concerned that you don’t have as much experience as we’d
This question is related to “The Fatal Flaw” , but here
the concern is not that you are totally missing some
qualifications, such as CPA certification, but rather
that your experience is light in one area.
Before going into any interview, try to identify the
weakest aspects of your candidacy from this company’s
point of view. Then prepare the best answer you possible
can to shore up your defenses.
To get past this question with flying colors, you are
going to rely on your master strategy of uncovering the
employer’s greatest wants and needs and then matching
them with your strengths. Since you already know how to
do this from Question 1, you are in a much stronger
More specifically, when the interviewer poses as
objection like this, you should…
Agree on the importance of this qualification.
Explain that your strength may be indeed be greater than
your resume indicates because…
When this strength is added to your other strengths,
it’s really your combination of qualifications that’s
Then review the areas of your greatest strengths that
match up most favorably with the company’s most
urgently-felt wants and needs.
This is powerful way to handle this question for two
reasons. First, you’re giving your interviewer more
ammunition in the area of his concern. But more
importantly, you’re shifting his focus away from this
one, isolated area and putting it on the unique
combination of strengths you offer, strengths which tie
in perfectly with his greatest wants.
How do you feel about working nights and weekends
First, if you’re a confirmed workaholic, this question
is a softball lob. Whack it out of the park on the first
swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your
style. Add that your family understands it. Indeed,
they’re happy for you, as they know you get your
greatest satisfaction from your work.
If however, you prefer a more balanced lifestyle, answer
this question with another: “What’s the norm for your
best people here?”
If the hours still sound unrealistic for you, ask, “Do
you have any top people who perform exceptionally for
you, but who also have families and like to get home in
time to see them at night?” Chances are this company
does, and this associates you with this other
Depending on the answer, be honest about how you would
fit into the picture. If all those extra hours make you
uncomfortable, say so, but phrase your response
Example: “I love my work and do it exceptionally well. I
think the results speak for themselves, especially in
…(mention your two or three qualifications of greater
interest to the employer. Remember, this is what he
wants most, not a workaholic with weak credentials). Not
only would I bring these qualities, but I’ve built my
whole career on working not just hard, but smart. I
think you’ll find me one of the most productive people
I do have a family who likes to see me after work and on
weekends. They add balance and richness to my life,
which in turn helps me be happy and productive at work.
If I could handle some of the extra work at home in the
evenings or on weekends, that would be ideal. You’d be
getting a person of exceptional productivity who meets
your needs with strong credentials. And I’d be able to
handle some of the heavy workload at home where I can be
under the same roof as my family. Everybody would win.”
Are you willing to relocate or travel ?
First find out where you may have to relocate and how
much travel may be involved. Then respond to the
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 right opportunity.
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.
Do you have the stomach to fire people? Have you
had experience firing many people ?
Describe the rational and sensible management process
you follow in both hiring and firing.
Example: “My whole management approach is to hire the
best people I can find, train them thoroughly and well,
get them excited and proud to be part of our team, and
then work with them to achieve our goals together. If
you do all of that right, especially hiring the right
people, I’ve found you don’t have to fire very often.
“So with me, firing is a last resort. But when it’s got
to be done, it’s got to be done, and the faster and
cleaner, the better. A poor employee can wreak terrible
damage in undermining the morale of an entire team of
good people. When there’s no other way, I’ve found it’s
better for all concerned to act decisively in getting
rid of offenders who won’t change their ways.”
Why have you had so many jobs ?
First, before you even get to the interview stage, you
should try to minimize your image as job hopper. If
there are several entries on your resume of less than
one year, consider eliminating the less important ones.
Perhaps you can specify the time you spent at previous
positions in rounded years not in months and years.
Example: Instead of showing three positions this way:
6/1982 – 3/1983, Position A;
4/1983 – 12/1983, Position B;
1/1984 – 8/1987, Position C;
…it would be better to show simply:
1982 – 1983, Position A;
1984 – 1987 Position C.
In other words, you would drop Position B altogether.
Notice what a difference this makes in reducing your
image as a job hopper.
Once in front of the interviewer and this question comes
up, you must try to reassure him. Describe each position
as part of an overall pattern of growth and career
Be careful not to blame other people for your frequent
changes. But you can and should attribute certain
changes to conditions beyond your control.
Example: Thanks to an upcoming merger, you wanted to
avoid an ensuing bloodbath, so you made a good, upward
career move before your department came under the axe of
the new owners.
If possible, also show that your job changes were more
frequent in your younger days, while you were
establishing yourself, rounding out your skills and
looking for the right career path. At this stage in your
career, you’re certainly much more interested in the
best long-term opportunity.
You might also cite the job where you stayed the
longest and describe that this type of situation is what
you’re looking for now.
What do you see as the proper role/mission of…
…a good (job title you’re seeking);
…a good manager;
…an executive in serving the community;
…a leading company in our industry; etc.
Think of the most essential ingredients of success for
each category above – your job title, your role as
manager, your firm’s role, etc.
Identify at least three but no more than six qualities
you feel are most important to success in each role.
Then commit your response to memory.
Here, again, the more information you’ve already drawn
out about the greatest wants and needs of the
interviewer, and the more homework you’ve done to
identify the culture of the firm, the more on-target
your answer will be.