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[size=9]Question 32 Im concerned that you dont have as much experience as wed like in
TRAPS: This could be a make-or-break question. The interviewer mostly likes what he sees, but has doubts over one key area. If you can assure him on this point, the job may be yours.
BEST ANSWER: This question is related to The Fatal Flaw (Question 1, but here the concern is not that you are totally missing some qualifications, such as CPA certification, but rather that your experience is light in one area.
Before going into any interview, try to identify the weakest aspects of your candidacy from this companys point of view. Then prepare the best answer you possible can to shore up your defenses.
To get past this question with flying colors, you are going to rely on your master strategy of uncovering the employers greatest wants and needs and then matching them with your strengths. Since you already know how to do this from Question 1, you are in a much stronger position.
More specifically, when the interviewer poses as objection like this, you should
1. Agree on the importance of this qualification.
2. Explain that your strength may be indeed be greater than your resume indicates because
3. When this strength is added to your other strengths, its really your combination of qualifications thats most important.
Then review the areas of your greatest strengths that match up most favorably with the companys most urgently-felt wants and needs.
This is powerful way to handle this question for two reasons. First, youre giving your interviewer more ammunition in the area of his concern. But more importantly, youre shifting his focus away from this one, isolated area and putting it on the unique combination of strengths you offer, strengths which tie in perfectly with his greatest wants.
Question 33 How do you feel about working nights and weekends?
TRAPS: Blurt out no way, Jose and you can kiss the job offer goodbye. But what if you have a family and want to work a reasonably normal schedule? Is there a way to get both the job and the schedule you want?
BEST ANSWER: First, if youre a confirmed workaholic, this question is a softball lob. Whack it out of the park on the first swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your style. Add that your family understands it. Indeed, theyre happy for you, as they know you get your greatest satisfaction from your work.
If however, you prefer a more balanced lifestyle, answer this question with another: Whats the norm for your best people here?
If the hours still sound unrealistic for you, ask, Do you have any top people who perform exceptionally for you, but who also have families and like to get home in time to see them at night? Chances are this company does, and this associates you with this other top-performers-who-leave-not-later-than-six group.
Depending on the answer, be honest about how you would fit into the picture. If all those extra hours make you uncomfortable, say so, but phrase your response positively.
Example: I love my work and do it exceptionally well. I think the results speak for themselves, especially in (mention your two or three qualifications of greater interest to the employer. Remember, this is what he wants most, not a workaholic with weak credentials). Not only would I bring these qualities, but Ive built my whole career on working not just hard, but smart. I think youll find me one of the most productive people here.
I do have a family who likes to see me after work and on weekends. They add balance and richness to my life, which in turn helps me be happy and productive at work. If I could handle some of the extra work at home in the evenings or on weekends, that would be ideal. Youd be getting a person of exceptional productivity who meets your needs with strong credentials. And Id be able to handle some of the heavy workload at home where I can be under the same roof as my family. Everybody would win.
Question 34 Are you willing to relocate or travel?
TRAPS: Answer with a flat no and you may slam the door shut on this opportunity. But what if youd really prefer not to relocate or travel, yet wouldnt want to lose the job offer over it?
BEST ANSWER: First find out where you may have to relocate and how much travel may be involved. Then respond to the question.
If theres no problem, say so enthusiastically.
If you do have a reservation, there are two schools of thought on how to handle it.
One advises you to keep your options open and your reservations to yourself in the early going, by saying, no problem. You strategy here is to get the best offer you can, then make a judgment whether its worth it to you to relocate or travel.
Also, by the time the offer comes through, you may have other offers and can make a more informed decision. Why kill of this opportunity before it has chance to blossom into something really special? And if youre a little more desperate three months from now, you might wish you hadnt slammed the door on relocating or traveling.
The second way to handle this question is to voice a reservation, but assert that youd be open to relocating (or traveling) for the right opportunity.
The answering strategy you choose depends on how eager you are for the job. If you want to take no chances, choose the first approachIf you want to play a little harder-to-get in hopes of generating a more enticing offer, choose the second.
Question 35 Do you have the stomach to fire people? Have you had experience firing many people?
TRAPS: This innocent question could be a trap door which sends you down a chute and lands you in a heap of dust outside the front door. Why? Because its real intent is not just to see if youve got the stomach to fire, but also to uncover poor judgment in hiring which has caused you to fire so many. Also, if you fire so often, you could be a tyrant.
So dont rise to the bait by boasting how many youve fired, unless youve prepared to explain why it was beyond your control, and not the result of your poor hiring procedures or foul temperament.
