How many hours a week do you normally work?
If you are in fact a workaholic and you sense this
company would like that: Say you are a confirmed
workaholic, that you often work nights and weekends.
Your family accepts this because it makes you fulfilled.
If you are not a workaholic: Say you have always worked
hard and put in long hours. It goes with the territory.
It one sense, it’s hard to keep track of the hours
because your work is a labor of love, you enjoy nothing
more than solving problems. So you’re almost always
thinking about your work, including times when you’re
home, while shaving in the morning, while commuting,
What’s the most difficult part of being a (job
First, redefine “difficult” to be “challenging” which is
more positive. Then, identify an area everyone in your
profession considers challenging and in which you excel.
Describe the process you follow that enables you to get
splendid results…and be specific about those results.
Example: “I think every sales manager finds it
challenging to motivate the troops in a recession. But
that’s probably the strongest test of a top sales
manager. I feel this is one area where I excel.”
“When I see the first sign that sales may slip or that
sales force motivation is flagging because of a downturn
in the economy, here’s the plan I put into action
immediately…” (followed by a description of each step in
the process…and most importantly, the exceptional
results you’ve achieved.).
The “Hypothetical Problem”
Instead, describe the rational, methodical process you
would follow in analyzing this problem, who you would
consult with, generating possible solutions, choosing
the best course of action, and monitoring the results.
Remember, in all such, “What would you do?” questions,
always describe your process or working methods, and
you’ll never go wrong.
What was the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced?
This is an easy question if you’re prepared. Have a
recent example ready that demonstrates either:
A quality most important to the job at hand; or
A quality that is always in demand, such as leadership,
initiative, managerial skill, persuasiveness, courage,
persistence, intelligence, etc.
Have you consider starting your own business?
Again it’s best to:
Gauge this company’s corporate culture before answering
Be honest (which doesn’t mean you have to vividly share
your fantasy of the franchise or bed-and-breakfast you
someday plan to open).
In general, if the corporate culture is that of a large,
formal, military-style structure, minimize any
indication that you’d love to have your own business.
You might say, “Oh, I may have given it a thought once
or twice, but my whole career has been in larger
organizations. That’s where I have excelled and where I
want to be.”
If the corporate culture is closer to the free-wheeling,
everybody’s-a-deal-maker variety, then emphasize that in
a firm like this, you can virtually get the best of all
worlds, the excitement of seeing your own ideas and
plans take shape…combined with the resources and
stability of a well-established organization. Sounds
like the perfect environment to you.
In any case, no matter what the corporate culture, be
sure to indicate that any desires about running your own
show are part of your past, not your present or future.
The last thing you want to project is an image of either
a dreamer who failed and is now settling for the
corporate cocoon…or the restless maverick who will fly
out the door with key accounts, contacts and trade
secrets under his arms just as soon as his bankroll has
Always remember: Match what you want with what the
position offers. The more information you’ve uncovered
about the position, the more believable you can make
What are your goals?
Many executives in a position to hire you are strong
believers in goal-setting. (It’s one of the reason
they’ve achieved so much). They like to hire in kind.
If you’re vague about your career and personal goals, it
could be a big turnoff to may people you will encounter
in your job search.
Be ready to discuss your goals for each major area of
your life: career, personal development and learning,
family, physical (health), community service and (if
your interviewer is clearly a religious person) you
could briefly and generally allude to your spiritual
goals (showing you are a well-rounded individual with
your values in the right order).
Be prepared to describe each goal in terms of specific
milestones you wish to accomplish along the way, time
periods you’re allotting for accomplishment, why the
goal is important to you, and the specific steps you’re
taking to bring it about. But do this concisely, as you
never want to talk more than two minutes straight before
letting your interviewer back into the conversation.
What do you for when you hire people?
Speak your own thoughts here, but for the best answer
weave them around the three most important
qualifications for any position.
Can the person do the work (qualifications)?
Will the person do the work (motivation)?
Will the person fit in (“our kind of team player”)?
Sell me this stapler…(this pencil…this clock…or
some other object on interviewer’s desk).
Of course, you already know the most important secret of
all great salesmanship – “find out what people want,
then show them how to get it.”
If your interviewer picks up his stapler and asks, “sell
this to me,” you are going to demonstrate this proven
master principle. Here’s how:
“Well, a good salesman must know both his product and
his prospect before he sells anything. If I were selling
this, I’d first get to know everything I could about it,
all its features and benefits.”
“Then, if my goal were to sell it you, I would do some
research on how you might use a fine stapler like this.
The best way to do that is by asking some questions. May
I ask you a few questions?”
Then ask a few questions such as, “Just out of
curiosity, if you didn’t already have a stapler like
this, why would you want one? And in addition to that?
Any other reason? Anything else?”
“And would you want such a stapler to be
reliable?...Hold a good supply of staples?” (Ask more
questions that point to the features this stapler has.)
Once you’ve asked these questions, make your
presentation citing all the features and benefits of
this stapler and why it’s exactly what the interviewer
just told you he’s looking for.
Then close with, “Just out of curiosity, what would you
consider a reasonable price for a quality stapler like
this…a stapler you could have right now and would (then
repeat all the problems the stapler would solve for
him)? Whatever he says, (unless it’s zero), say, “Okay,
we’ve got a deal.”
NOTE: If your interviewer tests you by fighting every
step of the way, denying that he even wants such an
item, don’t fight him. Take the product away from him by
saying, “Mr. Prospect, I’m delighted you’ve told me
right upfront that there’s no way you’d ever want this
stapler. As you well know, the first rule of the most
productive salespeople in any field is to meet the needs
of people who really need and want our products, and it
just wastes everyone’s time if we try to force it on
those who don’t. And I certainly wouldn’t want to waste
your time. But we sell many items. Is there any product
on this desk you would very much like to own…just one
item?” When he points something out, repeat the process
above. If he knows anything about selling, he may give
you a standing ovation.