resume that you worked at (Insert Company) for four years, and that’s terrific. But I also noticed that you weren’t promoted during that time. Why not?
A: (Insert Company) is a great company, and thanks in part to my team’s contributions, they are doing very well these days. But that wasn’t always the case. During the first two years that I worked there, people were being fired left and right, and just hanging onto my job was a feat. Once the company began to turn around, [my boss] was offered a terrific job at a rival organization and it took CC&L six months to replace him and when they did, the new boss was eager to bring in his own people. Once again, I tenaciously hung on to my job, and, even though I was long overdue for a promotion, I really didn’t think that the timing was right for me to broach it. No one from the old staff was there to even vouch for my performance!
Q: What do you view as your risks and disadvantages with the position we are interviewing you for?
A: I think that the home office located halfway across the globe, there is a very small risk that one might not have the chance to interact with the key decision makers as often as might be ideal. On the other hand, teleconferencing, email, faxing, and having a 24/7 work ethic will go a long way towards bridging the gap.
Q: Are you telling me that, now that you’re forty-something, you would be willing to start at an entry-level position just to get your foot in the door here?
A: Sometimes you need to take a step backward to move your career forward. Starting in an entry-level role would allow me to learn your business from the ground up. The career that I’ve been in is so different than yours that I would love the opportunity to start over again in your field. The salary cut will be well worth it.
Q: Can you describe your dream job?
A. This is my dream job and that’s why I approached you about it in the first place. I am excited about the prospect of helping your promotion agency upgrade and fine tune your loyalty programs.
A: When I first had the twins, my husband was working 24/7, and I really needed to be there to raise the kids. But during that time, I really missed working. Fortunately, I kept my hand in the business during those years by consulting for several of my ex-clients.
Q: How many skis are rented each year in the USA?
A: There are 250 million people in the U.S. Let’s suppose that the number of skiers is 15 percent of that, or 37,500,000. Of those, let’s figure that 21,175,000 of them own skis, leaving the number who rent at 9,325,000. Then let’s add the number of tourists who ski, say, one million. So the grand total of renters would be 10,325,000. Now let’s assume that the renters who live in the US take three trips a year, so three times 9,325,000 is 27,975,000 and add that with 1,000,000 is 28,975,000.
Q: What if you worked with someone who managed to ‘take credit’ for all your great ideas. How would you handle it?
A: First, I would try to credit her publicly with the ideas that were hers. Sometimes, by being generous with credit, it spurs the other person to “return the favour.” If that doesn’t solve it, I’d try to work out an arrangement where we each agreed to present the ideas that were our own to our bosses. If that doesn’t work, I would openly discuss the situation with her. However, if the person taking credit for my ideas was my boss, I would tread cautiously. To some extent, I believe that my job is to make my superiors shine. If I were being rewarded for my ideas with raises and promotions, I would be happy.
Q: How many hours a week do you usually work, and why?
A: I work pretty long hours most of the time. With the extra time, I try to find ways to “add value” to each assignment, both my own and the firm’s. When our clients read our reports, I want them to think that no one else could have possibly written them, except for our company.
Q: Are you better at ‘managing up’ or ‘managing down’?
A: If you aren’t good at “managing up,” you rarely get the opportunity to “manage down.” Fortunately, I’ve always been quite good at self-management. I’ve never had a deadline that I didn’t meet.
Q: Would you rather get permission from your boss before undertaking a brand-new project, or be given enough rope to “hang yourself”?
A: During my first week on the job, I would ask my boss how she would prefer me to handle projects. If she indicated that she wanted a take-charge person under her, I would take the ropes. If she told me she wanted me to run ideas by her first, I would comply. I think the real challenge is being able to adapt to your work environment, and I’m flexible.
Q: When do you think you’ll peak in your career?
A: I come from a long line of healthy, hardy, mentally active types, and so I confess that I never even think about “peaking” in my career. That having been said, I do think it’s important to have some self-knowledge, and to recognize when one is past one’s prime.
Know someone with an interview coming up? Please forward this link or share on social media. They’ll thank you for it when they get the job. Disagree with any of these answers? Please comment in the box below.
Source: 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Vicky Oliver.