1. Simulation/Key Point
Prior to the beginning the interview process you spend an entire day listing all of your past jobs, both part time and full time. Reflecting back you realize you've worked in a variety of situations. Why is it important to compose an accounting of all your previous employment?
Prior to an interview you should know as much about yourself as possible.
Yes. By composing a work history in advance you will learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses. This may help you to realize areas of interest or to rule out others. All jobs are important because you may realize during an interview that you can relate a past experience to show your strength or understanding on a particular point. You will be better prepared to discuss in confidence your capabilities and what you have to offer a prospective employer.
2. Simulation/Key Point
You have been interviewing with the head of personnel and indicate that you are concerned the job will not pay very much. You let him know how much you are currently making and ask
if the pay scale for the position available is comparable. Is this line of questioning appropriate?
No, it is not wise to bring up a concern about money or salary early in the interview.
Yes. Never be the first to discuss money or concern about salary issues. If you have done your homework ahead of time you should have a general idea of what the position pays. If the salary for the position is less than what you expect, your qualifications might entice them to make a higher offer.
3. Simulation/Key Point
You volunteer to lead a team from your community to build houses for the poor. However, you have no experience in construction. You select members of your team that have experience in this area to lay out the plans. How is this experience relevant to a potential employer?
By listing ahead of time, past involvement in volunteer positions, you are able to relate to a potential employer, your skill to admit a weakness and to delegate to someone who is strong.
Yes. This exhibits a strong leadership quality and the ability to join the right people to a task.
4. Simulation/Key Point
You have served in the military and have been out of the work force for the past three years and while in the military you had very specific training in a different field other than the job you are currently applying for. Should you go into much detail about this experience?
The skill you learned is a testimony that you are capable of learning new tasks. You should make them aware of special accomplishments, rank and duties performed during your service.
Yes. Many companies understand the training that the military puts people through. This discipline might very well serve the company's management needs.
5. Simulation/Key Point
After college your friends are getting jobs in their perspective fields. Having majored in Spanish you decide to move to South America for two years. During this time you held various jobs, but nothing to speak of. However, you learned how to speak in the native tongue and came to understand their culture firsthand. Something you could never have learned in school. How is this relevant to a potential employer?
It would be a tremendous asset to the company that I speak in the native tongue and understand the culture.
Yes. The fact that you can not only speak Spanish, but can speak it in the native tongue, means you would be able to better communicate with clients from Spanish speaking countries; thus making them feel more at ease. With knowledge of their specific culture you could represent that the company truly cares and respects their client.
6. Simulation/Key Point
In your last position you were fired. Your previous boss was over bearing and merciless, expecting you to constantly work nights and weekends away from your family. It wasn't because you couldn't get your work done in the proper amount of time, but that he lacked trust in his people to complete their tasks. You blew up one day and let him have it. How would you want to relate this story to a prospective employer when asked why you were let go at your previous position?
I understand the importance of completing a task on time, I just perceived this a selfish style and a lack of trust in my abilities, I should have known better. I learned a valuable lesson.
Yes. Although it is a negative situation, you have presented it in a positive light. More than likely the interviewer would agree you are better off not working for that kind of boss.
7. Simulation/Key Point
You are invited to dinner at the home of the Executive Vice President of the company you are pursuing. You feel on this night an offer will be extended. You're thinking they probably just want to see how you handle yourself in this setting. In the study, before dinner is served, she casually asks you what games and sports you enjoy. She then asks you to describe some of your friends. You are a little surprised at how the conversation has turned. What should your response be and how should you perceive this?
I would look at is as a continuation of the interview process. By learning games and sports that I am interest in and the friends I keep the Company will have a better picture of who I am and how
well I will fit into the organization.
Yes. This is a screening process and if the job available calls for a certain physical or social skill she will have a better idea what position you would be best suited for. They also want to see if you have things in common with others in the company. Your description of these items is very important in molding their impression of you.
8. Simulation/Key Point
You are sitting in the conference room on the 20th floor overlooking the skyline of the city. The room itself is intimidating not to mention the fact that you are meeting with six of the top people in the company. The first question they ask is, "tell us about some of your past failures." Obviously caught off guard, what do you do?
I would relate a past experience, which could be perceived as a good learning experience and be sure to make the point that I learned from it and would not make the same mistake again.
Yes. No one is perfect; we have all made mistakes. Capitalize on this as an opportunity to show how you learn from past experiences. Always express a weakness/experience in such a way that it
will be perceived positively by showing that you turned that weakness into a strength.
9. Simulation/Key Point
The interview has drawn on for about 30 minutes and at this point you just want it to end. It appears that the person conducting the interview has no intention of hiring you; after all, he is cold and does not seem remotely interested in your responses. How should you look at this situation?
More than likely the interviewer wants to see how I will respond in what appears to be a negative situation.
Yes. Regardless of your perception of the person always watch your tone and mannerism. The interviewer might want to know how you would react in this situation for a variety of reasons. He has a short time to get to know you, and how you will respond given certain criteria. If they are being aloof, try to avoid a conflict that could disqualify you for a second interview. This might give you some in sight of how the people in this company conduct their affairs and whether you want to join their team.
10. Simulation/Key Point
You are at home one afternoon writing follow-up letters to companies you have interviewed with so far. The kids are playing in the background and your wife is desperately trying to keep them out of the room. A prospective employer calls and wants to discuss your resume. How should you handle this situation?
