In the first two parts of this series (Part 1 and Part 2), I analyzed the questions from a LinkedIn article on the “Favorite Job Interview Questions” from 13 CEO’s. I used a simple scoring scale, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, and the “total score” was -3. There’s a very simple premise. You’ll be asked bad questions. But you don’t have to give bad answers. Here are some specific suggestions on how the first six of the 13 questions, both the good and the bad, can be answered. The final part of this series will address the last seven questions.
While one answer format won’t apply to all these questions, there is a strong example that will apply to many. It’s been labeled differently by several experts, the two-minute S-A-F-W response, Say a Few Words. A version I like is C-A-R Mini Stories, Challenge, Action, Result. I recommend having multiple C-A-R Mini stories prepared for each position in your work history and for your education. The focus of this preparation is on your “significant accomplishments.” Let’s take another look at the first six of the 13 questions – with possible answers.
1. Why have you had X number of jobs in Y years?
This question doesn’t let you easily use the “significant accomplishment” response because it’s basically an open invitation to review your entire work history. It’s unlikely your interviewer will allow you to do that.
Honesty first, so prepare a summary that answers this. It would be great if you’re answer was “In each case, I was offered an opportunity to accept a more challenging position with greater responsibility, for example, in my current position…”
Or, “there were different reasons. Overall I was accepting positions that offered greater responsibility, but in one case the company was acquired….” You get the idea – it’s called preparation. But it’s also a clear case where you should keep it short.
2. If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great twelve months it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?
This is a good question IF the expectations of the role have been made clear. Then, your response is, “I see us as exceeding the objective (e.g. increasing sales) because in my current position, I worked with the team to (insert specific accomplishment from recent position).
If you haven’t been given a clear expectation of what the expectation, you can ask, or you might respond with, “I see myself clearly performing the basic functions of a (position) and working closely with the team to exceed the specific objectives you set for me.”
3. When have you been most satisfied in your life?
In my current position, I have been most satisfied when I’ve been able to use my strengths to help the organization accomplish (insert organizational objective). An example of this is how I (insert specific accomplishment from recent position). It’s preparation and practice – in this case, it will also be very advantageous to really know your strengths.
4. If you got hired, loved everything about this job, and are paid the salary you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would you consider?
Exactly like I’m hoping to consider in an offer from you, I would consider a position that offered a challenge, increased responsibility with appropriate compensation and benefits in an organization I would seeing loving as much as this one.
5. Who is your role model and why?
Over the years, I’ve had multiple role models. In my position with…, my manager was clearly a role model because of how clearly he set expectations and provided recognition for the work we did. On a personal level, I’d have to include my parents (if true and you can expand on this if asked) and I’ve read a lot about…
6. What things do you not like to do?
There have been parts of almost every job I’ve had that didn’t focus on my strengths. For example, in my current position, I feel weakened when I’m burdened by preparing reports that seem to be ignored. However, I’ve discovered how to deal with this by working more closely with a colleague who loves preparing reports (or discovering a way to automate parts of the work).
Weaknesses cannot be ignored – don’t ever respond with cliché responses like “sometimes I work too hard.” The key to discussing weaknesses in an interview is to admit one in a situation where you either took positive action to overcome it or learned something from it.
See more on “Bad Interview Questions” at www.212-careers.com
About the author
Jim Schreier is a management consultant with a focus on management, leadership, including performance-based hiring and interviewing skills. Visit his website at www.farcliffs.com.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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