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INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION

1. “ Did you have any problems getting here this morning?”

  • Select the best answer.

(A) No. I used Google maps. No problem.

(B) I did take a couple of wrong turns and the traffic was pretty bad, but I had planned ahead and allowed extra time so I was ok. This is really a nice facility in a good location.

(C) I am one of those people that leaves nothing to chance. I mapped out my route last night and then listened to the radio in the car to keep abreast of traffic. I actually had time to grab a quick cup of coffee.

ANSWERS

  • The Strongest Answer

(C) This is the strongest answer because it shows planning and forethought. Employers seek candidates who are resourceful and think ahead. Another important key factor is adaptability. This answer shows that if necessary an alternative route would have been taken depending on traffic. Obviously, if you are not a planner this answer wouldn’t work for you – but get the idea of talking a bit more about your decision making process.

(B) This is an ok answer but does not show the skills that the© answer shows. We are always leaking information about ourselves and whether we are observant. If appropriate it is nice to give a compliment about an office or location or building. Flattery and compliments can go a long way.

(A) This is a very weak answer. It just gives the “facts.” While it speaks to new technology, and that’s good – it is a flat answer. The idea of the interview is to engage with the interviewer and make a connection. It is often difficult for new grads and students to make “small talk” with strangers. It would be a good idea to practice making small talk with other people that you are comfortable talking with. Staying current and reading up on news events, trends and fads are a good sources to help you talk to almost anyone once you find a common interest.

INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION

2. “Tell Me About Yourself .”

  • Select the strongest answer.

(A) To begin, I am in the process of finishing up my BA in Finance – which I will complete in December. I have worked with computers since I was young and am able to take a problem and work through a solution using a combination of technology and analytical thinking. I have a high work ethic and you could even call me “hungry” when it comes to work. I will do whatever it takes to get the job done – including staying up until 5 and 6am.

(B) Overall, I think I am very well-rounded. I have many interests including music, film, sports, current events, and politics. I have played sports in high school and college and consider myself to be a team player. I think something that makes me unique from other candidates is that I am very entrepreneurial. I’ve been investing in the stock market since I was 15 and have started my own businesses in high school.

(C) I graduated last year with a degree in science. I have maintained a 4.0 in my major and have been on the Dean’s List First Honors three times. I know several computer programs and languages including SQL, Java, and Visual Basic, I have worked part-time while going to school as a
tutor to students during the school year. Some of my projects while in college were computing analytical and conceptual problems using Excel and forecasting data with SPSS for Applied Statistical Methods.

ANSWERS

  • The Strongest Answer

(A) This answer is the strongest of the three. It answers the question “Tell me about yourself” and offers a broad picture of you as a person. It includes skills and traits and hopefully entices the interviewer to want to know more. It is a good point to talk about your work ethic and your attitude toward hard work.

  • The Mediocre Answer

(C) This answer offers a great deal of information about you and your education but is basically the answer to the question: “Walk me through your resume.” You may be asked that question in an interview, but it is not the same answer you would provide if asked: “Tell me about yourself.” This
answer focuses primarily on your knowledge-based skills with very little information about your traits or personal qualities. The strongest answer offers a more comprehensive picture of who you are as a person as well as a student.

  • The Weakest Answer

(B) For the most part this answer is very general which makes it a weak answer. Failing to give specifics you are betting on the fact that your resume was not only read – but studied. Often times an interviewer will skim the resume, so it is a good idea to offer some background information. There are some interesting facts in this answer but it needs more structure and detail.

INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION

3. “Why do you want to work for this company?”

  • Select the strongest answer.

(A) I am very anxious to start my career. I know that your company is among the best in the industry and I think it would be a good start for my career – to work for the best. I want to work for a company that has a good reputation and good benefits. I also know that your company’s compensation is fair, and in fact generous. I know this is a place where I can grow and develop as a stepping-stone to starting my career.