I ask if I can call him back at a later time. This way I will be prepared for the interview and would have less chance of being caught off guard.
Yes. Everyone has an opportunity to be prepared for an interview. This way you can establish a better surrounding in which to conduct the phone interview and make sure you are prepared ahead of time. Always smile when talking over the phone in order to project a positive image.
11. Simulation/Key Point
From the moment you walk into the person's office he starts throwing questions at you like a baseball, hardly giving you time to respond. You do not know if he is in hurry or possibly testing you. You are continually caught off guard. It is becoming increasingly difficult not to get riled or show your irritation. What should you do?
Relax and take a deep breath. Pause between your responses and keep your composure.
Yes. This is a sign of strength. Even when you are caught off guard you know how to handle yourself and are not intimidated. Never let them see you sweat.
12. Simulation/Key Point
The person conducting the interview asks, "Suppose you are working for a large company and a customer calls and blames you personally for the company's failure to deliver his product by a specified date. If you do not conform he is going directly to the president of the company. What do you do?"
I would listen carefully to the customer and assure him that mistakes are unacceptable, that I will find out why he has not received the product and will follow up with him before the end of
the business day.
Yes. This demonstrates to a prospective employer, you are interested in the customer and you know what is best for the company. You showed that you are calm when approached by an
angry customer. By not offering an excuse you have temporarily diffused the situation and did not fuel his anger. This response gives you the time to investigate the true nature of the
situation and time to get back with him.
13. Simulation/Key Point
You are sitting in front of the Human Resource person of the company you hope to work for. It is evident by her questions that she has not read your resume. How do you perceive this?
I would not judge their intentions, but treat the situation as any other interview.
Yes. Take each speaking opportunity to highlight your strong points and accomplishments. Lead the interview in the direction that you want it to go; ultimately a second interview or job offer. This could very well be a type of screening process and unless you make your strengths and accomplishments known you may get passed over.
14. Simulation/Key Point
After you arrive for your interview the receptionist ushers you into a large conference room. A moment later several people join you at the table. What originally was presented as an interview with the head of personnel has now turned into a group interview. You are nervous as they start firing questions at you. How do you handle the interview?
I would remain calm, listen intently to each question, pause to gather my thoughts and then provide the answer.
Yes. When speaking with each individual treat them with the respect you would the head of the company. By taking your time to answer questions they will get a feel at how you respond under pressure. It is extremely important to make eye contact with each person asking the question and as you scan the room while responding.
15. Simulation/Key Point
During an interview the prospective employee slumps down in the chair, his tie is a little off center, eye contact is difficult and he lacks enthusiasm. What perception is given to the person conducting the interview?
The interviewer will make a note of his physical appearance and mannerisms and probably disqualify him.
Yes. One must always dress in the proper attire for an interview and look as fresh as possible. Not making eye contact and lacking enthusiasm will kill his chances for a second interview. Your first impression is the most important part of any interview.
16. Simulation/Key Point
After going through a basic review of your resume the person conducting the interview asks, "Tell me a little about yourself". What information would be appropriate to relate at this time?
I would state my skills, areas of knowledge, personality strengths, things I do best and key accomplishments.
Yes. You should always prepare a detailed personal inventory prior to beginning the interview process; list all previous jobs, volunteer work, skills, accomplishments and awards. You should also write a 2-minute opening statement covering strengths, skills and accomplishments. The more you search your past the more you will know about yourself and when this question comes up you will know how to respond in advance.
17. Simulation/Key Point
You are ushered into the office of the Vice President of Personnel; her assistant politely asks if you would like a cup of coffee before you begin. You accept and her assistant departs the room. She says that she needs to finish a memo and if you would mind waiting until the assistant returns, to begin. The whole time the room is silent. The silence is a little deafening. As soon as the assistant delivers the coffee and departs, she shuffles some paper and asks, "I would like you to give me an overview of yourself." Your response would be?
I would honor her request and utilize that time to look around her office to get a perspective of her interests, which might help, in the interview. In response to her question I would outline in one to two minutes my key accomplishments and strengths and their importance to the perspective employer.
Yes. Utilize the time to gain a better understanding of the person you are interviewing. This might help you to pattern your responses and/or questions more appropriately. By previously preparing a personal inventory and opening statement you will be prepared. Do not memorize your opening statement, but practice using roll play so it does not appear canned.
18. Simulation/Key Point
The interviewer keeps drifting off on tangents and it seems that you will not be able to adequately express your strengths and accomplishments. What can you do to keep the interview on track?
I would assume control so the interviewer is not leading the conversation.
Yes. Lead point by point to the conclusion you would like to arrive at; an offer or second interview. By developing an interview strategy in advance for different situations you will
advance what questions to ask and the responses you would like to give.
19. Simulation/Key Point
The person conducting the interview asks the question, "Why are you thinking about leaving your current job? Your response is critical, because you know your current employer is well respected in the industry. How do you respond?
Instead of talking about my current situation I would speak positively about his company. stating that the opportunity is exciting because it allows for greater personal growth, and more of a
Yes. The response should be positive with no condescending remarks. You want to put
distance between you and your current job situation. By turning the question around you are
talking up his company to the point where you might ask, "who wouldn't want to work for your
20. Simulation/Key Point
Assume that you were fired from your last job and the person conducting the interview asks if you are still employed at the last firm listed on your resume. What would be your response?
