Try to gauge how this company’s culture would look upon your favorite
outside activities and be guided accordingly.
You can also use this question to shatter any stereotypes
that could limit your chances. If you’re over 50, for example, describe your
activities that demonstrate physical stamina. If you’re young, mention an
activity that connotes wisdom and institutional trust, such as serving on the
board of a popular charity.
But above all, remember that your employer is hiring your
for what you can do for him, not your family, yourself or outside
organizations, no matter how admirable those activities may be.
Redefine the word ‘worry’ so that it does not reflect negatively on you.
Example: “I wouldn’t call it worry, but I am a strongly
goal-oriented person. So I keep turning over in my mind anything that seems to
be keeping me from achieving those goals, until I find a solution. That’s part
of my tenacity, I suppose.”
Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position ?
(If you have a job presently)
you’re not yet 100% committed to leaving your present post, don’t be afraid to
say so. Since you have a job, you are in a stronger position than someone who
does not. But don’t be coy either. State honestly what you’d be hoping to find
in a new spot. Of course, as stated often before, you answer will all the
stronger if you have already uncovered what this position is all about and you
match your desires to it.
(If you do not
presently have a job.)
Never lie about having been fired. It’s unethical – and too easily checked. But
do try to deflect the reason from you personally. If your firing was the result
of a takeover, merger, division wide layoff, etc., so much the better.
But you should also do
something totally unnatural that will demonstrate consummate professionalism.
Even if it hurts , describe your own firing – candidly, succinctly and without
a trace of bitterness – from the company’s point-of-view, indicating that you
could understand why it happened and you might have made the same decision yourself.
Your stature will rise immensely and, most important of all, you will show you
are healed from the wounds inflicted by the firing. You will enhance your image
as first-class management material and stand head and shoulders above the
legions of firing victims who, at the slightest provocation, zip open their
shirts to expose their battle scars and decry the unfairness of it all.
For all prior
Make sure you’ve prepared a brief reason for leaving. Best reasons: more money,
opportunity, responsibility or growth.
What’s the most difficult
part of being a (job title)?
redefine “difficult” to be “challenging” which is more positive. Then, identify
an area everyone in your profession considers challenging and in which you
excel. Describe the process you follow that enables you to get splendid
results…and be specific about those results.
think every sales manager finds it challenging to motivate the troops in a
recession. But that’s probably the strongest test of a top sales manager. I
feel this is one area where I excel.”
“When I see the first sign that sales may slip or that
sales force motivation is flagging because of a downturn in the economy, here’s
the plan I put into action immediately…” (followed by a description of each
step in the process…and most importantly, the exceptional results you’ve
The “Hypothetical Problem”
Instead, describe the rational, methodical process you
would follow in analyzing this problem, who you would consult with, generating
possible solutions, choosing the best course of action, and monitoring the
Remember, in all such, “What would you do?” questions,
always describe your process or working methods, and you’ll never go wrong.