First find out where you may have to relocate and how much travel may be
involved. Then respond to the question.
If there’s no problem, say so enthusiastically.
If you do have a reservation, there are two schools of
thought on how to handle it.
One advises you to keep your options open and your
reservations to yourself in the early going, by saying, “no problem”. You
strategy here is to get the best offer you can, then make a judgment whether
it’s worth it to you to relocate or travel.
Also, by the time the offer comes through, you may have
other offers and can make a more informed decision. Why kill of this
opportunity before it has chance to blossom into something really special? And
if you’re a little more desperate three months from now, you might wish you
hadn’t slammed the door on relocating or traveling.
The second way to handle this question is to voice a
reservation, but assert that you’d be open to relocating (or traveling) for the
The answering strategy you choose depends on how eager you
are for the job. If you want to take no chances, choose the first approach.
If you want to play a little harder-to-get in hopes of
generating a more enticing offer, choose the second.
If you are a reserved person and/or the corporate culture is coolly
“I’m an even-tempered and positive person by nature, and I
believe this helps me a great deal in keeping my department running smoothly,
harmoniously and with a genuine esprit de corps. I believe in communicating
clearly what’s expected, getting people’s commitment to those goals, and then
following up continuously to check progress.”
“If anyone or anything is going off track, I want to know
about it early. If, after that kind of open communication and follow up,
someone isn’t getting the job done, I’ll want to know why. If there’s no good
reason, then I’ll get impatient and angry…and take appropriate steps from
there. But if you hire good people, motivate them to strive for excellence and
then follow up constantly, it almost never gets to that state.”
If you are feisty by nature and/or the position calls for
a tough straw boss.
“You know what makes me angry? People who (the fill in the
blanks with the most objectionable traits for this type of position)…people who
don’t pull their own weight, who are negative, people who lie…etc.”
Gauge this company’s corporate culture before answering
Be honest (which doesn’t mean you have to vividly share
your fantasy of the franchise or bed-and-breakfast you someday plan to open).
In general, if the corporate culture is that of a large,
formal, military-style structure, minimize any indication that you’d love to
have your own business. You might say, “Oh, I may have given it a thought once
or twice, but my whole career has been in larger organizations. That’s where I
have excelled and where I want to be.”
If the corporate culture is closer to the free-wheeling,
everybody’s-a-deal-maker variety, then emphasize that in a firm like this, you
can virtually get the best of all worlds, the excitement of seeing your own
ideas and plans take shape…combined with the resources and stability of a
well-established organization. Sounds like the perfect environment to you.
In any case, no matter what the corporate culture, be sure
to indicate that any desires about running your own show are part of your past,
not your present or future.
The last thing you want to project is an image of either a
dreamer who failed and is now settling for the corporate cocoon…or the restless
maverick who will fly out the door with key accounts, contacts and trade
secrets under his arms just as soon as his bankroll has gotten rebuilt.
Always remember: Match what you want with what the
position offers. The more information you’ve uncovered about the position, the
more believable you can make your case.
How do you feel about
reporting to a younger person (minority, woman, etc)?
You greatly admire a company that hires and promotes on merit alone and
you couldn’t agree more with that philosophy. The age (gender, race, etc.) of
the person you report to would certainly make no difference to you.
Whoever has that position has obviously earned it and
knows their job well. Both the person and the position are fully deserving of
respect. You believe that all people in a company, from the receptionist to the
Chairman, work best when their abilities, efforts and feelings are respected
and rewarded fairly, and that includes you. That’s the best type of work
environment you can hope to find.
Have you been absent
from work more than a few days in any previous position?
you have had no problem, emphasize your excellent and consistent attendance
record throughout your career.
Also describe how important you believe such consistent
attendance is for a key executive…why it’s up to you to set an example of
dedication…and why there’s just no substitute for being there with your people
to keep the operation running smoothly, answer questions and handle problems
and crises as they arise.
If you do have a past attendance problem, you want to
minimize it, making it clear that it was an exceptional circumstance and that
it’s cause has been corrected.
To do this, give the same answer as above but preface it
with something like,
“Other that being out last year (or whenever) because of (your reason,
which is now in the past), I have never had a problem and have enjoyed an
excellent attendance record throughout my career. Furthermore, I believe,
consistent attendance is important because…” (Pick up the rest of the answer as