Tag Archives: Behavior

10 killer job interview questions that will knock you out!

It’s unfair to provide you with an encyclopedia of interview questions and expect you to become proficient in their use without overloading you with information. This is not productive, particularly when our objective is to get you to adapt to interviewers and a range of interview questions.

It’s unlikely that memorising answers to 100 interview questions will get you through the interview process. At interviews, you must be able to think clearly and adapt and modify your responses quickly rather than respond verbatim.

The following sample questions will assist you in answering a range of generic interview questions that are not necessarily behaviour based. This list is not meant to be exhaustive and it is likely you will encounter questions not mentioned in this book. The point is that authors of books that detail every question conceivable are doing you a disservice. I am more concerned about your ability to think on your feet, to expect the unexpected, and then to be able to answer that question to the best of your ability.

I know this is easier said than done because it requires composure, confidence, a rational thought process and experience of interviews. However, this can be managed with practice and interview experience. Seek to attend as many interviews as possible to practice your responses and to learn from them each time. You will find that you will grow in confidence with each occasion and become more adaptable at interviews. Practice with friends and family if possible.

Here are 10 killer questions to get you started;

1. What have you been criticised for in the past four years?
Reply: Provide an answer that is not so serious or trivial that it will disqualify you.
‘I offered some ideas I thought were constructive but was told not to rock the boat.’

2. Did you agree or disagree with the criticism and why?
Reply: ‘Agreeing with some of the criticism is a better response than agreeing with none of it at all.’

3. Where would you like to be in five years?
Reply: ‘I’d like to be in your job.’

4. How do you expect to get there?
Reply: Be clear and specific as to how you will meet the requirements and responsibilities to your career plan. Avoid common answers like ‘hard work’ and ‘attending courses’.

5. What would you like to change in this job to make it ideal?
Reply: ‘I don’t think it should be changed, I do think it has to be mastered and that is a challenging and exciting opportunity.’

6. How would you describe the most or least ideal boss you worked for?
Reply: ‘I can adapt to any style, particularly to someone who can give me enough directions, so I have a specific idea of what’s expected from me and then enough restraint not to hover over me every step of the way.’

7. What activities in your position do you enjoy most?
Reply: This question is designed to reveal your dislikes. The interviewer will make reference to the opposite of your answer when describing the activities you enjoy most. The best way to answer this question is think about how the activities you enjoy most can reveal your dislikes. You can do this by simply applying the opposite to your answer. For example, the opposite of ‘being part of a team’ is ‘bad morale’.

8. How would you describe yourself in three adjectives?
Reply: Combine your answer to convey strengths in both ability and personality such as: determined, likable, and successful.

9. How would your subordinates and peers describe you with three adjectives?
Reply: Answer with the same as for question 8 and smile.

10. What would you do if you detected a peer falsifying expense records?
Reply: ‘Report it’.

In my next article I will unleash the next 10 killer questions that will knock you out for six during the interview…


How I found a job using my own networking principles

Employment Exhibition

Employment Exhibition (Photo credit: Modern_Language_Center)

This is a story I like to tell everyone about how the author of the book, How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks, was once out of work and had to find a job very quickly. It’s a personal account about what I learned through the process and some of the simple techniques I applied to get me back on my feet.

It all happened very quickly. At one point I am recruiting staff for the company, and before you know it, I am looking for a job myself. Within the space of 30 minutes I had gone from recruiting to looking for work. That was an incredible change in circumstances for a human resources professional. I was advised without notice that the company no longer needed someone of my abilities and that my position was being made redundant.

I had a family to support, mortgage and I was the sole income earner. To make matters worse I only had 2 months pay before I ran out of money. How is that for pressure! So what do you do? I had to change from employed into job search mode fairly quickly and my whole life changed in an instant. Here is a list of the first 4 techniques I employed within 48 hours to commence and kick-start my job search.

  1. Inform your professional contacts
    I wrote a list of names of all my professional contacts and I rang them one by one to inform them I was in job search mode. I was surprised how they wanted to help me and  I was provided with assurances that if they heard of anything through their own network they would advise me. Their is no shame in doing this because I discovered that some of my colleagues had been in a similar situation before and were understanding.
  2. Inform employment agencies of your availability
    Advise employment agencies that specialise in your profession of your availability. Write a list of all the employment agencies that are relevant to your profession and contact them. Don’t wait for the job adds to appear in the press to apply for a job because employment agencies  sometimes conduct discreet searches and do not want to advertise the vacancy. I was treated very well by employment agencies, obviously because I was marketable, and they did follow up my inquiry when the right job was on offer.
  3. Inform you non-professional contacts
    In this case I am referring to those professional people you have good relationships with but are not related to your profession such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, councilors etc….I found a short term assignment contracting in human resources through my solicitor. He referred me to a company that was looking for some assistance in this area and this kept me going for a month and helped relieve the pressure.
  4. Register for unemployment benefits
    When people leave their jobs they do so under various circumstances. Whether employment benefits will apply to you will depend on your financial situation and your reasons for leaving work. For example, there is a test to determine if you partner is employed and earning income, whether you have liquid assets, a second property and other non-liquid assets. As embarrassing as it may seem, it is important to find out quickly and register for government unemployment benefits. It is only a short and interim assistance package that may help relieve your financial burden whilst looking for work. The worst thing that can happen is that your are not entitled to benefits for the first 12 weeks before your application is re-assessed.


Just for the record, I found a job in 6 weeks by way of a referral from a professional colleague. The employment consultant had a good relationship with my colleague and had respect for his referral. He said to me that if I was good enough for my colleague then I was good enough for him and he referred me for interview with the General Manager of the company. I had my nose ahead right from the beginning and the rest was history. I got the job I wanted and my networking principles paid off!

10 Key Tips on Answering Behavioral Type Questions

If I was to explain to you the best way of answering behavioral type interview questions I would sum it up in a couple of words, “telling a story”. It’s about telling someone, you have just met for the first time, a little story about something special in your life that happened not long ago. Usually this story is about an  experience at work that you felt was special or a unique representation of  your abilities. Think about this for a minute and you will realise that we do this all the time over lunch,  dinner and at special occasions when we meet our friends and new people. If you want to be good at behavioral interviews then start by being yourself and pretend you are telling a good story to a friend. You will see that the pressure normally associated with such interviews will no longer hinder your performance overall and will offer you the ability to have a better dialogue with the interviewer. Here are 14 key tips on answering behavioral type interviews you should consider:

  1. Refer to an achievement in your resume when answering behavioral type questions
  2. If your response refers to a major project you were part of, break it down into smaller phases in a clear and concise manner when responding
  3. Be specific about your role in each situation
  4. Don’t talk just to fill up dead air…take a minute to collect your thoughts and organise your answer before replying
  5. Use statistics or other measures in your response to back up the information you have provided
  6. Always turn a negative situation into a positive
  7. Always reflect on your ability to work as part of a team and to look for solutions to problems
  8. Show examples where you have done more than expected
  9. Prepare your responses to common behavioral questions before attending the interview
  10. Explain what you learned from each experience.

Remember, that you are telling a short story of a specific situation from the beginning to the end, and it is not uncommon for a good answer to take up to 5-10 minutes. Ask the interviewer if he/she would like more detail.