I would be honest and turn it into a positive making.
Yes. Talk about what you learned from the experience and stay away from why it happened. You want to portray that you are confident in your abilities. It is better to seek a job when employed, but there is no reason to be ashamed if you have been fired.
21. Simulation/Key Point
You have been with the same company for quite sometime and your management duties have been somewhat limited. You feel it is a good time to send out your resume and test the job market. In your first interview the person asks you what you have learned from your experience at your current place of employment. You go on to say?
I would relate how I have held many positions within the Company and worked under several Supervisors. This has allowed me to observe a variety of management styles and exposed me
to various competitors and vendors.
Yes. Make it appear that just because you have only been with one company, you have acquired a lot of experience. Share some successes that will confirm this and help reinforce
you're experience level.
22. Simulation/Key Point
Mr. Johnson has reviewed your resume and drawn the conclusion that you have moved around quite a bit. He is concerned about your stability. At the beginning of the interview he stresses concern about whether you would be around for long. What can you say to alleviate this concern?
I would let him know that early on I was defining career goals, broadening my experience and taking on more responsibilities. Now as a seasoned executive and sure of my future direction I desire to join a team where I can utilize that experience and finish out my career.
Yes. You want to give the impression that in your quest for the ideal job the position you are applying for is an answer to prayer.
23. Simulation/Key Point
The Vice President of Sales invites you into his office and asks if you will excuse him while he finishes a phone call. It is obvious he is talking with one of his sales managers and the manager is having trouble with someone in his territory. After terminating the call he asks if you have managed many people in the positions you have held. Your response would be?
I was responsible for twelve employees, four reported directly to me and each of them had three people under their supervision. I learned how to motivate and direct my team toward a common goal.
Yes. This response is direct and to the point and lets him know that you have managed several people and have held a supervisory level position.
24. Simulation/Key Point
An important aspect of the position you are seeking is financial accountability. You are interviewing with the Chief Financial Officer of the company and he asks if you have previous experience in managing budgets, approving expenses and monitoring departmental progress. How would you answer?
I managed a large department with an overall budget of five million, which represents 10% of the annual budget. Each year it was my responsibility to prepare and present the budget to
the finance committee for approval. I did so by engaging our team in the process and holding each one accountable for the results. This fostered an atmosphere of ownership and showed
that each area was important to the overall success of the department. As a result, we had common goals in an atmosphere of mutual respect where people had fun completing tasks and
accomplishing those goals. I also had approval to personally sign for expenditures up to $ 25,000.
Yes. This response is correct because you have painted a picture of having previous responsibilities managing a budget for a department within a large company with direct control over large
expenditures. You also showed that you managed by effectively engaging your team. If you have not had this kind of experience, say so, but be creative with your response.
25. Simulation/Key Point
You have been searching the job market for quite sometime and have not been extended any offers. Today's interview is moving along smoothly and you feel that you have a pretty good shot at receiving an offer. You have answered all the questions and have been able to portray your strengths and weaknesses. You're just about home free when the interviewer asks how long you have been searching for a job. You maintain your composure and respond by saying.
I just started looking and I am going to be careful to make the right decision about who my next employer is going to be.
Yes. This shows wisdom; a quality companies want to see in their people. Remember the longer you have been looking the less desirable you become. There is no reason to let them know how long you have been searching, for all they know you are holding out for their company. If they do have a way of knowing, hopefully you would already have knowledge of it and could set the interview up through a second party who knows your history so this would not be an issue.
26. Simulation/Key Point
The interview seems to be very positive and you get the impression the person likes you and your qualifications. Abruptly she asks why you have not had any other job offers. How do you answer?
I had an offer, but did not feel the situation was right for me. I really want to work for your organization.
Yes. You want to tell the truth - if no offers let them know. This lets her know you are not going to jump on the first job that comes along, but that you are serious about making the right decision. You can say you are just as concerned about selecting the right position as they are about hiring the right person.
27. Simulation/Key Point
In the previous situation you were asked why you had not received any offers and you responded by saying that you had received an offer, but you had turned it down. She then asks you whom the offer was with. Would you tell them?
I would give him the name of the company and let him know it was very similar to the position I am applying for with their company.
Yes. This is a direct answer to a simple question. Importantly you have shown that you know what kind of position you are seeking by the fact that the offer you declined was similar to the opening she is trying to fill.
28. Simulation/Key Point
You are ushered into a rather large office and told that Mr. Abernathy will be right with you. Ten minutes pass and you wonder if he is going to show up. The door opens and Mr. Abernathy enters the office nods to you and proceeds directly to his desk. Without introducing himself he begins the interview. He appears to be extremely cold toward you while asking a series of routine questions. He then asks in an arrogant way, "Why should I consider you a strong candidate for this position"? How do you answer?
I would take this as an opportunity to match my strengths and accomplishments to the requirements of the job.
Yes. This is not the time to get your feelings hurt. He may very well be testing to see if you can handle his behavior, especially if the job requires working with customers of a similar nature. This is where you're previously prepared personal inventory and opening statement is important. You will be able to give a brief overview of your strengths and accomplishments and how they relate to the position at hand.
