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Interview Techniques - Article 4 of 4 - "Ways Candidates Strike Out on Interviews, Get Hired for The Job You Want and Good Questions to Ask"


These are 34 ways candidates strike out on interviews:

  1. Poor personal appearance.
  2. Lack of interest and enthusiasm. (Passive and indifferent)
  3. Over emphasis on money. (Interested only in the best offer)
  4. Condemnation of past employers.
  5. Failure to look at interviewer when conversing.
  6. Limp, fishy handshake.
  7. Unwillingness to go where sent.
  8. Late for interview.
  9. Failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time.
  10. Ask no questions about position.
  11. Vague responses to questions.
  12. Over-aggressive, conceited with superiority complex.
  13. Inability to express self clearly. (Poor voice, diction)
  14. Lack of planning for career. (No purpose or goals)
  15. Lack of confidence and poise. (Ill at ease, nervous)
  16. Failure to participate in activities.
  17. Unwilling to start at the bottom, expects too much…to soon.
  18. Makes excuses; evasive; hedges on unfavorable factors.
  19. Lack of tact.
  20. Lack of courtesy, ill-mannered.
  21. Lack of maturity.
  22. Lack of vitality.
  23. Indecision.
  24. Sloppy application blank.
  25. Merely shopping around.
  26. Wants job only for short time.
  27. No interest in company.
  28. Cynical.
  29. Low moral standards.
  30. Lazy
  31. Intolerant. (Strong prejudices)
  32. Narrow interest.
  33. Inability to take criticism.
  34. High pressure type.

Now take the negatives above and learn from them so that you can get hired for the job. Below are some questions you make be asked.

  1. What are your short-range objectives? Long-range?
  2. What do you look for in a job?
  3. Why are you leaving? Why did the business fail?
  4. What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?
  5. Can you work under pressure, deadlines, etc.?
  6. Do you prefer staff or line work? Why?
  7. What is your philosophy of management?
  8. What kind of salary are you worth? Why?
  9. What are the five biggest accomplishments in your present or last job? Your career?
  10. Why didn’t you do better in college?
  11. What business and character references can you give us?
  12. How long would it take to make a contribution to our firm?
  13. How long would you stay with us?
  14. If you could start again, what would you do differently?
  15. How do you rate yourself as a professional? As an executive?
  16. What new goals or objectives have you established recently? Why?
  17. How have you changed the nature of your job?
  18. What do you think of your boss?
  19. Why haven’t you obtained a job so far?
  20. What features of your previous jobs have you disliked?
  21. Would you describe a few situations in which your work was criticized?
  22. How would you evaluate your present firm?
  23. Do you generally speak to people before they speak to you?
  24. What was the last book you read? Movie you saw? Sporting event you attended?
  25. Are you a leader or a follower? A good manager? Analytical? Give an example we can verify.
  26. What company or boss did you like the best?
  27. What are some of your interests outside of work?
  28. How would you describe the essence of success?
  29. What interests you most about the position we have? The least?
  30. Don’t you feel you might be better off with a different size firm than ours?
  31. Why aren’t you earning more by now?
  32. Will you be able to take your boss’ job?
  33. How would you describe your own personality?
  34. Why should we hire you?
  35. Have you helped increase sales? Profits? Reduce costs?
  36. What do your subordinates think of you?
  37. Have you hired people before? What do you look for? Have you fired people before?

Here are some good questions to ask during an interview.

About the company

  1. Who are your main competitors? “I saw in your web site that ….”
  2. How do you distinguish yourself from competitors?
  3. How would you describe your company culture, philosophies?
  4. What are some changes currently going on in the firm?
    • within the department
    • sales, marketing
    • external factors

About the Position

  1. Describe the job cycles - weekly, quarterly, annually.
  2. In what areas of the job could I really make an impact? How?
  3. Describe your expectations of the right person in this job technically? Personally?
  4. How could someone exceed them?
  5. Has anyone who worked for you really been a super star? Why?
  6. Has anyone who worked for you really failed? Why?
  7. If hired today, what would be my most pressing tasks to accomplish?
  8. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of the job?
  9. What do you find to be the most mundane aspect of the job?
  10. Expectations - first 6-9 months? 2 years?

About the Interviewer or Group

  1. Do you mind if I ask your background?
  2. How long have you been with the company?
  3. Any other areas besides this one?
  4. What do you consider your major achievements here?
  5. What do you like most about the company? Least?
  6. What are your “secrets” about how to do well here?
  7. Background of others in the group.

*In addition to the below: read the Wall Street Journal and/or The New York Times for a few days prior to the interview and bring up something business topical or about the company if available.

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