Dr. Burrell’s classnotes
In order to prepare yourself for the workforce, there’s no way, in general, that you can bypass the dreadful interview process. The following is an essential guide from Dr. Burrell, a graduate school professor, that will help alleviate the fear of answering common interview questions.
Job Interview Questions
11. What would you do to improve our operations or activities? How would you do it?
This is a great opportunity to show you have a plan for the job at hand and how you are going to execute it. Prior to interviewing, read over the job description to have in mind their game plan for the position. List at least three things you can contribute to the team and how you would set about executing your plan.
Hint: Do your research! This is a question that should not be answered with a last minute answer. Practice your answer ahead of time and be prepared to list examples of ways to improve the organization based on your research.
12. How much do you expect, if we offer you this position?
Be prepared to answer this question with a question. For example, you could say: what is the salary range for similar jobs in your company? Try to avoid answering this question until after the organization is ready to make you a job offer.
Hint: Do some research on similar jobs in the marketplace and be prepared to have a salary range in mind. Look of data on http://www.salary.com or http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
13. Starting out at the level of this position, what future do you see for yourself with our company?
When you talk about the future, keep talking about yourself and your prospective employer as business partners. Emphasize that you are excited about the company and see good opportunities that can keep you there for a long time. The trick here is convincing the interviewer that you’re looking for steady advancement in the long run, not a rapid series of promotions.
14. Give an example of when you ignored or overlooked a strict company policy to get an important project done or to meet a difficult deadline?
This is a trap question to see if you follow company rules. Your answer should be: “Never, I always follow company rules”
15. Give 3 words that your co-workers would use to describe you as a worker?
Some good examples are: Unselfish, professional, hard-working, ethical.
16. Give 2 words that your former boss would use to describe you as a worker?
Some good examples are: Reliable, professional, punctual.
17. Describe your favorite boss and explain why they were your favorite boss?
Be honest but be careful in saying things that could backfire, “He never bothered me he just left me alone.” It would be better to say that, “He sets expectations, trusted me as a professional and left me alone to do my work.”
18. Describe your worst boss and explain why you feel that he or she was the worst?
Be honest, tactful, and professional in answering this question.
19. Why should we hire you?
This is another broad question that can take you down the wrong road unless you’ve done some thinking ahead of time. This question is purely about selling yourself. Think of yourself as the product. Why should the customer buy?
The Wrong track
“Because I need and want a job.” That’s nice but the bottom line here is, “What can you do to contribute in the organization?”
“I’m a hard worker and really want to work for this company.” The majority of people think of themselves as hard workers — and why this company?
The Right Track
“Because I’m a good fit for the position.” Getting warmer, but more details here. “I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job.” This is the best answer so far. Expand on this and you’ve got it. “I’ve got extensive experience in [name the appropriate field] and have the specific skills you are looking for. I’m a fast learner who adapts quickly to change and will hit the ground running. I’m dedicated and enthusiastic about helping your company meet its goals, and will provide top-quality results with minimal oversight. I’m an outstanding performer who takes pride in my work. You won’t have regrets when you hire me.”
20. Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
Intent: Early in your career, interviewers want to get a sense of your personal goals, ambition, drive, and direction. At mid-career, they will be listening for responses relevant to their needs.
Context: You’ll need to decide how much to share. If you want to run your own business five years from now and need a certain kind of experience in a competitive company, don’t reveal that goal. But if you want to become a VP by age 35 and are interviewing in a merit – based environment, go ahead and tell the interviewer.
Response: “My goal is to be a corporate VP by the time I am 35.” Or you might give a more subjective answer, “In five years, I want to have gained solid experience in marketing communications and be developing skills in another marketing function.”