29. Simulations/Key Point
So far the interview has been on a positive note and you are relaxed. The person conducting the interview then fires off a barrage of questions; what are your weaknesses? What are your biggest failures? What skills do you need to develop? In what aspects do your supervisors tend to criticize you the most? Describe your last performance appraisal? What were the key strengths and weaknesses mentioned by your supervisor? How can you possibly respond?
I would take control of the interview and address one question at a time. This as an opportunity to talk about my character in a positive light. I would state any negatives in a positive way.
Yes. Let them know you have learned from them and would not repeat the same mistakes again. Remember you do not have to tell all, confession is not appropriate at this time. Choose a deficiency that could be a plus in a slightly different light. Ex. You are a workaholic - but I have been reading books on time management and it has really helped me to manage my time and delegate more. Refer to your personal inventory and prepare a response for this type of question in advance.
30. Simulation/Key Point
You are interviewing within a specific industry, where movement between companies is not uncommon. When the interview was set up you thought the person's name sounded familiar, but you couldn't place it. When you arrive for the interview, you come to realize that she worked for the same company you are currently employed with. However, you don't remember having any contact with her and chances are she does not know who you are. After pleasantries have been exchanged you realize that she did know of you, but this is the first time you have met. Midway in the interview she asks you if you have had any bad bosses and how you could have improved on the relationship. You do remember one boss that had a reputation of being hard to work for, but you do not know if she was aware of it. She awaits your reply.
I did have one, but I came to understand the tremendous pressure he was under and I was able to successfully anticipate his needs.
Yes. Always talk about a previous employer/boss in a positive light never in a condescending tone. In this case she may know the person and may even agree with you, but she will have more respect for you that you did not cut him down to her.
31. Simulations/Key Responses
Upon entering the office of the Head of Recruiting you notice all the clutter on his desk. Your first impression is that he is unorganized and you think it is strange for a person in his position. He appears anxious giving you the impression that he is a little behind in his duties for the day. So you are surprised when the first question he asks you is, "do you manage your time well and would you consider yourself an organized person." What is the proper way to address this issue?
I believe in setting goals, prioritizing tasks and devote an appropriate amount of time to each.
Dead lines are important and I make sure to meet them accordingly.
Yes. Delegation and assessment is so important when managing a team toward a common goal. Be specific, but do not go over board. Tailor your response to the job you are seeking.
32. Simulation/Key Point
You are interviewing for a position with a large company in the communications industry. They have extremely innovative technology and you are excited by the prospect of going to work for them. Lately, there have been rumors that a take-over was in the works. As you begin the interview with the department head you would be reporting to she states, "change is a part of any company or job situation and as your prospective employer I would like to know how you handle change." How should you approach the question?
I would say that I handle change well and would give an example, which provided personal growth and an opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience.
Yes. Show that you accepted the change, adapted and excelled. If you cannot cite a specific example then agree that change is inevitable, but that you would welcome the new challenges change usually brings.
33. Simulation/Key Point
You are applying for a position as line manager in a manufacturing facility. You will have responsibility for a number of employees and a substantial operating budget. On time production is crucial. The interviewer wants to know how you handle important decisions in a stressful environment.
I would cite and example previously encountered in order to paint a picture of how well I work under pressure that I stay calm and consider all the facts available before making a decision.
Yes. It is always best to cite real life examples. This allows you to show that you not only are capable, but that you have previous experience. If you are not experienced then do not try to bluff your way through. Know in advance how you would respond, you might say "Everyday is a challenge, when I am in a stressful situation it is important to remain calm and collected in order to gather the facts before reacting."
34. Simulation/Key Point
The position you are interviewing for is a high-pressure position. The candidate has to display that he works well in a stressful environment. How would you convince the person conducting the interview that you are right for the job?
Without knowing the actual environment being discussed, I would state a specific example of a stress related situation that I performed well in and use the example to support my claim that I work well under pressure.
Yes. It is always better to use actual experience to back up a claim. If you do not have an examples then answer in a way that shows you are excited at the prospect of a new challenge and you perform well under stress.
35. Simulation/Key Point
Joan sits down in front of the interviewer and is immediately aware of the clutter on the persons desk and catches the tail end of a phone call where it is evident a problem has arisen. The first words out of the interviewers mouth is, "do you work well under pressure and how do you anticipate problems? You respond by saying.
I constantly observe my surroundings and try to anticipate a problem before it occurs.
Yes. It is best to talk of an actual experience you have encountered. Always support a claim with an actual situation. This response shows that you are a perceptive person not given to snap judgments.
36. Simulation/Key Point
You are applying for a position in a relatively young innovative company. The interviewer asks you if you are a risk taker or a person who likes to play it safe.
I am both, a risk taker and am careful at times to play it safe. I would express that each situation needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.
Yes. It is best to express that you are calm and calculating. Site a specific example if possible.
There are times you can not move forward if you are not willing to take a risk, however if it does not involve a critical decision and a substantial loss might occur, then you would play it safe.
37. Simulation/Key Point
The interview is proceeding well and the person conducting the interview starts asking you about your choice in careers. He/she wants to know what mistakes you have made in career selection and what you would change if you could do it over again.
I have had a good career and I have no regrets. I only wish I had found my current level of interest earlier in my career.
Yes. It is best not to change a thing unless you are completely changing careers. If you have regrets, be careful which ones you mention, you do not want to be labeled as "stuck in a career".
