April 2010 Archives


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Fundamental analysis or technical analysis?

I was always thinking about this aspect for long now. Let us try solving this puzzle a bit.
Let us start from the definitions.
fundamental analysis is the study of a company's health and its profitability
Technical analysis is the study of stock price movements and volume trends using charts.
Purchasing a stock is like purchasing a business. That is if you are buying some shares of ACC, it is almost like buying a cement seller's business next door.
How do you arrive at the conclusion wether the price he is asking is justified? ( equate it with current price of ACC)
You will first see how much sales he is doing. Then you will see what are the profit margins. Next you will see wether this business can grow? Then you will check about competition. Next you will see wether a competitor is selling his business at a better value ( Equate it with wether ACC or Grasim?). All these sums up the fundamental analysis of a company or business.
Now you arrive at a conclusion wether or not to buy his business based on the above study.
The other way around is, looking for is his business has more takers or no takers? Wether he may offer the business at a lesser price tomorrow. This equates the technical analysis of a stock.

  1. You should make a very good study of fundamentals
  2. Decide wether or not to buy that stock based on fundamentals
  3. If it is good, use technical analysis to find wether you may get a better opportunity to buy this stock at a lower level
  4. If fundamentals are too good to resist, ignore the technicals and buy the stock when markets are in panic and technicals are showing the downward journey
  • Personal contacts
  • School career planning and placement offices
  • Employers
  • Classified ads
    • National and local newspapers
    • Professional journals
    • Trade magazines
  • Internet networks and resources
  • State employment service offices
  • Federal Government
  • Professional associations
  • Labor unions
  • Private employment agencies and career consultants
  • Community agencies

Learn about: Job Search Methods

What Usually Goes into a Resume

  • Name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number.
  • Employment objective. State the type of work or specific job you are seeking.
  • Education, including school name and address, dates of attendance, curriculum, and highest grade completed or degree awarded. Consider including any courses or areas of focus that might be relevant to the position.
  • Experience, paid and volunteer. For each job, include the job title, name and location of employer, and dates of employment. Briefly describe your job duties.
  • Special skills, computer skills, proficiency in foreign languages, achievements, and membership in organizations.
  • References, only when requested.
  • Keep it short; only one page for less experienced applicants.
  • Avoid long paragraphs; use bullets to highlight key skills and accomplishments.
  • Have a friend review your resume for any spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Print it on high quality paper.

When you fill out an application form, make sure you fill it out completely and follow all instructions. Do not omit any requested information and make sure that the information you provide is correct.

Learn about: Job Interview Tips

Job Interview Tips

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Interviewing. An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer, so it pays to be well prepared. The information in the accompanying box provides some helpful hints.

Job interview tips


  • Learn about the organization.
  • Have a specific job or jobs in mind.
  • Review your qualifications for the job.
  • Prepare answers to broad questions about yourself.
  • Review your resume.
  • Practice an interview with a friend or relative.
  • Arrive before the scheduled time of your interview.

Personal appearance:

  • Be well groomed.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Do not chew gum or smoke.

The interview:

  • Relax and answer each question concisely.
  • Respond promptly.
  • Use good manners.
  • Learn the name of your interviewer and shake hands as you meet.
  • Use proper English—avoid slang.
  • Be cooperative and enthusiastic.
  • Ask questions about the position and the organization.
  • Thank the interviewer when you leave and, as a followup, in writing.

Test (if employer gives one):

  • Listen closely to instructions.
  • Read each question carefully.
  • Write legibly and clearly.
  • Budget your time wisely and don’t dwell on one question.

Information to bring to an interview:

  • Social Security card.
  • Government-issued identification (driver’s license).
  • Resume. Although not all employers require applicants to bring a resume, you should be able to furnish the interviewer information about your education, training, and previous employment.
  • References. Employers typically require three references. Get permission before using anyone as a reference. Make sure that they will give you a good reference. Try to avoid using relatives as references.

Learn about: Evaluating a Job Offer

It takes some people a great deal of time and effort to find a job they enjoy. Others may walk right into an ideal employment situation. Do not be discouraged if you have to pursue many leads. Friends, neighbors, teachers, and counselors may know of available jobs in your field of interest. Read the classified ads. Consult State employment service offices and consider private employment agencies. You also may contact employers directly.

Evaluating a Job Offer

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Once you receive a job offer, you are faced with a difficult decision and must evaluate the offer carefully. Fortunately, most organizations will not expect you to accept or reject an offer immediately.

There are many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits? If you have not already figured out exactly what you want, the following discussion may help you to develop a set of criteria for judging job offers, whether you are starting a career, reentering the labor force after a long absence, or planning a career change.

The organization. Background information on an organization can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work. Factors to consider include the organization’s business or activity, financial condition, age, size, and location.

You generally can get background information on an organization, particularly a large organization, on its Internet site or by telephoning its public relations office. A public company’s annual report to the stockholders tells about its corporate philosophy, history, products or services, goals, and financial status. Most government agencies can furnish reports that describe their programs and missions. Press releases, company newsletters or magazines, and recruitment brochures also can be useful. Ask the organization for any other items that might interest a prospective employee. If possible, speak to current or former employees of the organization.

Background information on the organization may be available at your public or school library. If you cannot get an annual report, check the library for reference directories that may provide basic facts about the company, such as earnings, products and services, and number of employees. Some directories widely available in libraries include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory
  • Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations
  • Moody’s Industrial Manual
  • Thomas’ Register of American Manufacturers
  • Ward’s Business Directory

Stories about an organization in magazines and newspapers can tell a great deal about its successes, failures, and plans for the future. You can identify articles on a company by looking under its name in periodical or computerized indexes in libraries. However, it probably will not be useful to look back more than 2 or 3 years.

The library also may have government publications that present projections of growth for the industry in which the organization is classified. Long-term projections of employment and output for detailed industries, covering the entire U.S. economy, are developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and revised every 2 years—see the February 2004 Monthly Labor Review for the most recent projections, covering the 2002-12 period, on the Internet at: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/mlrhome.htm. Trade magazines also may include articles on the trends for specific industries.

Career centers at colleges and universities often have information on employers that is not available in libraries. Ask a career-center representative how to find out about a particular organization.

Does the organization’s business or activity match your own interests and beliefs?
It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does.

How will the size of the organization affect you?
Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and better employee benefits than small firms. Large employers may also have more advanced technologies. However, jobs in large firms may tend to be highly specialized.

Jobs in small firms may offer broader authority and responsibility, a closer working relationship with top management, and a chance to clearly see your contribution to the success of the organization.

Should you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well established?
New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people, the excitement of helping create a company and the potential for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss. However, it may be just as exciting and rewarding to work for a young firm that already has a foothold on success.

Does it make a difference if the company is private or public?
An individual or a family may control a privately owned company and key jobs may be reserved for relatives and friends. A board of directors responsible to the stockholders controls a publicly owned company and key jobs are usually open to anyone.

Is the organization in an industry with favorable long-term prospects?
The most successful firms tend to be in industries that are growing rapidly.

Nature of the job. Even if everything else about the job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day work. Determining in advance whether you will like the work may be difficult. However, the more you find out about the job before accepting or rejecting the offer, the more likely you are to make the right choice. Actually working in the industry and, if possible, for the company would provide considerable insight. You can gain work experience through part-time, temporary, or summer jobs, or through internship or work-study programs while in school, all of which can lead to permanent job offers.

Where is the job located?
If the job is in another section of the country, you need to consider the cost of living, the availability of housing and transportation, and the quality of educational and recreational facilities in that section of the country. Even if the job location is in your area, you should consider the time and expense of commuting.

Does the work match your interests and make good use of your skills?
The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained in enough detail to answer this question.

How important is the job in this company?
An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you are supposed to contribute to its overall objectives should give you an idea of the job’s importance.

