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Common Interview Questions.
What does the interviewer really want to know.

Exploring Interview Question Styles:

The interview is to designed to "tell the employer what you are about," what makes you "tick." Behind every question asked is one other. Why should I hire you? The interviewer wants to determine real attitudes and how those fit in with the rest of the staff. Keep in mind, when you arrive the managers already know whom they want to hire. You have to demonstrate that you are the person who has the skills, personality and experience on the interviewers checklist.

The interviewer also knows you have probably books and articles on interviewing so they continually try to alter the style so you can't use your pat, rehearsed answers.

The open question.

Tell me about... How do you feel about...

Designed to get you talking to reveal how you think, your organization and coherence.

The show me question.

Give me an example of...; How did that...; How did you...

Designed to assess how your real personality and reaction style; the interviewer moves from general to incident specific situations on the theory it is more difficult to fudge an answer.

The Leader Question

So, you think xyz....; I take it you agree that ...

Designed to see if you will agree with the interviewer's position (which may not be the position at all). The interview will expect the right candidate to show reasons behind their agreement or disagreement with the leader question.

The Mirror Question

So, you think xyz...explain that to me; Based on your opinion (idea)...how would you go about doing that?

Designed to explore the depth of knowledge and to ferret unsupported statements made during the interview.

The Stress Question

It appears you copied...; You don't seem to have much knowledge about....; Seems like poor management of your xyz project (account).

Designed to put you in a negative, argumentative or challenging or situation to see how you handle confrontational stress.

The Transition Question

Why did you switch careers, schools. Why did you move.

Designed to find the "real you," these are probe questions about life transitions and major events of your life.

And Now--The Questions

Tell me about yourself... your background... your interests in life in the past as well as now.

What do you do for recreation and entertainment off the job? What kind of books and magazines do you read?

What was the thing you liked best (or least) about your last job?

Think of something you have accomplished in your life that you are especially proud of.... what was it and how did you go about accomplishing that thing?

Does it bother you to make a mistake? How do you feel about mistakes? What is your feeling when others make a mistake? How about when others make a lot of mistakes?

What do you know about this company and this job that interests you?

What is it about yourself that makes you believe you could do a good and effective job in the position we are discussing.

Why did you leave your last two jobs? What would your immediate supervisor say about you and your work at those two companies? (You may already know what the supervisors said, but if you don't, find out and compare the answers.)

Are you currently involved in club or community activities? Please tell me about them.

Too much or too little might be a flag to the interview who is trying to discover what motivates you to do things you don't HAVE to do.

If you were to leave your present job, how long would it take to replace you? Why?

The interview is trying to determine if you are a loner or a delegator and whether you have built a support network. The right or wrong answer depends on the position. i.e. A loner might be preferable for a job requiring a self-disciplined individual working in an isolated environment.

What is the single hardest job you've ever had to do? How did you do it?

If you are working with another employee and you are doing the bulk of the work and they are "goofing-off" but still getting half the credit, how would you handle it? What would you do about it?

How do you handle criticism?

Be prepared for probing of your reply. A good interviewer probably won't settle for the short, quick answer.

How do you feel about emotional outbursts on the job? When others do it, do you feel sympathy, anger, or ignore it?

What questions do you have about this company, the job in particular, company policies, benefits, and opportunities?

Questions should explore advancement policies, latitude to try new things and ideas, freedom to grow rather than questions about retirement, holiday policies, sick leave, insurance and other pure benefit programs.

What do you like best and least about where you live now? What do you think you will like best and least about moving to _______?

If you don't get this job, how will you feel?

What else can you tell me that would further your chances in getting hired for this position with this company?

An end of the interview catch-all, probing for personal qualities and attitude.

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