38. Simulation/Key Point
The position you are interviewing for involves working with a number of different people within the company, the owner of the company is concerned that any one new to the organization
must be able to adapt. The interviewer wants to know if you work better with others or by yourself, and how you get along with co-workers.
I would respond by saying that although I am an independent person I thrive on an active environment where the opinions of others are important toward completion of desired results.
Yes. Be careful with this line of questioning. For instance if it is a position requiring you to work from a home office with no other employees you want to paint yourself as not needing a lot of support. However, you want to convey that you can also interact with the staff and work effectively with others if and when necessary.
39. Simulation/Key Point
Unknown to you the person conducting the interview has just been involved in an internal struggle with a fellow employee. They are both up for the same position and a competitive environment has developed. The interviewer poses this scenario to you and asks how you would handle it?
I would let the person know that positive competition is healthy and should be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I would stress the importance of concentrating on my own skills rather than exposing the others weaknesses.
Yes. This is a common sense approach, which shows you are confident in your abilities. Always remember the other person may end up working for you one day.
40. Simulation/Key Point
You have been in the interview for a while and cannot seem to get a handle on the company's needs or desires. How can you get this information from him in an appropriate manner?
I would be direct and show a genuine interest in knowing more about the positions available. Yes. Showing an interest is positive, and by asking questions you can turn the tables in order to lead the interviewer toward the conclusion you want to arrive at.
41. Simulation/Key Point
You are on your way to an interview and run into traffic. Stoppage is due to an accident and there is no way of knowing how long it will take. Each minute makes you more nervous there is a possibility of missing the appointment. When traffic breaks you rush to keep the appointment. As soon as you arrive the interviewer is waiting and wondering why you are late. How do you respond?
I would simply state the situation in a calm manner, being careful not to sound irritated. Of course I would have called from my cell to let the receptionist/assistant know to convey my situation. Yes. Never respond in a negative fashion such as "well the traffic was terrible due to the construction, it seems the city wants to work on every road at the same time." This response expresses frustration and lack of respect for government. Even if you are correct, the interviewer may perceive you in a negative way.
42. Simulation/Key Point
An interviewer asks if you have any questions. Should you respond and what questions would you offer?
I would ask questions that would show my interest in the position, my knowledge of the company and to qualify if I want the position. Examples would be: What problems are you facing right now? What results would like to see from a prospective employee? What do you perceive to be the ideal experience for this position? How do people get along in this company? Is the person who held this job available for me to talk with? Your company is top in the industry, how are you going to maintain the current growth rate?
Yes. You always have questions! Show genuine interest after all the answers will give you the tools you need to make an intelligent decision.
43. Simulation/Key Point
You have spent quite a bit of time in the interview and the person conducting the interview asks what your salary expectations are. How do you do you answer without upsetting them?
We both are aware of the salary range for this position and you know that I have held a similar position. I know that you compensate your employees well. What kind of offer could I expect? Yes. Never be the first to bring up salary. By responding in this fashion, you have put the ball back in his court. If you are forced to quote a salary range, make it broad always quoting a range that is realistic, but higher than what you expect for the position.
44. Simulations/Key Point
You have spent a considerable amount of time in the interview and you realize it is not the job you expected. How do you terminate the interview without offending anyone?
I would be honest and let him know that after speaking with him I realize this is not the job I thought I was interviewing for.
Yes. There is no sense in wasting anymore of his time. Be polite and show respect, but most of all be honest.
45. Simulation/Key Point
The interview is progressing well and you relate an experience you had in a previous position. The interviewer says, "that is very interesting what else can you tell me about that experience?" How should you perceive this question?
I would be encouraged at his response and take this opportunity to review my strengths and accomplishments in order to get him to make a decision.
Yes. These kinds of statements are signals that you have their attention, and thus have an opportunity to "close the sale" of your services, you do not want to over sell yourself.
46. Simulation/Key Point
An interviewer asks you what is so special about you and why the company should consider you over the other fifty people that are applying for the job.
I would smile and gather my thoughts, and then reply based on my knowledge of the position. Restating my strengths as they relate to the position and what I would do given the position.
Yes. Always maintain your composure. Take your time before answering and do so with confidence. Do not boast or brag, but it is best you use real life experiences to define your qualifications.
47. Simulation/Key Point
The interviewer has been dominating the questioning thus far; you have an opportunity to ask questions concerning the position. What type of questions would you deem appropriate?
Correct Response would get him talking so I could lead the interview in the direction I want it to go to ultimately reach the conclusion I want. Questions like what do you consider to be the proper experience for this position? What kind of production do you want to see out of a new person in this position? What is the biggest challenge facing the department at this time? These types of questions turn the heat on the interviewer and show you are evaluating whether the job is right for you as well and gets them talking so you can also evaluate if this in fact the position and company you want.
48. Simulation/Key Response
You are the interviewer and the potential applicant enters your office wearing a wrinkled suit and dull shoes in need of repair. What are you thinking? What is the proper attire for an interview?
I would be concerned that his appearance would not properly represent the company and I would politely end the interview.
** Proper attire for men and women is a dark blue suit, which conveys authority (avoid black) and should be conservatively styled. The shirt should be white or pale blue made of 100% cotton. It is always better to wear natural fibers vs. synthetics. The tie or ascot should be 100% silk and select striped over checkered patterns. Complement the suit but do not match it. It is very important that shoes are in good repair and you maintain good personal hygiene.