Are you comfortable with the hours?
Most jobs involve regular hours—for example, 40 hours a week, during the day, Monday through Friday. Other jobs require night, weekend, or holiday work. In addition, some jobs routinely require overtime to meet deadlines or sales or production goals, or to better serve customers. Consider the effect the work hours will have on your personal life.

How long do most people who enter this job stay with the company?
High turnover can mean dissatisfaction with the nature of the work or something else about the job.

Opportunities offered by employers. A good job offers you opportunities to learn new skills, increase your earnings, and rise to positions of greater authority, responsibility, and prestige. A lack of opportunities can dampen interest in the work and result in frustration and boredom.

The company should have a training plan for you. What valuable new skills does the company plan to teach you?

The employer should give you some idea of promotion possibilities within the organization. What is the next step on the career ladder? If you have to wait for a job to become vacant before you can be promoted, how long does this usually take? When opportunities for advancement do arise, will you compete with applicants from outside the company? Can you apply for jobs for which you qualify elsewhere within the organization, or is mobility within the firm limited?

Salaries and benefits. Wait for the employer to introduce these subjects. Some companies will not talk about pay until they have decided to hire you. In order to know if their offer is reasonable, you need a rough estimate of what the job should pay. You may have to go to several sources for this information. Try to find family, friends, or acquaintances who recently were hired in similar jobs. Ask your teachers and the staff in placement offices about starting pay for graduates with your qualifications. Help-wanted ads in newspapers sometimes give salary ranges for similar positions. Check the library or your school’s career center for salary surveys such as those conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers or various professional associations.

If you are considering the salary and benefits for a job in another geographic area, make allowances for differences in the cost of living, which may be significantly higher in a large metropolitan area than in a smaller city, town, or rural area.

You also should learn the organization’s policy regarding overtime. Depending on the job, you may or may not be exempt from laws requiring the employer to compensate you for overtime. Find out how many hours you will be expected to work each week and whether you receive overtime pay or compensatory time off for working more than the specified number of hours in a week.

Also take into account that the starting salary is just that—the start. Your salary should be reviewed on a regular basis; many organizations do it every year. How much can you expect to earn after 1, 2, or 3 or more years? An employer cannot be specific about the amount of pay if it includes commissions and bonuses.

Benefits can also add a lot to your base pay, but they vary widely. Find out exactly what the benefit package includes and how much of the costs you must bear.

National, State, and metropolitan area data from the National Compensation Survey, which integrates data from three existing Bureau of Labor Statistics programs—the Employment Cost Index, the Occupational Compensation Survey, and the Employee Benefits Survey—are available from:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Compensation Levels and Trends, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE., Room 4175, Washington, DC 20212-0001. Telephone: (202) 691-6199 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   (202) 691-6199 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
    Internet: http://www.bls.gov/ncs/

Data on earnings by detailed occupation from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey are available from:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE., Room 2135, Washington, DC 20212-0001. Telephone: (202) 691-6569 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   (202) 691-6569 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
    Internet: http://www.bls.gov/oes/

Applying for a Job

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Breaking into cold sweat and being dumbfounded while on the interview seat thinking hard of how to answer a tough interview question could be disastrous especially when that is the particularinterview_question_1 job you are eyeing for.

But sweat no more as here at www.job-interview-question, we have prepared some simple and yet essential tips on how you can ace that job interview and answer some of the most common interview questions.

Types of interviews that you might go through:

1.   The Screening Interview

       This is like a preliminary round of interview when it is likely to begin in the human resources department.  Interview questions you would be most likely asked are about your qualifications, the number of years of experience, the willingness to relocate and etc.

2.   The Stress Interview

       In this type of interview, you would find yourself like undergoing an interrogation.  Stress interview questions are actually designed to make you feel confused, fearful and defensive.  If you could remain calm, ready and composed during this type of interview, you would have already won half the battle.

3.   The Situational Interview

       In situational interview, Interviewers will usually hypothetically present the candidates with situations that might happen on the job.  The situational interview will require the candidates to resolve a problematic situation that will eventually lead to success.

4.    The Team Interview

       The interviewers may comprise of members of the prospective department you are applying for or a mixture of employees from throughout the company who you might have to work together with.  The advantage of team interview for the candidate is your interview performance is not the subjective opinion of just one person.  If one interviewer disagrees, the others might not.

Job Interview Tips

Here are some interview tips to that will help you through the grueling job interview:

Job Interview Tip 1 : Always prepare yourself for any job  interview

Prior to attending any interview, you should always prepare yourself physically and mentally to avoid any hiccups.  You should be prepared to answer all interview questions calmly and spontaneously.

Job Interview Preparation Activities:

  • Prepare a list of your qualifications, experiences and personality and how these may help you sell yourself on the job you are applying for.  If you are applying for a company which is look for go-getter salesman, you had better not project a timid and overcautious self-image in the interview room.
  • Research on the company. The more your know about the company the better.  Visit the library, read trade magazines, newspapers, company brochures and reports that will bring you up to date with the company's latest development.
  • Know your strengths.  Write down on paper your skills and qualities and match it with the job description in the advertisement.  Think how the company would benefit by choosing you, rather than another candidate.
  • Know your weaknesses.  Good interviewers are trained well at finding weaknesses in a candidate.  Be prepared to provide explanations to job interview questions that will turn things to your advantages.
  • Practice the interview questions  with your friend or spouse. This will enable you to correct any costly mistake you do not wish to make during an a real job interview.

Job Interview Tip 2 : Keep a smiling face during job interview

Smiling does not only lighten up your day but also the person who sees you, in this case the interviewer.  Who would not want to see a smiling and such a pleasant person?  But be careful not to overdo it.  Otherwise, it would look more like a pasted-on grin that would not look sincere.

Job Interview Tip 3 : Make eye contact when answering job interview questions

When talking to someone and still maintain eye contact, you will project yourself as confident.  However, you should avoid non-stop staring as this will make the interviewer feel uneasy.

Job Interview Tip 4: Be positive during job interview session

Pepper your conversation with lots of positive words. In other words, avoid using negative words as much as possible.  After all, interviewers are always looking people who talks positively.

Job Interview Tip 5 : Talk with enthusiasm when answering job interview questions

Show the interviewer your enthusiasm in the job you are applying for.  Highlight your skills and experience and what benefits you would bring to the company.

Job Interview Tip 6 : Relax and enjoy the job interview

Relax yourself, especially your mind, when undergoing an interview.  Imagine you are just updating an old friend on your current personal particulars and what you have been doing.  Occasionally, mention about what you have achieved.  You will feel less pressured and consequently you will have a free flow of ideas on how to express yourself and answer the interview questions confidently.

We have also included a small collection of words and phrases that you might want to consider using during interview sessions.  The words are strong and positive.  With the usage of the words from the wordlist , you may be able to leave a good impression in your interviewer's mind.

Wishing you success in your next interview.

How to Rule at Your Interview

Four tips to help you cope with your first interview


Next week is your first interview for a summer internship, and the last-minute jitters have set in. Relax! Your prospective employer has set up the interview because he or she is interested in you and wants to hear more about you and your skills. This is your chance to make yourself shine and land an exciting opportunity.

Rule #1: Come prepared or don't come at all

Before you set out for your interview, do some research on the company. Find out about their product or services, major competitors, philosophy, history, and size. Just like your college search, you want to know what you are getting into. Not to mention the fact that the interviewer will be very impressed with your knowledge of their company.

You should also do a self-assessment prior to arriving at the interview session. Look over your résumé and be able to explain your interests, abilities, experiences, and values as they relate to the job. Be prepared for the ambiguous first question: “So, tell me about yourself.”

Rule #2: Practice, practice, practice

Find a family member, friend, or career counselor to role-play an interview with you. Go over some frequently asked interview questions, which you can find at the career counseling office at school. Here's a short list of common questions you will be asked, but you should also come with some questions for the interviewer.

  • Why are you interested in working at this company?

  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?

  • What are your long-term goals?

  • What did you like and dislike about your last job?