(B) When I started my education I was very thorough in researching the field that I wanted to work in and found your company and two others who were leaders in the industry. At that time I started to follow the stocks, profits and growth of the companies. Your company has been the frontrunner consistently. I have also done research on your founders and the company mission statement and philosophy and I like what I see. This is the company I want to work for long term to build a solid foundation in this industry.

(C) I have been applying to the companies who have come on campus to interview. I think this is a great opportunity to find out about these companies and whether I would want to work there. I know your company is the first choice of many students and I like that. I am looking for a company where I can grow and develop and utilize my education and skills.

ANSWERS

  • The Strongest Answer

(B) This is the strongest answer because it shows that there is a history of interest in the company as well as extensive knowledge of the company’s success and growth. Companies, interviewers and hiring managers have “egos.” They are looking for “passion” and enthusiasm from candidates who want to work at their company. It is very flattering to all concerned if you have done your research and want to work at their company.

  • The Mediocre Answer

(A) This answer is more about you and what you will get out of the company than it is about wanting to work there. It is fine to want things from a company but in the answer to this question, the interviewer is more likely to want to know why you chose to interview there and what you expect. Is there a real interest or is it a means to an end?

  • The Weakest Answer

(C) This answer is very insincere about the reason you want to work there. It sounds like you are going for the “popular” company rather than wanting to work there because of the mission statement or values of the company. It also doesn’t sound like you did any research other than talk to your fellow students.

INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION

4. What strength can you bring to this job?

  • Select the strongest answer.

(A) My strength is my ability to deal with people. This has a lot to do with the fact that I am a good listener and that I am good at reading people. I have worked since I’ve been 14 years old and I have worked with a huge diversity of people and always been able to adapt and get along by adjusting my style and vocabulary to meet the person’s level.

(B) ) I have a very high work ethic and am known for being someone who is always looking for more work to do. I think my coworkers would describe me as a “nice guy” – who has a lot of respect for others. I have a lot of energy and know how to channel that energy to get things done
– on time. I am extremely organized and efficient with time management.

(C) I would say my analytical problem-solving. My engineering education and internships have taught me the problem-solving process of planning, troubleshooting, and researching. I value projects that are done collaboratively which allow me to be involved in far more sophisticated
procedures working with other people and their ideas. I have the ability to get along with almost anyone.

ANSWERS

  • The Strongest Answer

(C) This is the strongest of the three answers because it focuses on “knowledge-based” traits – education and training. These are the traits that will satisfy the requirements of the job. Knowledge-based traits should not be the only skills or traits you let the interviewer know that you can bring to the job – but they are probably the most important to get the job done – depending on the job.

  • The Mediocre Answer

(A) This is not a bad answer but not as strong as©. This answer focuses on your transferable skills that are definitely important. Depending on the job that you are going for they could be the most important skill needed to get the job done. Communication and interpersonal skills are desirable in almost any job. If you combine this answer with (B) you would have a very strong answer that talks about your knowledge-based skills as well as your transferable skills and personal traits.

  • The Weakest Answer

(B) This is the weakest answer because it is not very impressive when it comes to competing with other candidates who will talk about education and communication skills. Being a “nice guy” usually doesn’t impress in the interview. High energy and a good attitude are important but may not be enough to compete with other candidates who have more to offer in the other areas. The answer needs some “muscle” to be the best answer.

INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION

5. “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person.”

  • Select the strongest answer.

(A) When I was a graduate student, I was required to present research to the entire department. The
Department Chair didn’t like my mentor and took every opportunity to criticize my work to get back at
him through my work. I became so frustrated that I finally had to talk straight forward to the
Department Chair letting him know that I was being squeezed in a battle that had nothing to do with
me. I think I surprised him by coming in and confronting him.

(B) One of the players on my rugby team was very outspoken and sometimes picked on other players
who weren’t as strong as he was. I could see that the team was starting to be affected by this bullying. I
decided to do something about it. I approached the bully named Jim and asked him if I could talk to him.
He didn’t want to talk but I convinced him that what I had to say was important. We didn’t really have a
discussion – more like a shouting match, but at the end I think I got my point across. He didn’t stop his
bullying behavior completely after that but he did improve.

