Would you lie for the company ?
Try to avoid choosing between two values, giving
a positive statement which covers all bases instead.
Example: “I would never do anything to hurt the
If aggressively pressed to choose between two competing
values, always choose personal integrity. It is the most
prized of all values.
Looking back, what would you do differently in
your life ?
Indicate that you are a happy, fulfilled, optimistic
person and that, in general, you wouldn’t change a
Example: “It’s been a good life, rich in learning and
experience, and the best it yet to come. Every
experience in life is a lesson it its own way. I
wouldn’t change a thing.”
Could you have done better in your last job ?
Again never be negative.
Example: “I suppose with the benefit of hindsight you
can always find things to do better, of course, but off
the top of my head, I can’t think of anything of major
(If more explanation seems necessary)
Describer a situation that didn’t suffer because
of you but from external conditions beyond your control
For example, describe the disappointment you felt with a
test campaign, new product launch, merger, etc., which
looked promising at first, but led to underwhelming
results. “I wish we could have known at the start what
we later found out (about the economy turning, the
marketplace changing, etc.), but since we couldn’t, we
just had to go for it. And we did learn from it…”
Can you work under pressure ?
Absolutely…(then prove it with a vivid example or two of
a goal or project accomplished under severe pressure.)
What makes you angry ?
Give an answer that’s suited to both your personality
and the management style of the firm. Here, the homework
you’ve done about the company and its style can help in
your choice of words.
Examples: If you are a reserved person and/or the
corporate culture is coolly professional:
“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
“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
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.”
Why aren’t you earning more money at this stage of
your career ?
You like to make money, but other factors are even more
Example: “Making money is very important to me, and one
reason I’m here is because I’m looking to make more.
Throughout my career, what’s been even more important to
me is doing work I really like to do at the kind of
company I like and respect.
(Then be prepared to be specific about what your ideal
position and company would be like, matching them as
closely as possible to the opportunity at hand.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of
Directors” – Leaders in your industry, from history or
anyone else who has been your mentor.
Be prepared to give examples of how their words, actions
or teachings have helped inspire your achievements. As
always, prepare an answer which highlights qualities
that would be highly valuable in the position you are
What was the toughest decision you ever had to
Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the
decision was difficult…the process you followed in
reaching it…the courageous or effective way you carried
it out…and the beneficial results.
Tell me about the most boring job you’ve ever had.
You have never allowed yourself to grow bored with a job
and you can’t understand it when others let themselves
fall into that rut.
Example: “Perhaps I’ve been fortunate, but that I’ve
never found myself bored with any job I have ever held.
I’ve always enjoyed hard work. As with actors who feel
there are no small parts, I also believe that in every
company or department there are exciting challenges and
intriguing problems crying out for energetic and
enthusiastic solutions. If you’re bored, it’s probably
because you’re not challenging yourself to tackle those
problems right under your nose.”
Have you been absent from work more than a few
days in any previous position?
If 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
What changes would you make if you came on board?
You, of course, will want to take a good hard look at
everything the company is doing before making any
Example: “Well, I wouldn’t be a very good doctor if I
gave my diagnosis before the examination. Should you
hire me, as I hope you will, I’d want to take a good
hard look at everything you’re doing and understand why
it’s being done that way. I’d like to have in-depth
meetings with you and the other key people to get a
deeper grasp of what you feel you’re doing right and
what could be improved.
“From what you’ve told me so far, the areas of greatest
concern to you are…” (name them. Then do two things.
First, ask if these are in fact his major concerns. If
so then reaffirm how your experience in meeting similar
needs elsewhere might prove very helpful).