Rule #3: Dress to impress

Buff up dad's old wing-tipped shoes, break out your graduation suit, and head to the barbershop because it is almost interview day! No, seriously. You will need to look alert and well groomed, so get to bed early the night before and get up early in the morning to shower, groom yourself, and shine your shoes.

Rule #4: Close the deal

While you are in the interview, collect business cards from everyone you meet with that day. Once you get back home, you should write a thank-you note to each individual person, recognizing that they took time out of their busy day to meet with you. Show your appreciation and express how interested you are in the position.

If you follow these simple rules, you will be well on your way to landing the job of your dreams!

Carlin Carr is a communications writer for Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and recently worked as an admissions counselor at Post University. Carlin received her bachelor's degree in English from Mount Holyoke College and her master's degree in literature and publishing from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). After graduating from NUIG, Carlin moved to Parma, Italy, to teach English before returning to the states.

Taken From : The HINDU




First, you should focus on the basics. Probably one of the most important things to remember is to dress appropriately.

The interviewer's first impression of you will rely heavily on your appearance no matter how much you wish to deny it.

For instance, if you are applying for a retail store position, wear clothing consistent with the style of their clothes, or perhaps it may be even more to your advantage to wear a thing or two from their store.

On the other hand, if you are applying for an office position, make sure to dress conservatively and professionally.

However, in both cases, make sure you don't go overboard because you do not want the interviewer to think you are trying to suck up.

Once you get there, the next thing is to keep your head up, feel confident and smile occasionally!

To continue a successful interview, you must be able to surpass the introduction by knowing the little details that will make you look great and help impress the interviewer.

Most people know that giving a firm handshake is important, but it is also important to have an eye contact.

During the rest of your interview, you are supposed to make your interviewer feel confident that you deserve the position.

Show your knowledge, intelligence and confidence by speaking clearly and occasionally add your own comments and suggestions to possible ideas that the interviewer may discuss.

Also, there are some additional tips to be remembered such as answering his questions directly by getting straight to the point.

Avoid phrases like "I don't know." It's better not to expose your lack of knowledge. In case you really don't know the answer to one of his questions, try to give an answer that will not make you look bad if it is incorrect, or use another phrase.

All through the interview maintain good eye contact.

Try focusing on one eye instead of two because it becomes easier to concentrate. In addition, your eyes will not be darting back and forth while trying to focus.

The last step to successfully completing an interview is to leave with dignity and respect.

Make sure to thank the interviewer and try to throw in a casual comment on how you look forward to seeing them soon. With these steps you should successfully land the job!

What are the ingredients required to have a successful career?


Develop a realistic view of yourself. We all have good and bad qualities. Know them and work on them. Don't try to impress someone with how perfect you are. They will either see through it or draw you into a devil's pact where you have to see them as perfect. Understand that your career is not totally in your hands.

As you cannot have complete control over your career, allow change and use opportunities that come your way. Sometimes it may go the way you would not like it to. Don't waste time cursing your luck; see it as an opportunity to prove yourself.

Even if it is the most unrewarding job ever, there is always an opportunity, eg to develop your endurance.

Look at everything as an opportunity to learn. You can learn from anything if you have an active questioning mind.

Take care of your relationship with colleagues. Respect them; disagree with integrity not with your ego. You have to be with them throughout your career.

You would need them at one point or another. Your relationship should reflect what you preach.

Learn from your wise superiors about their attitudes, how they live, how they relate, etc. Learn to look beyond outward appearances.

Understand the reasons behind their actions. Do not judge rashly.

Enumerate interview tips for freshers?



Once out of college, you are on a hunt for a job. The wait for a job can be cruel and agonising. The very thought of these possibilities can let you down.

Before you take the plunge, you will need a power- packed resume that gives the interviewer an insight into your capabilities.

Listing of the consultancies to ease your job hunt. You can shortlist the companies where you wish to work. This will ease your effort.

Try knowing about your prospective employer beforehand through newspapers and websites.

Your next move should be to make yourself visible. The job market needs to feel your presence. Place yourself online; the web is a job mine besides being accessible easily.

Search newspapers and send your resume to companies that might give scope for the kind of job that suits your qualifications.

Mail your resumes to job consultants. It is better to give your resume to the consultant in person so that he can form an idea of what you are looking for, based on your interaction with him. The most effective way to get leads on job openings is by word of mouth.

Keep your friends and acquaintances aware that you are on the lookout for a job.

Keeping pace with changing technology would make you a lot more confident and give you that crucial edge over other candidates.

It is essential for you to keep in touch with what you have learnt in the past. Brush up your knowledge base regularly, so that you don't have to redo your learning or cram in information in the last minute.

Be clear as to what you want out of a job. It helps you prioritise your needs and narrow down the job hunt.

It's very easy to get disillusioned when you are unemployed. Faith in your capabilities will equip you to face competition.

Most often, what stops people from aggressively hunting for a job is the fear of rejection. Don't blame yourself or indulge in self-pity. Analyse what went wrong in the interview and try to overcome the shortcomings.

What are the career prospects for an MSc biochemistry graduate?



Biochemistry degrees offer a wide range of career prospects in the field of manufacturing, commerce, medicine, research and teaching. Biochemistry graduates can find employment in a variety of specialist areas that include microbial, plant and animal biochemistry and biotechnology, clinical chemistry, molecular genetics, forensic science, food technology, toxicology and pharmaceuticals.

Other career openings include administrative and managerial jobs, medical representatives and careers in the retail industry.

Civil services can be another option if interested in a career with the government. Remuneration usually depends on the position and status of your profile.

What are the career prospects in the field of computer- integrated manufacturing?



Traditionally, their major employers are the manufacturing and services industries, however job opportunities in research, design, development, standardisation.

Graduates in the relevant subject have a number of career paths open to them. These range from design and manufacturing engineers in the automotive, electronics, aerospace and food processing/packaging sectors of the manufacturing industry, to manufacturing systems consultants.

April 30, 2010

Job interview questions...Don't be caught off guard by predictable ones !

Imagine being prepared for just about every possible job interview question an interviewer could throw at you! Not only would you be more relaxed and confident in the job interview, but you'd be ready with dynamic and well thought-out answers to those job interview questions. The following article includes most of the job interview questions you're likely to encounter in a job interview situation. It also offers some suggestions on how to project a winning attitude, put effective job interview interview strategies into action, and increase your chances of turning job interviews into job offers. Most of the time you only get one chance to make a positive impression in job interviews, and some people would argue that the first five minutes are what matters most. With that in mind, it's best to leave nothing to chance, including small but important details like arriving at job interviews a few minutes early, making sure your job interview suit is clean and pressed, and having a couple extra copies of your resume with you, in case the job interviewer can't find his or her copy, or (and this is a good thing to mentally prepare for) if you're going to be interviewed by a committee or a series of job interviewers.


Successful job interviews are like a good theatrical performance. If you convincingly act confident, enthusiastic, and prepared for those tricky job interview questions, there's a good chance you'll be called back for an encore! The job candidate that gets chosen isn't necessarily the one who's the most experienced or capable; it's often the job seeker who has cultivated the ability to relax at job interviews — to "just be themselves" — to answer job interview questions in a deliberate way, and to come across in job interviews as if they really believe in themselves. With persistence and determination, almost anyone can acquire the skill to answer job interview questions with confidence and composure.

A highly recommended way to increase your level of comfort and confidence in the job interview is by taking the time, a day or two before the interview, to mentally review your accomplishments and the high points of your resume. You should be able to rattle off your qualifications, your academic credentials, and specific examples of how you effectively handled job challenges, and do so as effortlessly as if you were reciting your own name, address, and phone number. An inability to come up with specific examples of past job achievements has resulted in many a job applicant not making it to the final cut.

Know your answers to probable interview
questions before you walk through the door!