(C) While I was in college I worked weekends as a referee for a soccer association, which was not an easy
job. One day in particular, I had a coach who was giving me a bad time and yelling profanities at me
across the field. What I did to control this situation was I walked over to the sideline where the
disruptive coach was. He said how horrible the calls were. I told him he could not be yelling the
obscenities from the sideline and that he must control himself better or I will eject him from the game. I
told him this is your last warning and if I need to speak to you again during this game you will be ejected.
The coach got very quiet. I then said thank you and blew the whistle to restart play and the rest of the
game went without incident.

ANSWERS

  • The Strongest Answer

(C) This is the strongest answer because it is a complete story – a time when you dealt with a difficult
person. The story has a beginning – a setting and your role. The story has an action part – “what I did
was….” The story has an ending – there no more incidents after you spoke with authority.

  • The Mediocre Answer

(B) This is an ok story but doesn’t have the depth that answer© has. What makes a story stronger is to
“show” – not just “tell.” More detail about the “shouting match” and what was said would have given
the interviewer more information as to how you handle yourself in tough situations.

  • The Weakest Answer

(A) This is the weakest answer because it is not set up with a beginning – a middle – and there is no
ending. The answer starts out on the right track but falls apart after that. It is important that you give a
complete story when you answer a behavioral question.

INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION

6. “Tell me about the biggest project that you are involved in – in school, or in your personal life.”

(A) This was a group project that consisted of five people and made up 30% of our final grade for a public speaking class. The group named me the leader of the project and to get going I had the group to pick our topic and come up with a general idea for the presentation. I talked to everyone in the group to find their strengths and weaknesses. According to their different skill sets, I divided up the job assignments. I scheduled weekly meetings and met numerous times with group members to help them with a problem or to critique their work. The result was the group received the highest grade in the class. My professor stated that our group project was one of the best presentations she had seen in her class and that everyone in my group rated my work as “A” material.

(B) This example comes from my personal life as an active leader of a fraternity I belong to. Once a year we have a fundraiser to raise money for children with cancer. It is a long-standing tradition in the house and raises over six figures every year. The challenge this year was the tight economy and the fact that contributions overall were down. We had several meetings to discuss how to overcome this obstacle and decided to do something different in our approach to our usual event. Instead of just having a regular big party we decided that a theme would help make it more fun and festive. We came up with an 80’s theme and everyone was encouraged to dress of that era. It turned out to be a great party and a
huge success. We were able to raise more than 25 percent more money over the two previous years.

(C) I have been involved in a number of projects both in school and in my personal life. In fact, people look to me whenever there is a project to be organized. My cousin asked me to coordinate her wedding last year and that was probably one of the biggest and most challenging projects that I have ever been involved in. I am great with details and use technology to track dates, times, names, and all those details you need to keep straight when you plan an event. One thing I liked about this job when I saw the description was that there is a great deal of planning and organizing.

ANSWERS

  • The Strongest Answer

(A) This is the strongest answer because it is a complete answer to the question. When giving this answer in an interview the story would be longer with more detail about the planning and organizing and how you kept on track with your own work while helping others. There are many skills that can be gleamed from this story – leadership, planning, organizing, assessment of people, ability to adapt and work with a variety of people. When you answer a question the interviewer is hearing more than just what you are saying – they are seeing a pattern of behavior and attitude.

  • The Mediocre Answer

(B) This is a great story – but where are you in the story? When you tell a story that is not about your actions – it is an entertaining story that gives the interviewer no new information about you other then you were part of a group project. In order to make this a stronger story you will need to add a lot more detail about the planning and organizing of the event – but most of all what you did to make the project a success. The interviewer is trying to get a picture of you and what you can do and bring to the job.

  • The Weakest Answer

(C) This is obviously the weakest answer because it doesn’t answer the question or tell a story. If the answer had focused on the planning and organizing of the cousin’s wedding it could have been a strong answer. It isn’t the topic of the story as much as it is the details of what your role was and what you did that makes a story stronger. This answer shows many good traits and skills but does not get specific.