49. Simulation/Key Point
You have an important interview and you have been told that the company is extremely conservative. Your wardrobe is pretty extensive, but you are unclear on what to wear. What are some ways to find out the company's dress code, if any?
By calling in advance and speaking to someone who might be willing to offer this information or talking with someone outside of the company who may have this knowledge.
Yes. The receptionist might very well know or could refer you to someone within the company. If you are familiar with one of their associates or client's chances are they will have a good idea of the proper attire. When in doubt always dress smart and conservative. Be honest and polite.
50. Simulation/Key Point
Upon arriving for the interview a receptionist leads you to the office of the Head of Personnel. Head of Personnel asks you to take a seat, saying she needs to finish some paperwork before beginning the interview. A short period of time elapses and you get the feeling that you are being tested. What could she be looking for?
How am I maintaining my composure while waiting? Am I getting anxious or irritated?
Yes. She may very well want to know how you would respond to a client in a similar situation. Are you patient, calm and courteous?
51. Simulation/Key Point
You are conducting an interview with a person applying for a mid-level management job. During the interview you are distracted because the person is constantly running their hands through their hair and re-adjusting in their seat. Not only that, you are having trouble understanding when he/she speaks. What would you say to this prospective employee?
I would not correct them, but I would bring the interview to a close. Thanking them for their time.
** There are a number of ways someone might end an interview and this is one. This case indicates that the person being interviewed was not aware he/she had these bad habits. You do not want to fidget, play with your clothes or your jewelry. Keep your hands out of your hair and away from your face. Always keep your arms uncrossed and above the table if possible.
52. Simulation/Key Point
You have an appointments set with a potential employee. Your office faces the entry area, which allows you a full view of anyone entering and exiting the building. You notice a young man coming
up the walk. He is wearing a dark suit with neatly polished shoes, but upon closer inspection you notice he is wearing an earring. The receptionist announces that your appointment has
arrived. What is your response?
Once you find out what he is applying for you patiently say, "I am sorry but we just filled that position, if something else becomes available I will be happy to give you a call."
** He formulated an opinion of the person by his appearance. Do not expect a
prospective employer to embrace your taste. Men and Women should not wear heavy
jewelry, earrings, bracelets or
the like. You want to have a conservative appearance and you do not want anything to draw attention away from you.
53. Simulation/Key Point
After conducting an interview you are consolidating your notes on the candidate. First you were impressed with how prepared he was and also that he knew about your background as well. Second, he seemed relaxed and responded in a confident manner. He also was genuinely interested in the position. Thirdly, he cited several performance examples by relating situations encountered at previous jobs all of which seem to fit your profile. The last book he read was a biography on the life of Teddy Roosevelt. Second interview has been set up with Johnson in strategic marketing. Why do you think this person got to the second interview?
He had done his homework, obviously had experience in interviewing and probably did some roll playing prior to the meeting. He used real life situations to profile his experience and appeared enthusiastic about the position.
** Preparation is essential. He even gathered information about the person conducting the interview. When asked what book he last read, he not only had a title, but also mentioned a book that would leave a favorable impression.
54. Simulation/Key Point
The person conducting the interview asks a candidate what the most important accomplishment of her career has been. She responds by saying, "well there have been so many" she then continues to ramble citing three different accomplishments. What are you thinking?
That I asked for the most important accomplishment and that she is a little too cocky by responding, "There have been so many."
Yes. Always listen carefully and if you are not clear, ask for clarification. Never appear to be over confident or boastful.
55. Simulation/Key Point
You have been in the interview quite awhile and everything is running smooth. The person seems interested in your skills. The subject of money has not come up, when suddenly the interviewer asks, "Did you know the opening salary for this job is $80,000 per year?" You had been expecting more, but are really interested in the job. What is your next step?
The figure is vague and I have no idea if it includes benefits and if so what kind. I would ask him to clarify what is included in the $80,000 turning the tables back on him.
Yes. His response will possibly let you know if he is genuinely interested in you and possibly if he is willing to negotiate. If the position requires you to be in negotiation with a perspective client he might very well be testing to see how you respond in tight situations. Hopefully, you have done your homework and have an idea about what the job should be paying. The company may very well offer a car allowance, extra vacation time, a signing bonus or other perks which would bring the figure closer into range.
56. Simulation/Key Point
In the previous example you were offered $80,000 per year and your expectation was higher. You want the job, but at that salary your wife would have to go to work to help cover your monthly household expenses. What would be a correct way to negotiate the salary?
You know I really would like the job, however at that salary I would not be able to meet my current monthly obligations based on current salary. It would mean my wife taking a job assuming she could find one and we would have the added expense of childcare.
Yes. After responding, pause in silence and wait for the person to respond back. Their response will let you know what direction to head. Do not say, "I was expecting something higher say $100k." What you are attempting to do is uncover the range they are willing to pay and hopefully settle on the higher end of that range."
57. Simulation/Key Point
The interviewer wants to know how you handle important decisions in a stressful environment.
I would state a specific situation I have encountered to show that I am capable of handling decisions in a stressful environment.
Yes. Always tailor the response to the type of position you are after. If it were a financial position you are applying for then you would tell him that your decisions are based on factual information and its affect on the company.