Update your resume before the job interview, looking for ways to put the most positive spin on your career history, responsibilities, and accomplishments. It's always best to be totally honest, but, on the other hand, don't shortchange yourself by understating or minimizing your career or educational accomplishments. Failing to give yourself all the credit you deserve is one way to sabotage your chances of being hired. For example: if you initiated and coordinated a successful project, don't leave those details out of your resume and job interview. If you helped save your last employer $100,000, don't hide that fact. If you developed a new, more efficient training technique that was implemented at your last job, don't neglect to talk about that in the job interview and include it in your resume. Make a list of and review all these career achievements, so they won't slip your mind when you need them most. Forgetting to mention any or all of those types of professional accomplishments could make the difference between being offered the job or getting passed over for it.

In the job interview, one key tactic for projecting a powerful, competent, and experienced image is by using action words to describe yourself and the work you've done. That technique also helps create a dynamic resume. Examples: "I coordinated ... managed ... initiated ... supervised ... produced ... built ... solved ... recruited ... formed a new department ... provided leadership for ...etc."

A time-tested strategy for feeling and acting prepared for an upcoming job interview is to rehearse answers to typical job interview questions that will probably be posed in one form or another. A fatal error that many job applicants make is to try to "wing it" when they respond to job interview questions. If you mentally review your positive attributes, your accomplishments, and your strengths, before you shake hands with the job interviewer for the first time, you will appear more focused, organized, and articulate at the job interview than if you attempted to fly by the seat of your pants! (Don't try that at home!) Bottom line: you need to know your answers to probable interview questions before you walk through the door!

Don't go to that next job interview
until you've looked "Inside the Mind of an Interviewer"!

Assuming you're qualified for the job -- and if you cleared the first hurdle (namely, being invited to the job interview in the first place), chances are you are qualified -- then the image you project, and how you present yourself, will make or break you! So smile, make lots of eye contact with the job interviewer, have a firm handshake, act enthusiastic about the job and the company, research the company on the Internet, and, perhaps most importantly, rehearse the answers to these frequently asked job interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself. (To avoid rambling or becoming flustered, plan your answer.)
  • What do you know about our company/organization? (This is a commonly-asked first or second question, so don't let this one be your Achille's heel! If they have a web site, your research will be easy!)
  • What are your strengths? (Make an exhaustive list, familiarize yourself with the list, and then narrow it down to the most important items for the interview.)
  • What are your weaknesses?(What you say here can and will be used against you! Whatever you say, make sure your stated weakness doesn't relate even remotely to the requirements of the job to which you're applying.)
  • How would your current (or last) boss describe you?*
  • What were your boss's responsibilities? (Interviewers sometimes ask this job interview question to prevent you from having the chance to claim that you did your boss's job. Be ready for it!)
  • What's your opinion of them? What type of relationship did you have with your last boss.(Never criticize your past or present boss in a job interview. It just makes you look bad -- not them.)
  • How would your co-workers or subordinates describe you professionally?* (Remember, now is not the time for modesty! Brag a little bit.)
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why do you want to leave your present employer?
  • Why should we hire you over the other finalists?
  • What qualities or talents would you bring to the job?*
  • Tell me about your accomplishments.
  • What is your most important contribution to your last (or current) employer?
  • How do you perform under deadline pressure? Give me an example.
  • How do you react to criticism? (Leave your ego at the door when you answer questions like this.)
  • Describe a conflict or disagreement at work in which you were involved. How was it resolved?
  • What are two of the biggest problems you've encountered at your job and how did you overcome them?
  • Think of a major crisis you've faced at work and explain how you handled it.
  • Give me an example of a risk that you took at your job (past or present) and how it turned out.
  • Describe your managerial style.
  • Have you ever hired employees; and, if so, have they lived up to your expectations?
  • What type of performance problems have you encountered in people who report to you, and how did you motivate them to improve?
  • Describe a typical day at your present (or last) job.
  • What are the last three books you've read?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  • For aspiring pharmaceutical sales reps, only:
    60 realistic interview questions and answers with specific pharmaceutical sales job interview questions and intelligent questions to ask the interviewer

And finally, an interview question which is almost always asked, but is rarely responded to effectively is, "Do you have any questions?"! Most interviewers are not asking that final question just to be polite or because it's a smooth segue to the end of the interview. More often than not, they're expecting you to show at least some knowledge of the company or some genuine interest in the company's future.

Your underlying message in all your job interview answers should be that you're hard working, dedicated, results-oriented, dependable, organized, passionate about making a difference, cooperative, easy to get along with, a creative problem-solver, an excellent communicator, an effective project manager, a good delegator, and that you believe in doing things right the first time...or assigning tasks and projects to other people and following through to make sure that others get them done right!

If you give some serious thought to the above job interview questions and strategies for giving effective answers, and rehearse them out loud, you'll sound prepared, self-assured, and capable in the interview. Those are among the key qualities that make a job applicant stand out among the competition and create a dynamic impression. Always concentrate on putting your best foot forward, give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and above all: avoid sounding or appearing tentative in your attitudes, answers, or behavior. (If you even imply that you don't believe yourself, you can be sure that an interviewer won't!).

Remind yourself that you're not going to job interviews to win any humility contests! If you don't sing your own praises at the interview, chances are, there will be no encore performance!

Inside the Mind of an Interviewer


Before you jump into the interview, it is crucial that we first take a step backward and try to see the interview purely from the interviewer's point of view.

What is he looking for? What does he want? What qualities, skills and experience is he looking for? If you can discover what he really wants - and match those requirements one-by-one you'll be amazed at how smooth and successful the interview can be.



Lets not kid ourselves. You can know all the tricks of the trade, be an expert in every aspect of interview psychology and even have the prettiest, hand-printed CVs - it really won't make the slightest difference unless you have the actual skills and ability to do the job advertised.

This is any interviewer's first objective: to ascertain if you have the ability to successfully carry out the functions you will be given if you get the job.

But during the interview it is not only essential that you inform the interviewer of your qualifications to do the job but that you can prove it to him there and then.

keyideaIt is one thing being able to actually do the job - but quite another thing being able to convince the interviewer of this reality in a positive and enthusiastic manner during the brief span of an interview.

In fact this ability is the key difference that separates the winners from the losers.

Let's take an example.

Mr. Joe Ordinary is going for an interview for the position of computer programmer. The company, in question is looking for a hardworking computer programmer who will help them develop a new software program.

The interviewer asks Mr. Ordinary, "Can you do the job?"

Joe Ordinary smiles: "Yes I can…….. It should be good……very interesting….looking forward to it……"

Now notice the difference when Mr. Joe Winner is asked the same question. He knows he must not only tell his interviewer that he can do the job but prove it in such a way that the interviewer will not believe him but be excited by his potential. But how?

The secret is, in fact very simple: for every skill you list always recall an incident in which you successfully used that skill. Paint a picture in words for the interviewers so that they can actually see you using this skill in their mind's eye.

keyidea[1]The secret is: for every skill you list always recall an incident in which you successfully used that skill.

Before we get back to our computer programmer let me give you this example:

Anne Malone desperately wanted the job of manager at her local florist shop. During the interview the owner said she was looking for someone who was hardworking and very ambitious to look after and build up the business.

Most applicants would have said, "Yes, I'm determined and will definitely strive to increase your turnover and profits. Yes I can do it…..definitely"

Anne, however not only made a similar statement but she backed it up with a real-life practical example. She brought her statement to life.

She recalled her part-time summer job in a florist shop when she was a student. She noticed when she started the job that the shop looked 'run-down - that it lacked 'sparkle' and a sense of 'freshness'

So she told the interviewer how she went to the shop's owner and how she managed to get her to agree that when she worked in the shop over the weekend she would get an extra commission for all the extra customers she could attract to the shop.

So the following weekend Anne used her own money and managed to persuade her family and friends to help her re-paint and re-fashion the shop and deliver a single fresh free flower to every house in the surrounding area. And the shop's sales blossomed.

Can you now see the difference between just saying to an interviewer " I can do the job" to actually bringing such a statement to life.

