Thursday, March 29, 2012

Preparing for the Interview

So, I applied to jobs, and I was finally called in for an interview.  This would have been my first interview in five years, I was nervous because it has been so long and I have heard stories about how interviews have changed and crazy questions people have asked.

I wanted to be sure I did well, I needed that kind of encouragement and confidence.  Even if this one didn't work out, I could feel better about the next one.  I researched books and the Internet for typical interview questions that I should know the responses to.  I copied them into a word document and then typed in how I would respond.  I then took those questions and answers and put them on index cards. (repetition helps me remember)  I flipped through these index cards every chance I got until I knew the answers. (some of my questions are listed below).

I knew I wasn't in the industry where they'd ask me those insane questions - like what kind of animal would you be or how many people in the US would be eligible for a phone upgrade next year - and you have to approximate age of people, how often their contracts expire, the percentage of people that upgrade, etc.  So I just stuck to the basics.

Then since I knew I'd have an interview soon, I started trying on some of my suits.  Did I have shoes that coordinated? Could I walk in the shoes?  Did the suit still fit? What about the shirt underneath the jacket?  Was my suit appropriate for the time of year?  If I had to buy something, was there enough time to shop around - for the positions I wanted, I needed a nice suit not just something that fit or was just OK. 

Once I got all that figured out, I thought I was as ready as I could be.
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What interests you about this job? Why dud you apply?
  • Why do you want to work HERE?
  • What applicable attributes/experience do you have?
  • What can you do for the company?
  • What do you like about association management?
  • What can you offer me that another person can’t?
  • What are your 5 year goals?  10?
  • Describe your work ethic
  • When were you most satisfied in a job?
  • What was the last project you headed up? What was the outcome?
  • Can you give me an example of your work being criticized?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What was the most difficult decision made in the last 2 years?  How did you come to that decision?
  • What was a creative idea/change you’ve successfully put into recent assignment?
  • Do you have experience training others?
  • Give me an example of a recent conflict situation with a co-worker that you were involved in.
  • How did you change a system/procedure you worked on?
  • Have you had to ‘speak up’ recently to your boss or others who gave you work when it wasn’t comfortable to do so?
  • Have you had people who you gave assignments with out completing instructions? How did you handle it?
  • Provide an example of when you found a mistake in someone’s work
  • How do you handle stress under pressure?
  • What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make?
  • Tell me about a suggestion you have made.
  • What are/were your responsibilities?
  • What don’t you do well?
  • What are your accomplishments?
  • Why are you leaving?
  • Why should we hire YOU?
  • What is your greatest failure?
  • What did you like least in last job?
  • What did you wish to accomplish at job but were unable to?
  • How do you recognize incompetence/excellence?
  • Define success in problem solving.
  • What is #1 achievement of your career?
  • What did you fail at?  How did you remedy the situation?
  • Have you worked under pressure? Explain.
  • What did you like/dislike about current/past job?
  • What is the most difficult decision you have had to face?
  • What was your most favorite job?
  • Did you and a former/current boss every disagree?
  • How would subordinates describe me?
  • What do you like best about managing people?
  • What do you dislike about managing people?
  • Are you a manager or leader?
  • What have you learned from your mistakes?
  • Describe yourself
  • Techniques for organization
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • What qualities make you a leader?
  • How do you feel about working for someone who knows less than you?
  • What do coworkers say about you?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to communicate information to a group
  • What would a previous supervisor say is your strongest point?
  • What motivates you do your best on the job?
  • Describe your management style.
  • How would you compensate for lack of experience.
  • Why aren’t you certified?
  • What quality do you look for in a boss?
  • What approach would you take when faced with a challenge?
  • What is a significant achievement in my life?
  • Describe a time you had to work with others to achieve a common goal.
  • 5 words that best describe you
  • What skills & qualities can you bring to this position?
  • How do you establish a working relationship with new people?
  • What have you done during ‘down time’ at work?
  • Experience with strategic planning?
  • How would you establish credibility quickly with a team?
  • What do you see yourself doing in the first 30 days?
To ask them:
  • Why is this position open?
  • Who would I be reporting to?
  • What kind of back up is in place for vacation/travel/sick time?
  • What would you like done differently by the next person who fills the position?
  • What is the biggest challenge this position will face?
  • Approximately how much traveling will be involved?
  • What staff training and development opportunities are available?
  • What is the culture of the office?

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