58. Simulation/Key Point
An officer of the company, Mr. Brown, invites you to lunch at a prominent club. You have been through two previous interviews and have been given the impression that an offer was going to be extended. You are nervous and excited. After exchanging pleasantries he asks, "My human resource manager tells me you are not unhappy with you're current employer and seem to be content with you're position; why are you pursuing a change?"
I am have been researching your company and I share your vision for __________ I see it as an exciting opportunity to be on the cutting edge with increased risk and responsibility, where I could express my talents and at the same time expand my knowledge.
Yes. Be positive; keep the focus off your current company and position by moving the conversation toward what his company has to offer. Having a solid understanding of their business and vision is important thus it is believable when you let him know you are excited at the challenge and opportunity his company is offering.
59. Simulation/Key Point
At the same lunch meeting the officer suggests that you may have a tough time adjusting to the size of their company. Seeing that it is much larger than the companies you have worked for in the past.
Upward mobility is limited in a smaller company, especially a company like ours with such a good tenured management team in place. For that very reason I am excited at the opportunity and challenges your company offers.
Yes. Here again you are letting him know that you are leaving for a positive reason and that you are aggressive without appearing to be overly so. That you thrive on increased responsibility and challenged by new opportunities.
60. Simulation/Key Point
You are having lunch with Mr. Brown the President of the company you are hoping to work for. As the waiter arrives to take the orders he suddenly asks, "What is your ideal position?"
I am most challenged in a position where I can direct a team or group toward the accomplishment of a common goal in line with the company's vision.
Yes. This is a broad response keeping you from getting caught in a trap. This response lets him know you can handle people, delegating to achieve goals in order to accomplish company objectives.
61. Simulation/Key Point
Lunch is served and the conversation becomes looser. You think the worst is over and begin to relax. Mr. Brown then asks about your extracurricular activities and what sports you enjoy.
I am active in a community project involving kids and enjoy most sports. As you know I played football in college and like to stay in shape.
Yes. This response although broad does not offend. Try to correlate them to the job if possible, being careful not to list too many projects. He may feel you are over extended. Unless you know what sports he likes it is best to answer in general terms. By letting him know sports you have participated in you are able to relate that you take care of yourself physically.
62. Simulation/Key Point
You are applying for a position outside your chosen field of study and are concerned that it will be an issue. After the initial meeting you are relieved and have the impression that it will not play heavy in their decision to hire you. You are caught off guard when the person conducting the second interview begins by asking, "Why are you seeking a sales position after spending two years in corporate finance?"
I am energetic, enjoy meeting new people and thrive in a competitive environment and my finance degree will be valuable in understanding the cost factors and the profit margins the company wants to maintain.
Yes. By preparing for this question in advance you have let them know that you are qualified for the position. You have shown enthusiasm and that your course of study is an asset not a liability.
63. Simulation/Key Point
Mr. Brown talks about the company and relates how they started out. The company supplies parts for large computer manufacturers. In the beginning they struggled, finances were tight and through perseverance and hard work they developed into the industry leader by adding products and expanding their customer base. He wants to know about your management philosophy.
I believe in a team concept, where the right people are brought together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and promoting self-reliance. They are given a clear vision of the company objectives and the tools needed to meet those objectives.
Yes. By offering a non-direct response, your philosophy is not limiting. You make it clear that you enjoy working with other people and that you always keep the company objectives in focus. You are presenting him with a consistent pattern of thought that conveys authority and experience.
64. Simulation/Key Point
You are about to wrap up lunch when the waiter asks if anyone would like dessert. Mr. Brown suggests that you are finished and requests the check. He then turns to you and asks, "What is your five-year plan."
I want to work with an organization, which will challenge me and provide a learning environment where I can broaden my business knowledge. I embrace challenge and enjoy working in a team environment to reach and exceed set goals and visions. Thus allowing me to be an asset to the company on any level.
Yes. This is a broad answer because you do not want to get caught offering a plan that would be out of line with the company's. This is not the time to appear overly ambitious, yet you want to convey confidence in your abilities and that you want to learn more and welcome the opportunity to do so.
65. Simulation/Key Point
Listed on your resume the last position you held states that you managed a department of twenty people with direct responsibility for the hiring and firing for the department. How would you respond to an interviewer that asks, "If I spoke with one of your fellow employees, how would they describe you?"
They would say that I treated them firm, but fair; that we worked together as a team to set clear goals and that I provided them with the tools to accomplish those goals; that I allowed them autonomy to complete their work, but coached and mentored through a consistent review process and that I had an open door policy. They always knew they were heading in the right direction and received proper training for advancement.
Yes. This response is direct and to the point, no use stating negative aspects of your character. If the person has access to someone you worked for, then it would be important to talk with the person a head of time. Know in advance what would be said about you. You want to answer this question with conviction and without hesitation.
66. Simulation/Key Point
The interviewer notices you have been working for a small company and your experience is somewhat limited. The position you are applying for requires you to work with a team of professionals that have been with the company for quite sometime.
I am excited to work with such an experienced group of people; this will allow me to expand my knowledge.
Yes. You do not want to appear intimidated or devalue your qualifications. You want to convey confidence, but that you are willing to learn. Relating a past team experience would be helpful and could serve to show that you work well in that environment.
67. Simulation/Key Point
You are in the foyer waiting for your appointment and over hear a conversation the receptionist is having with a Spanish speaking person. When she hangs up you begin conversing with her in Spanish. The interviewer walks into the foyer and introduces him self. As you walk to his office he casually asks, "Are you from Mexico." You respond by saying?