BEST ANSWER: Describe the rational and sensible management process you follow in both hiring and firing.
Example: My whole management approach is to hire the best people I can find, train them thoroughly and well, get them excited and proud to be part of our team, and then work with them to achieve our goals together. If you do all of that right, especially hiring the right people, Ive found you dont have to fire very often.
So with me, firing is a last resort. But when its got to be done, its got to be done, and the faster and cleaner, the better. A poor employee can wreak terrible damage in undermining the morale of an entire team of good people. When theres no other way, Ive found its better for all concerned to act decisively in getting rid of offenders who wont change their ways.
Question 36 Why have you had so many jobs?
TRAPS: Your interviewer fears you may leave this position quickly, as you have others. Hes concerned you may be unstable, or a problem person who cant get along with others.
BEST ANSWER: First, before you even get to the interview stage, you should try to minimize your image as job hopper. If there are several entries on your resume of less than one year, consider eliminating the less important ones. Perhaps you can specify the time you spent at previous positions in rounded years not in months and years.
Example: Instead of showing three positions this way:
6/1982 3/1983, Position A;
4/1983 12/1983, Position B;
1/1984 8/1987, Position C;
it would be better to show simply:
1982 1983, Position A;
1984 1987 Position C.In other words, you would drop Position B altogether. Notice what a difference this makes in reducing your image as a job hopper.
Once in front of the interviewer and this question comes up, you must try to reassure him. Describe each position as part of an overall pattern of growth and career destination.
Be careful not to blame other people for your frequent changes. But you can and should attribute certain changes to conditions beyond your control.
Example: Thanks to an upcoming merger, you wanted to avoid an ensuing bloodbath, so you made a good, upward career move before your department came under the axe of the new owners.
If possible, also show that your job changes were more frequent in your younger days, while you were establishing yourself, rounding out your skills and looking for the right career path. At this stage in your career, youre certainly much more interested in the best long-term opportunity.
You might also cite the job(s) where you stayed the longest and describe that this type of situation is what youre looking for now.
Question 37 What do you see as the proper role/mission of
a good (job title youre seeking);
a good manager;
an executive in serving the community;
a leading company in our industry; etc.
TRAPS: These and other proper role questions are designed to test your understanding of your place in the bigger picture of your department, company, community and well as the proper role each of these entities should play in its bigger picture.
The question is most frequently asked by the most thoughtful individuals and companiesor by those concerned that youre coming from a place with a radically different corporate culture (such as from a big government bureaucracy to an aggressive small company).
The most frequent mistake executives make in answering is simply not being prepared (seeming as if theyve never giving any of this a though.)or in phrasing an answer best suited to their prior organizations culture instead of the hiring companys.
BEST ANSWER: Think of the most essential ingredients of success for each category above your job title, your role as manager, your firms role, etc.
Identify at least three but no more than six qualities you feel are most important to success in each role. Then commit your response to memory.
Here, again, the more information youve already drawn out about the greatest wants and needs of the interviewer, and the more homework youve done to identify the culture of the firm, the more on-target your answer will be.
Question 38 What would you say to your boss if hes crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks?
TRAPS: This is another question that pits two values, in this case loyalty and honesty, against one another.
BEST ANSWER: Remember the rule stated earlier: In any conflict between values, always choose integrity.
Example: I believe that when evaluating anything, its important to emphasize the positive. What do I like about this idea?
Then, if you have reservations, I certainly want to point them out, as specifically, objectively and factually as I can.
After all, the most important thing I owe my boss is honesty. If he cant count on me for that, then everything else I may do or say could be questionable in his eyes.
But I also want to express my thoughts in a constructive way. So my goal in this case would be to see if my boss and I could make his idea even stronger and more appealing, so that it effectively overcomes any initial reservation I or others may have about it.
Of course, if he overrules me and says, no, lets do it my way, then I owe him my full and enthusiastic support to make it work as best it can.
Question 39 How could you have improved your career progress?
TRAPS: This is another variation on the question, If you could, how would you live your life over? Remember, youre not going to fall for any such invitations to rewrite person history. You cant win if you do.
BEST ANSWER: Youre generally quite happy with your career progress. Maybe, if you had known something earlier in life (impossible to know at the time, such as the booming growth in a branch in your industryor the corporate downsizing that would phase out your last job), you might have moved in a certain direction sooner.
But all things considered, you take responsibility for where you are, how youve gotten there, where you are goingand you harbor no regrets.
Question 40 What would you do if a fellow executive on your own corporate level wasnt pulling his/her weightand this was hurting your department?