Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Even old hands get jammed up
Our bud Candice Choi, Associated Press, has written about six common questions that can trip you up.
How would you improve our company or product? First, point of what you like and know about the company. Then if you supply a few ideas, ask if these have been considered—say that you are curious.
Greatest weakness/greatest strength. Own up to a fault—it makes you look honest. Give an example of how this worked out and what you learned.
Why did you leave your last job? If you were downsized, just say it. There is no taboo these days. If you left voluntarily, be specific about why you decided to do it. Don’t badmouth people at the old job—it makes the interviewer wonder what you would say about him or her.
What is the worst boss you had and how did you handle it? Don’t blow up! Tell a story of how you handled an uncomfortable situation professionally. No names.
Describe a life-changing situation and how you grew from it. Don’t pick a conversation-stopper. I have one so gross and life-changing, people freak out. I would never mention it, although it would pop into my mind immediately. Keep it short, don’t ramble.
Why are you the right person for this job. Give specifics—you want more sales, I boosted sales 5% at my last job. Don’t just say you’d be great.
I would add:
You seem pretty overqualfied, are you sure you want this job. Remember—you are not telling them what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. So say, “I am not sure I am overqualfied, but if I am experienced at this, it works in your favor, doesn’t it? To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about managing people in my old job and would welcome a chance to do the work, which is what I do best.”