23. Could you have done better in your last job?

TRAPS:

This is no time for true confessions of major or even minor problems.

BEST ANSWER:

Again never be negative.

Example: “I suppose with the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do better, of course, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything of major consequence.”

(If more explanation seems necessary)
Describer a situation that didn’t suffer because of you but from external conditions beyond your control.

For example, describe the disappointment you felt with a test campaign, new product launch, merger, etc., which looked promising at first, but led to underwhelming results. “I wish we could have known at the start what we later found out (about the economy turning, the marketplace changing, etc.), but since we couldn’t, we just had to go for it. And we did learn from it…”

24. Can you work under pressure?

TRAPS:

An easy question, but you want to make your answer believable.

BEST ANSWER:

Absolutely…(then prove it with a vivid example or two of a goal or project accomplished under severe pressure.)

25. What makes you angry?

TRAPS:

You don’t want to come across either as a hothead or a wimp.

BEST ANSWER:

Give an answer that’s suited to both your personality and the management style of the firm. Here, the homework you’ve done about the company and its style can help in your choice of words.

Examples: If you are a reserved person and/or the corporate culture is coolly professional:

“I’m an even-tempered and positive person by nature, and I believe this helps me a great deal in keeping my department running smoothly, harmoniously and with a genuine esprit de corps. I believe in communicating clearly what’s expected, getting people’s commitment to those goals, and then following up continuously to check progress.”

“If anyone or anything is going off track, I want to know about it early. If, after that kind of open communication and follow up, someone isn’t getting the job done, I’ll want to know why. If there’s no good reason, then I’ll get impatient and angry…and take appropriate steps from there. But if you hire good people, motivate them to strive for excellence and then follow up constantly, it almost never gets to that state.”

If you are feisty by nature and/or the position calls for a tough straw boss.

“You know what makes me angry? People who (the fill in the blanks with the most objectionable traits for this type of position)…people who don’t pull their own weight, who are negative, people who lie…etc.”

26. Why aren’t you earning more money at this stage of your career?

TRAPS:

You don’t want to give the impression that money is not important to you, yet you want to explain why your salary may be a little below industry standards.

BEST ANSWER:

You like to make money, but other factors are even more important.

Example: “Making money is very important to me, and one reason I’m here is because I’m looking to make more. Throughout my career, what’s been even more important to me is doing work I really like to do at the kind of company I like and respect.

(Then be prepared to be specific about what your ideal position and company would be like, matching them as closely as possible to the opportunity at hand.

27. Who has inspired you in your life and why?

TRAPS:

The two traps here are unpreparedness and irrelevance. If you grope for an answer, it seems you’ve never been inspired. If you ramble about your high school basketball coach, you’ve wasted an opportunity to present qualities of great value to the company.

BEST ANSWER:

Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of Directors” – Leaders in your industry, from history or anyone else who has been your mentor.

Be prepared to give examples of how their words, actions or teachings have helped inspire your achievements. As always, prepare an answer which highlights qualities that would be highly valuable in the position you are seeking.

28. What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?

TRAPS:

Giving an unprepared or irrelevant answer.

BEST ANSWER:

Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the decision was difficult…the process you followed in reaching it…the courageous or effective way you carried it out…and the beneficial results

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