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Job hunting? Don't get tripped up by these tricky interview questions (courtesy of Ford R. Myers, author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring).
1. What weaknesses do you have for this job?
Answer is to ponder the question for a while, and then state that "you can't think of any weaknesses that would compromise your performance at this job or that would negatively impact your handling of the job's responsibilities."
2. Are you considering other positions at this time?
Simply say "Yes." If you say no, you'll seem like a loser who nobody else values as an attractive candidate.
3. What changes would you make to our company if you came on board?
This question can instantly derail your candidacy. No matter how comfortable you may feel with your interviewer or the situation, you are still an outsider. No one, including your interviewer, likes to think that a know-it-all outsider is going to come in, turn the place upside down, and promptly demonstrate what idiots everybody at the company has been for years.
4. What do you expect to get in this job that you haven't gotten in your current/previous job?
State that your current/previous jobs have met or exceeded your expectations. With this new position, you would hope to have broader responsibilities and make greater contributions over time.
5. Tell me about the greatest achievement, and the greatest disappointment in your life.
Give one personal example (like meeting your spouse and getting married, putting yourself through college, saving up to buy your first house, etc.). Then give your best professional accomplishment story (make it relevant to the company's apparent needs and challenges). As for the disappointment, give an answer similar to the one above, such as, "Overall, I would say that I'm quite satisfied with the way my life and career have been developing, so I really can't think of any major disappointments."
6. What did you like best/least about your last job?
Explain what you liked best. Then say, "While every job has its challenges, I have been fortunate enough to learn and grow professionally in each of the positions I have held."
7. Why should I hire you?
This is a killer question, because so many candidates are unprepared for it. If you hesitate or improvise, you'll blow it. If you know the employer's greatest needs and challenges, this question will give you a big advantage over other candidates because you'll offer better reasons for getting hired than anyone else. Whether your interviewer asks you this question explicitly or not, this is the most important question of your interview! After all, the interviewer must answer this question favorably in his or her own mind before you'll be hired. So, here's what to do. Walk through each of the position's requirements as you understand them, and follow each item with how well you meet that requirement.
8. At your previous job(s), what did you think management could have done to make you function more effectively as an employee?
Say something like: "My employer was very good in providing resources and support to my position, so I have no complaints about this."
9. Tell me about the best/worst boss you've ever had.
Say, "While every boss has been different, I have worked productively with, and learned something from, each one." (Be prepared to give some examples of what you have learned.)
10. What do people criticize about you?
Say that "You can't think of any criticisms you have received from colleagues on the job. Of course, there have been areas for development, such as when your supervisors would have given you your performance reviews, and they might have made some suggestions for improvement." Say that "You have always taken these suggestions seriously and have taken steps to make the improvements that were requested." Add that "This has made you stronger as a professional."
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