And that's how Mr. Joe Winner answers his questions. When he is asked can he do the job -he not only confirms his ability but he backs it up with personal examples of how, for example he programmed similar software for other High-Tec companies. In fact for every skill he lists he backs it up with personal examples. He paints vivid word pictures.

Yes, this seem simple. Yet in the thousands and thousands of interviews I have sat through the vast majority of people will simply answer such questions with a bland .."Yes, I'm confident I can do the job… and leave it at that hoping the interviewer will be happy with that. He may be happy but will he be impressed? After the interview will you stand out from the other candidates?

Remember: every time you detail a specific skill that you can contribute to the business don't just make a bland statement, "I can do this and I can do that" - always back it up with personal real-life examples. Paint a picture of yourself putting these skills into practical and profitable use so that the interviewer can see this picture in his/her mind.

And, of course, always bring with you any documentation (neatly assembled in a smart folder) that will add weight and substance to your claims. Extra references, awards or prizes, for example you may have won or articles and reports that you may have written that stand out.

Proving that you can do the job is the essential first step of the interview and the interviewer's first and main concern. Before he proceeds to the next stage of the interview he will want to be sure in his own mind you are capable of doing the job. It is your job to convince him.


The interview proceeds. The tone has changed. It has become more open, more relaxed. The original awkwardness you felt is beginning to dissipate. The interviewer is now happy that you at least have the necessary ability to carry out the basic requirements of the job. Now he'll want to know more about you. After all, he and his fellow colleagues may be spending a lot of their lives working with you.

So he will now try to find out if you are personally suitable for the job. He'll start to focus on trying to ascertain what type of person you are. To do this, most interviewers will try to see how you measure up under the following headings.

Desire / energy: Do you seem energetic? A person who gets up and does things with enthusiasm. Do you seem the type of person who wants to get ahead -who'll make a real difference?

Confidence / determination: Do you seem a relaxed, friendly yet confident person? Someone who'll be able to get on with others? Also someone who'll stick to a task until it is done.

Independent. What the interviewer is looking for here is someone who can be a team player and follow the directions of his supervisor but yet still have the maturity to be able to work unsupervised and direct and motivate herself. The employer is looking to see if you have this balance.

Motivation: Are you the type of person who wants to do well. To get ahead. To impress with your professionalism. To innovate. To build.

Power of communication: Have you the ability to mix and get on with people by communicating clearly and effectively. Will you be able to take extra responsibility in the future and be able to lead and motivate people through effective communication skills?

Likeability: Do you seem a friendly, OK person. This does not mean that you have to be perfect or the most popular person around. They just want to know if you are a friendly and easy person to get along with. Someone who will add to their existing team and not disrupt it.


A new stage now starts to emerge. The interviewer has now got to know you even more now. There is a definite softening in the atmosphere. An embryonic personal relationship seems to be developing between you and your fellow interviewers and you notice most of your pre-interview tension seems to have gone. You begin to allow yourself to relax a bit more.

The interviewer, too seems 'more human'. At this stage he is convinced you have the skills to do the job, he likes you - he feels you are personally suitable and he finds it easy to communicate with you.

In his own mind he is now beginning to see you not as an interviewee but as a potential employee. For the interviewer this is an important turning point. And he'll now want to take an even closer look at you from a professional business point of view.

He'll want to make sure that you'll be an asset to the firm, that you'll act in a professional manner and be loyal, reliable and trustworthy and be committed to the company.

The interviewer will want to make sure that you'll be loyal,
reliable and trustworthy and be committed to the company.

As you speak and answer his questions he'll be trying to evaluate you under the following main headings.

Reliability: Do you seem honest, reliable. Someone who will do an honest day's work? Someone who is straightforward and has enough respect and pride in themselves to always want to do a good job.

Honesty: Do you seem an honest, trustworthy person? Someone whom they can have full confidence in? Someone they could leave the keys to lock up at the end of the day?

Dedication? Do you seem hardworking and dedicated? Someone who starts a project and finishes it? A starter and a finisher? Someone who does not look for excuses to cover up failings and moans about everything?

Communication: As discussed earlier under personal suitability are you the type of person who can get on with and communicate with all levels of the company from the tea lady to the M.D.?

Commitment: The interviewer is trying to judge if you got the job would you commit yourself fully to it? For example, what would you say if you were going for the job as a middle- manager and the interviewer asked you: "As an employee would you clean the floors?" What the interviewer really wants to find out here is how committed you would be to the team - how willing you would be to roll up your sleeves and do whatever is necessary to help your team get the job done.

Don't only answer yes, but make sure you also give a personal example of a similar situation where you helped out to back up your answer.


Let's see how the interviewer's thought processes are operating now. He's happy you can do the job and that you are personally suitable. He's also confident that you'll get on with most of the staff and that you have all the necessary professional commercial qualities that he requires from his employees. You almost have the job. The interviewer is now beginning to visualize you as a future colleague. Someone who he will be working with and someone he will possibly be responsible for managing.


All during the interview this question will be at the back of the interviewer's mind. How manageable will you be? The last thing a manager wants is an employee who he thinks might cause trouble in the future and cause him sleepless nights!

And so a lot of his questions will be aimed at helping him come to a considered judgment on your ability not only to work alone unsupervised but also on your ability to work with others. He will also want to judge your ability to take direction and criticism not only when it is honestly given but also when you may be treated unfairly.

The interviewer/manager knows that a lot of the time, in the real business world things go wrong, people make mistakes, deadlines and commitments are broken and tempers are ignited. The interviewer wants to consider how you might react to such circumstances?

So be aware of these questions when they arise and the real motivation behind them. Also when you sense such questions are being asked treat it as a positive sign that the interviewer is seriously considering you for the position.


What we have presented here is only a very general outline of the interviewer's possible thought processes as the interview progresses. Each interview is unique and it's structure and tempo will change and adopt to accommodate the different personalities involved.

However it is very helpful to be aware of the key stages of your interview and to have a deepening understanding of what your interviewer is really looking for when he asks you certain questions.

In simple terms, an interview is a meeting between prospective employer and applicant. It is a two way process. The purpose for the employer is to find out more about the applicant, whether they are suitable for the job and whether they will fit in. The purpose for the applicant is to convince the employer, by selling his or her achievements, that they are the right person and to find out more about the job and the company.

However, there are different ways in which an interview could be conducted.

One to One

These are the most common. Usually, a number of applicants attend a first interview. From this the employer will then compile a short list of applicants. These will be invited back for a second interview upon which a decision will be made. However, you may only have to attend one interview or possibly a succession of interviews. They may even be conducted over the telephone.

Panel or Pairs

These are more common in Civil Service or Local Government jobs.

Two Stages

First interviews may be carried out by personnel departments or Elite Personnel. The second by the person you would be working for.

Assessment Centre

These are usually conducted over a day and require the applicant to take part in team tasks whilst under observation.


There may be an open day, an informal talk or walk around. You may be required to undertake Psychometric (personality), aptitude or skill tests.

Wherever possible, Elite Personnel will give you as much information as to what type of interview you are about to attend.


Fail To Prepare - Prepare To Fail !

To be successful at an interview you should leave nothing to chance.

  • Inform Elite Personnel that you are going to attend
  • Read the confirmation letter carefully. Who is going to interview you ?
  • Find out what type of interview it will be and roughly how long it will last.
  • Find out if there will be any psychometric or aptitude tests.
  • Double check the day, date, time and place of the interview.
  • Do a trial run. Check public transport, traffic or parking.

