10. Describe your ideal company, location and job.

TRAPS:

This is often asked by an experienced interviewer who thinks you may be overqualified, but knows better than to show his hand by posing his objection directly. So he’ll use this question instead, which often gets a candidate to reveal that, indeed, he or she is looking for something other than the position at hand.

BEST ANSWER:

The only right answer is to describe what this company is offering, being sure to make your answer believable with specific reasons, stated with sincerity, why each quality represented by this opportunity is attractive to you.

Remember that if you’re coming from a company that’s the leader in its field or from a glamorous or much admired company, industry, city or position, your interviewer and his company may well have an “Avis” complex. That is, they may feel a bit defensive about being “second best” to the place you’re coming from, worried that you may consider them bush league.

This anxiety could well be there even though you’ve done nothing to inspire it. You must go out of your way to assuage such anxiety, even if it’s not expressed, by putting their virtues high on the list of exactly what you’re looking for, providing credible reason for wanting these qualities.

If you do not express genuine enthusiasm for the firm, its culture, location, industry, etc., you may fail to answer this “Avis” complex objection and, as a result, leave the interviewer suspecting that a hot shot like you, coming from a Fortune 500 company in New York, just wouldn’t be happy at an unknown manufacturer based in Topeka, Kansas.

11. Why do you want to work at our company?

TRAPS:

This question tests whether you’ve done any homework about the firm. If you haven’t, you lose. If you have, you win big.

BEST ANSWER:

This question is your opportunity to hit the ball out of the park, thanks to the in-depth research you should do before any interview.

Best sources for researching your target company: annual reports, the corporate newsletter, contacts you know at the company or its suppliers, advertisements, articles about the company in the trade press.

12. What are your career options right now?

TRAPS:

The interviewer is trying to find out, “How desperate are you?”

BEST ANSWER:

Prepare for this question by thinking of how you can position yourself as a desired commodity. If you are still working, describe the possibilities at your present firm and why, though you’re greatly appreciated there, you’re looking for something more (challenge, money, responsibility, etc.). Also mention that you’re seriously exploring opportunities with one or two other firms.

If you’re not working, you can talk about other employment possibilities you’re actually exploring. But do this with a light touch, speaking only in general terms. You don’t want to seem manipulative or coy.

13. Why have you been out of work so long?

TRAPS:

A tough question if you’ve been on the beach a long time. You don’t want to seem like damaged goods.

BEST ANSWER:

You want to emphasize factors which have prolonged your job search by your own choice.

Example: “After my job was terminated, I made a conscious decision not to jump on the first opportunities to come along. In my life, I’ve found out that you can always turn a negative into a positive IF you try hard enough. This is what I determined to do. I decided to take whatever time I needed to think through what I do best, what I most want to do, where I’d like to do it…and then identify those companies that could offer such an opportunity.”

“Also, in all honesty, you have to factor in the recession (consolidation, stabilization, etc.) in the (banking, financial services, manufacturing, advertising, etc.) industry.”

“So between my being selective and the companies in our industry downsizing, the process has taken time. But in the end, I’m convinced that when I do find the right match, all that careful evaluation from both sides of the desk will have been well worthwhile for both the company that hires me and myself.

Advertisements