Tag Archives: Closed-ended question

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…

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15 Power-words to Apply to your Resume

The Power of Yes

Power words to apply to resumes

Below are a few words to get you started that can be used to commence a phrase when describing your achievements in your resume. They are words employers like because they reflect leadership qualities and solutions based initiatives. Try to think of other words that may reflect your personal achievements to use in your resume.

Negotiated

Instrumental Represented

Developed

Initiated

Designed

Achieved

Introduced

Coordinated

Managed

Contributed

Influenced

Successfully Ensured

Coordinated

 Power phrases to apply to your resume

Below are some phrases I have used in my resume that can be applied to your own resume to reflect key achievements. Achievements are important because they reflect what you are capable of professionally and they also demonstrate your potential. Achievements need to be true and credible, so don’t just use everyday achievements. Focus on milestones, projects and your own key initiatives that have brought about a benefit or change to the company. Power phrases can be used to describe achievements where you have:

  1. Reduced costs of a specific process
  2. Completed a major project on time
  3. Lead a team of others in achieving a major goal
  4. Introduced a personal initiative or implemented an idea. 

Below are some examples of power phrases I have used to demonstrate my achievements:

  • Managed business downsizing and redundancy program eventually leading to business closure for a large automotive components manufacturer and successfully negotiated redundancy conditions with the union.
  • Formulated and implemented comprehensive strategic competency based training model for a division of a large blue chip Australian company.
  • Managed a department of up to five diverse human resource professionals and several key contract and facilities providers.
  • Contributed to financial year budget cost-down process by reducing the HR budget by 10%.
  • Lodged successful tenders for $50,000 in training funding to deliver a broad range of industry specific competency based programs at the workplace.
  • Achieved approximately $200,000 productivity savings by negotiating and implementing three key productivity items resulting from enterprise bargaining negotiations.

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.