Please let Elite know if you decide not to attend rather than let us down.
Find out about the Company
Elite Personnel will provide you with as much information as they can. Showing your knowledge of the Company at the interview will impress them.
- What does the Company do ?
- What are there main products or services ?
- How many staff do they employ ?
- What are the Company’s strengths ?
You may be able to get further information from a number of other sources. These include the Internet (free service at some libraries), newspaper reports, trade magazines, company sales literature or brochures, Training Enterprise Council, Chamber of Commerce.
Job Requirements
Ensure that you have as much information about the position as you can.
- What exactly does the job entail ?
- What particular skills do you require ?
- Talk to Elite or someone else doing a similar job if you can.
- Read through you CV to remind yourself how your achievements and skills match the job requirements.
Predict Likely Questions
- Try and anticipate what you may be asked.
- Prepare and practice your answers.
- Rehearse them with a friend, in front of a mirror or on Elite Personnel until you feel comfortable with your answers.
- Think what the Company require from you when preparing your answers.
Questions may be asked in different ways
- Open-
Begin with what?, why?, where?, how?, Who?. You cannot answer just yes or no. Reply in detail but don’t waffle.
- Closed-
You can answer with short or more specific answers.
- Probing or Searching -
“Tell me more about…?” or “why did you…?” This will give them more information about you and your attitudes.
- Leading -
May lead you into giving the wrong answer. Be careful. “Did you get on with your last boss?”
- Hypothetical -
“What would you do if…?” Relate to a real situation if you can.
- Multiple -
Can be Confusing. Listen carefully and reply to each part in order.
Your Questions
Always prepare questions of you own to ask. Write them down and take them with you. Do make sure that they are relevant.
Ask about training, prospects, what happens next etc. A good question is “How do you see my skills and achievements fitting in?” The makes interviewer imagine you as part of the Company and doing the job.
Questions About Salary
Elite Personnel will have informed you of the salary. The interview is not the time to negotiate. If you bring this up now it will appear that this is your only interest in the job. You are asking for something from them before they have even decided you are the right person for the job.
Personal Presentation
Create a good first impression. Your appearance and attitude are as important as your ability to do the job. Ask Elite for a guideline.
- Dress smartly and appropriately. Better to overdress than underdress.
- Clothes should be clean, ironed and comfortable. Shoes polished.
- Keep jewellery to a minimum. Remove nose/tongue studs if possible.
- Make sure your hair is tidy.
- If you are asked to take any paperwork, keep it in a briefcase or folder.
- Do not drink or smoke directly before the interview.
- However, do make sure you have eaten. We don’t want you passing out !
You have arrived
- Aim to be 10 minutes early. No need for more, definitely no less.
- Use the bathroom and check your appearance.
- Breathe deeply if you are nervous. Pep talk to yourself (not aloud please!)
- Be friendly to reception staff. They may be asked their opinion.
- Look at any Company literature left in reception or of your own.
- Remember the main benefits of yourself that you want to get across.
- Politely decline any tea, coffee or cigarette offered.
- Smile.
You are called into the interview room

  • Stand up straight and confidently.
  • Use their name.
  • Shake hands firmly.
  • Maintain eye contact and smile.
  • Wait to be asked before sitting.
  • Sit well back in the seat with your back straight.
  • Get comfortable but do not fidget.
  • Be aware of your own and the interviewers body language but not to the extent that you are unaware of anything else.
  • Talk freely. Vary the tone of your voice as in normal conversation. Smile !
  • Be aware of opportunities to sell yourself. Especially at the beginning and end of the interview. But do be patient and don’t interrupt
  • If the interviewer is laid back don’t copy him. Stay alert at all times
  • If interviewed by more than one person, answer the questioner but maintain eye contact with the others.
  • Be sincere and natural.
  • Don’t try to be something that you are not.
  • Think about the question before you answer. Short silences are accepted.
  • Is you have misheard or don’t understand a question, ask them to repeat or clarify it.
  • If you don’t know an answer, say so. Don’t try and bluff your way through it.
  • If the interviewer challenges you or their questioning is aggressive, don’t become defensive. Respond - don’t react.
  • Don’t criticise former colleagues or employers.
  • Ask your prepared questions. Try and close with a parting statement of why you are suitable for the job.
  • When the interview is over, thank the interviewer for their time, smile, shake hands and confirm your interest in the job.


Chill Out

Try and come down from the tension of the occasion. Ring Elite Personnel as soon as you can to let them know what you thought of the job and how you thought the interview went. Have a coffee. Go for a walk.


Think back over the interview. How do you think you performed. What could you have improved on. This will help you for future interviews.

Make Notes

Make notes, if you can, on questions and your answers. Think about those you found difficult and why. This will also help you for future interviews.

Follow Up

Elite Personnel will contact the Company after your interview and will let you know as soon as they hear anything. However, please feel free to call us at any time to discuss the job further or for an update.

Feed Back

If you are unsuccessful, do not be discouraged. There can be a number of reasons for this. Elite Personnel will, wherever possible, speak to the Company and find out why. We are here to help you find a job so please do not be overly defensive when we tell you. We will obviously listen to your point of view but finding out the reasons why you didn’t get the job will help you in future interviews.


If you don’t get the first job you go for, don’t worry. We have new jobs coming in all the time - an even better one could be just around the corner !


  • Tell me about yourself ?
  • What attracted you to this job ?
  • What were your main responsibilities in your last job ?
  • What makes you think you can do this job ?
  • What aspects of your experience do you see as being most relevant ?
  • Why do you want to work for our Company ?
  • We were really looking for an older / younger person.
  • Tell us more about (a particular aspect of your experience) ?
  • Why did you leave your last job ?
  • What are your strengths ? What are your weaknesses ?
  • If I asked your manager or supervisor, how would they describe you ?
  • You’ve been a long time with 1 Company. How will you cope with the change ?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years time ?
  • Your experience seems to be limited in the area of …
  • This job represents a considerable…. increase / decrease in pay/status/responsibility or change of direction - what will this mean to you ?
  • Why were you chosen to be made redundant ?
  • What do you do in your spare time ?
  • How will you travel to work ?
  • What salary are you looking for ?
  • Can you supervise / work with both men and women ?
  • What would you do if…?


Try to make sure the questions are relevant to the position you are applying for.

Do not ask about pay, benefits, holidays etc. there is time for this when you have been offered the job.

A good technique is “Are there any questions you would like to ask ? “

Pay the interviewer a compliment. “ I think that you have covered all the points I wanted to ask about. I wanted to ask about Company structure and the systems you use but you have already covered these areas thank you.”

Show that you have an interest in the Company. “ I hear that you have 10 outlets in Birmingham. Are you intending to open any more?”

When you are considering what questions to ask before the interview, make sure they are not ones to which you should already know the answer.


- Is this a new position ?
- To whom would I be responsible ?
- How many others are doing the same work ?
- What training will I receive ?
- Why did the last person leave the job I’m applying for ?
- When will I know the result of this interview ?
- What opportunities are there for further training or progression ?
- Do you have time to show me around the area where I’ll be working ?
- Is there anything else I can tell you about my experience / background ?

A good employee is one of your company's greatest assets. A poor employee is a liability.

Poor employees are unsuited for the position they fill. They might lack the skills needed to do the work. Or, their work habits and personalities are incompatible with your business environment. They could be excellent employees at a different workplace -- but not at yours.

The best time to weed out unsuitable employees is before you've hired them. After they're on the job, dealing with the problem will be time-consuming, stressful, unpleasant and expensive. HR experts say that supervisors typically spend 80% of their time with 20% of their employees.

When you're recruiting, you want to know two things:
1. Can this person do the job?
2. Will he or she be a problem to manage in this workplace?

The first question is simple to answer. Skills are easy to assess and to test. Look to samples of work, educational criteria, licenses, accreditations, skill tests, etc.

The second question is the hard one. You want to discover whether the applicant will fit into your workplace.

Before conducting the job interview, be sure you know what questions are illegal to ask in your country. Make an error here, and you could be faced with legal proceedings.

Once you know what's legal and what isn't, create interview questions designed to discover the applicant's "soft skills."


  1. Tell me about your favorite supervisor in the past, and why you liked working for this person. Then, your least favorite supervisor, and why? Identifying information is not necessary.