I am a citizen of the United States and have been living in the area for quite some time so I guess you could say this is where I am from.
Yes. The option is always available to answer the question directly. However, by offering a broad response you avoid a potential problem if the interviewer has a bias that is not shared by his/her company. You should ask yourself if the question has any bearing on your ability to perform the job at hand. You cannot be turned down because of physical defects and cannot be asked your nationality, religious affiliation, marital status or plans for marriage. They can however; in a round about way get you to talk about them.
68. Simulation/Key Point
You have been in the market place for quite sometime and the person conducting the interview is younger. You get the feeling by the line of questioning that your age might be an issue. So far you have not offered any evidence to just how old you are. You are taken back when the person says, "I see you entered the work force in 1982 after graduation, so I guess that makes you around 40 years of age." Your response would be?
As you can see I have a solid background with a lot of experience.
Yes. Employers cannot ask your date of birth, graduation dates or other personal information that has no bearing on ability to perform the job. However, be careful when answering so you do not give the impression of being defensive or irritated by the question.
69. Simulation/Key Point
Bob is a very qualified individual and has been through two interviews. Up to this point he has not been asked about his previous employer. In the third interview the director of human resources wants to know about his previous employer. Bob responds by saying, "they were totally unorganized and had no regard for their employees. On payday everyone had to wait for the checks because the gal handling payroll could never finish on time. Oh, they had their good points, but I tell you it was frustrating at times." Do you think he will get the job?
No. Even though he might be qualified, he is making negative comments about his previous employer.
**Always talk about previous employers in a positive way and use the opportunity to discuss your accomplishments. Even if the interviewer knows that the company has problems, he did not hear it from you. You want them to perceive that you will be positive if and when you go to work for them.
70. Simulation/Key Point
Bob is asked about a recent contract his current employer received from a large manufacturing concern. The company he is applying with lost the contract and is seeking experienced people to help in bidding and negotiating future contracts. Bob states, "Yea that contract was for $1.5 million and the real reason we were awarded the contract was our President went to school with the head of their production department. We offered his department a $50k rebate if he would help us secure the contract." Do you think Bob will get the job?
No. He gave up proprietary information about his current employer.
** Never say anything negative or divulge information known to be proprietary about another employer. The company will be hesitant to hire someone who gives out information so freely especially when he is still employed by them. In this example the $ 50k is given in the form of a rebate, which might have been a good negotiating ploy. One you might be able to recommend if and when you go to work for them.
71. Simulation/Key Point
You have been interviewing with the head of personnel and indicate that you are concerned the job will not pay very much. You let him know how much you are currently making and ask if the pay scale for the position available is comparable. Is this line of questioning appropriate?
No. It is not wise to bring up a concern about money or salary early in the interview. You want the employer to open any conversations dealing with money.
Yes. Never be the first to discuss money or concern about salary issues. If you have done your homework ahead of time you should have a general idea of what the position pays. If the salary for the position is less than what you expect, your qualifications might entice them to make a higher offer. When the employer brings up money the negotiation process has been initiated so you want to keep up your guard.
COLLEGE RELATED SIMULATIONS
72. Simulation/Key Point
The interviewer asks a company representative to give you a tour of the building. During the course of the tour the person casually asks you a variety of questions. Why did you choose Texas University? How did you determine what would be your major? Were you in a fraternity? I bet you have changed since beginning school. Don't you? The person seems genuinely interested. How would you interpret the conversation?
I would just assume that this tour was an extension of the interview and answer the questions accordingly being careful with my responses.
Yes. Never let them catch you with your guard down. Always assume anyone in the company may be a judge of how well you might fit in. You want to win this person over in a genuine way. By asking questions about the company and the position you might gain valuable insight. You can be sure that they will reporting to their boss and offer an impression of your personality.
73. Simulation/Key Point
You are attending lunch with a senior officer at the firm where you have applied. You're
thinking, "this must be the last interview I bet she is going to extend an offer." The officer
states that he has read your resume. He goes on to say, "I understand you were a member of
XYZ fraternity in college. Tell me about all those wild parties you attended; don't you miss
it? Your response is?
Yes sir, we had a lot of fun, but our fraternity prided itself on its character how we were perceived on and off campus. I will always miss the school it was an important part of my growth.
Yes. You don't deny having parties, but you have not offered any details and you let him know that you understand the importance of not ruining a good name. You also let him know school was a positive experience and that you enjoyed that experience, but it is behind you now.
74. Simulations/Key Point
You have been in the interview for approximately twenty minutes and most of the questions to
this point have centered on extra circular activities. The mood shifts and the questions
become more direct. The interviewer wants to know why you choose your major and minor
course of study listed on your resume.
I would state my passion and how my major and minor fields of study prepared me to fulfill that passion and also provided a broad base of knowledge that I would bring to the company.
Yes. Hopefully your major coincides with the position you are applying for or you can draw a correlation between the two. If not, let them know that in the course of your studies you realized that you had other interest and are excited by the challenge the position offers.
75. Simulation/Key Point
If you were given the opportunity to go back to college and repeat your course work, what would you do differently?
I would probably take more interactive courses relating to my major in order to further my understanding of how to operate in the business arena.
Yes. This response shows an aggressive approach vs. a passive approach, which would express stability. The question could be a trick, to see if you would be happier in another field of study.