    This will elicit information about how the applicant responds to supervision and how he prefers to be supervised.

  2. Describe a difficult workplace situation that you faced, and that you think you handled well. Then, tell me about a workplace situation that you don't think you handled very well and what you could do differently .

    You are looking for clues about how the applicant deals with conflict and difficult situations. In the situation that was handled poorly, try to determine if the person has learned from the mistake.

  3. Describe a situation that is likely to occur, or has occurred, in your workplace. Ask the applicant how he or she woulnext timed handle it.

    You are looking for problem solving and judgement skills. Remember that the applicant is not familiar with your workplace and cannot be expected to provide the exact response that you would expect from your employees.

  4. How many sick days have you taken from work in the past year?

    Asking direct questions about the applicant's health is illegal in many countries. Asking about sick days is not. If the applicant has missed considerable time, ask if there is any current condition that would interfere with his or her ability to have a good attendance record.

    An existing medical condition doesn't mean the applicant is unsuitable, but you do want to know how reliable and dependable he will be.

  5. Are you able to work shifts? Graveyard shifts? Weekends? Are you available for business travel?

    In many countries, it's illegal to ask questions about marital status and whether the person has family obligations. But you are entitled to know whether they are free to work the shifts you have available and if they are free to travel, if travel is a requirement of the job.

  6. This is our policy regarding smoking/dress code/alcohol and drug use while on the job. Are you willing and able to abide by this policy?

    It could be illegal to ask about an applicant's use of tobacco, alcohol or illicit drugs. But it is legal to explain your workplace policy and ask if they will abide by it.

  7. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    You are trying to find out if the person's long term goals are compatible with your workplace. If they are planning to move to another city, retire, quit work to raise children or to attend school, you will want to know it.

    Or, if they want to climb the ladder, does your workplace offer an opportunity? On the other hand, if they are looking for a job to settle into for years, is that possible in your workplace?

Get the answers you were looking for? Do your reference checks, then Ready, Set, HIRE!

40 interview questions

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40 Job Interview Questions and Answers

Table of Contents
The Typical Job Interview 2
Preparing for the Job Interview 3
Questions to Ask at the Job Interview 3
Illegal Interview Questions 5
The Post-Interview Follow-Up 5
Most Commonly-Asked Interview Questions 6
Job Interview Questions & How You Should Answer Them 7
Question 1: Tell me about yourself.
Question 2: Why should we hire you?
Question 3: What is your greatest strength (or strengths)?
Question 4: What is your greatest weakness (or weaknesses)?
Question 5: Why do you want to leave your present emplyer?
oQuestion 6: Why do you want to work for this compa?
nyQuestion 7: What do you know about our company?
Question 8: Why do you want this position?
Question 9: Do you work better alone or as part of a team?
Question 10: What did your last supervisor criticize most about your performance?
Question 11: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Question 12: Why have you changed jobs so frequently?
Question 13: Are you willing to relocate?
Question 14: Are you willing to travel?
Question 15: Are you willing to work overtime?
Question 16: Have you ever been fired or asked to resign?
Question 17: How long have you been searching for a job? OR Why haven't you received a job offer?
Question 18: What previously held job do you consider to be your favorite and why?
Question 19: Do you consider yourself to be organized? Do you manage your time well?
Question 20: Would you choose the same career if you could start over again?
Question 21: Why have you stayed with the same employer for so long?
Question 22: Do you consider yourself to be a risk-taker?
Question 23: Would your present employer be srprised to know you're job hunting?
uQuestion 24: How well do you handle change?
Question 25: What salary are you expecting?
Question 26: How do you resolve disputes with co-workers? How do you handle conflicts in the workplace?
Question 27: Who was your favorite boss and why? Who was your least favorite boss and why?
Question 28: What could you have done to improve your relationship with your least favorite boss?
Question 29: What book are you currently reading (or what ws the last book you read)?
a What were the last three books that you read?
Question 30: What is the last movie that you saw?
Question 31: Are you considering oers from other employers?
ffQuestion 32: When can you start?
Question 33: Why did you decide to attend X College? Are you happ with your choice?
yQuestion 34: What factors did you consider in choosing your major?
Question 35: Have you ever fired anyone?
Question 36: How do you motivate employees?
Question 37: What is your commitment to this job?
Question 38: Aren't you overqualified for this job?
Question 39: Are you opposed to doing a lot of routine work?
Question 40: Do you have any questions?
The Typical Job Interview
The purpose of the typical job interview is to more closely screen a handful of applicants who have made the final cut. If you are called for a job interview it means that the employer believes you have the basic skills and experience required for the job; however, he wants to see you in person so he can learn more about you, your personality, your appearance, your demeanor and your ability to answer some really stupid questions without losing your temper. Depending on the employer you could be competing against as little as three or as many as 30 other applicants. So you would do well to prepare for the interview carefully if you want the job.
The average person looking for employment usually gets called for 10 to 15 interviews before he gets an offer. Most job interviews follow a standard format:
(1) Greeting and small talk to put you at ease and break the ice. The interviewer may give you a preview of what will occur during the interview.
(2) The employer may give you a brief overview of the position or additional information about the organization.
(3) You respond to questions. If it's a good interview, this is the longest segment and you should do most of the talking.
(4) You ask questions of the interviewer. Have at least five or ten questions prepared beforehand.
(5) The interviewer closes the interview and explains the next steps in the process. Be sure to thank the interviewer for his or her time.
During the interview you should:
~Be enthusiastic and prepared
~Be knowledgeable about the organization
~Be confident and sell your skills
~Listen carefully and be interested
During the interview, the interviewer will try to determine if you have the following traits:
(1) Achiever
(2) Productive
(3) Self-starter
(4) Contributor
(5) Quick Learner
(6) Easy Going
(7) Dependable
(8) Stable
(9) Responsible
The interviewer will try to determine if you possess the nine traits above by asking you a series of questions and observing your demeanor while you answer them. Therefore, you should spend some time preparing for the job interview in order to make the best impression possible.
Be able to answer the question: "Why should you be hired?"
What skills do you have that are pertinent to the position for which you're interviewing? Identify two or three of your top selling points and determine how you can illustrate them during the interview. What stories can you tell the interviewer about your use of these particular skills or knowledge? And, of course, you must prepare for the job interview by preparing answers to commonly-asked interview questions.
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Don't be surprised if you are called back to interview with the same employer two or three times. With the job market in the dumps, employers can easily pick and choose among many applicants. During these interviews you must come across as very friendly, easy to get along with, enthusiastic about the job, as well as be able to intelligently answer interview questions.
Preparing for the Job Interview
Memorizing good answers to typical interview questions isn't enough preparation. Why? Imagine three people sitting in a lobby waiting to interview for the same job. One of the applicants has spent several hours researching the company and its industry. The other two have not done any research at all. Who do you think stands the best chance of getting the job? The person who lets the interviewer know he's done his research.
Spending three, four or even more hours to prepare for a job interview is recommended by career experts. You should become familiar with the company, its products or services, its competitors, the industry in which it operates, and decide how your skills will benefit the company so you can answer interview questions, such as "Why do you want to work for us?" "What do you know about our company?" "How can you benefit our company?" If you do this, your odds of beating out your competition increase dramatically.
Do Research
The best way to start researching a company is simply to type "Name of Company" in to the search form at a major search engine, such as Google.com or, if it's a big company go right to the website: www.nameofcompany.com. Once you know more about the company and its industry, you can better match your skills and qualifications to that company's needs. Now you're ready to prepare for those tough job interview questions.
Other places to do research on companies are as follows:
4llStocks: www.411stocks.com
Business Wire: www.businesswire.com
Brint: www.brint.com
Wetfeet: www.wetfeet.com
Hoovers: www.hooversonline.com
Thomas Register: thomasregister.com
Topics to Research
When researching a company you should know the answers to the following questions before you show up for the interview:
How old is the company?
What are its products or services?
Who are its customers?
Who are its major competitors?
What are its reputation / industry standing?
What are its new products or services?
How large is the company?
What are its short- and long-term goals?
How has the company resolved problems?
Have there been recent employee layoffs?
Where is the company located?
What are the backgrounds of managers?
What training programs are offered?
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Questions To Ask At the Job Interview
You should always prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer before going to the interview. Below are some possible questions you might want to ask during a job interview. Avoid asking about salary, vacation time, employee benefits, etc. until you have asked a number of other questions that demonstrate your interest in working for the company.
Good questions to ask the interviewer:
Why is this position available?
Is this a new position? How long has this position existed?
How many people have held this position in the last two years?
Who would be my supervisor? To whom would I report?
Whom will I supervise?
With whom will I be working most closely?
What do you like about working for this company?
What are the current plans for expansion or cutbacks?
What kind of turnover rate does the company have?
How financially sound is this company?
What projects and assignments will I be working on?
What happened to the person that held this position before? Was he promoted or fired?
What is this company's culture? (Rigid and formal or relaxed and flexible?)
What are the current problems facing the company (or my department)?
What do you like the most about working for this company? The least?
What is the philosophy of the company?
What do you consider to be the company's strengths and weaknesses?
What are the company's long and short term goals?
Describe the work environment.
What attracted you (the interviewer) to this organization?
Why do you enjoy working for this company?
Describe the typical responsibilities of the position.
What are the most challenging aspects of the position?
Describe the opportunities for training and professional development.
Will I receive any formal training?
What is the company's promotional policy?
Are there opportunities for advancement within the organization?
When can I expect to hear from you?
Illegal Interview Questions
Federal and state legislation prohibits employers from asking certain questions during the interview based on race, religion, creed, sex and age. Not all employers are familiar with these laws, particularly small employers. What should you do if you are asked one of these illegal questions? Experts say if you want the job you should ignore the violation and answer the question. Others recommend that you very tactfully point out that the question is illegal.
Questions employers are not supposed to ask job applicants:
(01) What was your maiden name?
(02) When were you born?
(03) When did you graduate from high school?
(04) What is your race?
(05) Do you have physical or mental disabilities?
(06) Do you have a drug or alcohol problem?
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(07) Are you taking any prescription drugs?
(08) Would working on weekends conflict with your religion?
(09) What country are you a citizen of?
(10) Have you ever been arrested?
(11) What language did you speak in your home when you were growing up?
Employers can usually obtain the information sought in the questions above by rephrasing the question. Compare the illegal questions above with the legal ones below:
(01) What is your name?
(02) Are you over 18?
(03) Did you graduate from high school?
(04) No questions about race are allowed.
(05) Can you perform [specific tasks pertinent to the job description]?
(06) Can you perform [specific tasks pertinent to the job description]?
(07) Can you perform [specific tasks pertinent to the job description]?
(08) Would you be able to meet the job's requirement to frequently work weekends?
(09) Do you have the legal right to work in the United States?
(10) Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
(11) This job requires that you speak Spanish. Do you?
What should you do if asked an illegal question? If you want the job it wouldn't be wise to point out to the interviewer that he has asked a bad question. Instead, just answer it unless it offends you so much that you feel the need to point out his error. You can simply respond, "I'm sorry, but I don't feel that question is relevant to the position I'm interviewing for." Of course, if you do this, chances are you will offend the interviewer and you won't get the job.
Another tactic to win more job offers is to volunteer information that it is illegal for the interviewer to ask. For example, if you're a young female you know that the interviewer is concerned that you're planning to start a family soon or already have a house full of young children that might interfere with your job. Since he isn't supposed to ask you anything about children you can volunteer this information: "I decided a long time ago that I do not want to have children, so I have no family obligations now or in the future that could prevent me from traveling extensively if offered this position" OR "My children are 15 and 16 years old and they no longer need me as much as they once did, so I can work late and on weekends if necessary."
Post Interview Follow-up
A follow-up thank you letter to the interviewer is an important step in the interviewing process, one that candidates often forget to take. Sending such a letter is not only proper business etiquette, but it also makes you stand out from the other candidates competing for the same position. Write your thank you letter as soon as possible after the interview.
You should send a follow-up thank you letter even if you don't want the job. If this is the case, let the interviewer know in your thank you letter. Ask the interviewer to keep you in mind for any positions with the company that might be available in the future.
Components of the Follow-up Thank You Letter
Your thank you letter can be typed in a business letter format or handwritten using a pre-printed thank you note. The letter or note should express appreciation for the opportunity to interview, tour the facilities, meet other employees, etc. You might also want to write about the following:
- Mention the day of your interview and the position for which you interviewed.
- Express continued interest in the position and the company.
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- Re-emphasize your most important skills and qualifications and how you expect to contribute to the organization.
- Include any information you forgot to mention in the interview, if necessary (be brief though).
- Close your letter with a comment about future contact with the employer.
Sample Thank You Letter
"Dear ________________:
I appreciated the opportunity to interview at your hospital on Monday. The tour of the facilities and conversations with Acme's laboratory staff gave me a clear overview of the role of technologists at your facility. In particular, I was impressed with the state-of-the-art equipment in Acme's laboratories and the exciting medical research that is being conducted there.
The entire experience has confirmed my desire for employment as a medical technologist with Acme Hospital. My internship as a lab assistant, along with my microbiology and chemistry course work, has prepared me well for this position. Based on my interview, I think I would fit in well with the Acme laboratory staff.
Thank you again for the experience of getting to know your organization better. I would welcome the opportunity to work for Acme Hospital, and I look forward to hearing from you in the next two weeks.
Sample Thank You Letter 2
If you decided after interviewing that you do not want the position, your note might offer something like,
"Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position of ____________ the other day. While I still would enjoy working for your company, after learning more about the position I realize that I am searching for a more challenging position that better utilizes my skills and experience and requires less travel. If your company has such a position, please let me know."
Most Commonly-Asked Interview Questions
Below is a list of questions that are commonly asked by interviewers. You should formulate answers to these questions before you go to the interview since doing this will make you more confident during the interview.
Why should I hire you?
Why do you want to work for this company?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What do you think determines a person's progress with a company?
What have you done to increase your personal development?
Are you happy with your career progress to date?
What are your career goals?
Tell me about yourself.
What is your most significant accomplishment?
Are you willing to take calculated risks?
What are the things that motivate you?
What is the most difficult situation that you have ever faced?
Why do you want to leave your present employer?
What jobs have you enjoyed the most and the least and why?
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What actions would you take if we hired you?
Why did you want to get in to this field?
What can you offer us that someone else can't?
How would your supervisor describe you?
Do you work better alone or as part of a team?
What are your primary activities outside of work?
How do you handle people that you don't get along with?
What makes you think you can handle this position?
With what other companies are you interviewing?
What has been your greatest challenge?
Questions Commonly Asked of College Students and Recent Graduates
What is your GPA? Do you feel it reflects your true abilities?
How has your schooling (internships) prepared you for this position?
What was your favorite course in college and why?
Why did you decide to attend X College? Are you happy with your choice?
What factors did you consider in choosing your major?
How did your college experience change you?
What kind of grades did you have in school?
Why were your grades not very good in school?
Why didn't you participate in internship programs while in school?
Why are you applying for a job unrelated to your internship experiences?
Why are you applying for a job not related to your degree?
What extracurricular activities did you participate in?
If you had it to do over again, would you choose the same major?
Most popular questions asked in 2003:
What is your vision of the ideal job and boss?
Why are you searching for new employment?
What are your unique qualifications or experiences that separate you from other candidates?
Describe yourself.
What are your short and long term goals?
What are the best and worst aspects of your previous job?
What do you know about our company?
What would your former boss and co-workers say about you?
Job Interview Questions & How You Should Answer Them
Note: The first forty questions in this section are the most-commonly asked interview questions.
Question 1: Tell me about yourself. This is usually the first question asked because it is a good ice-breaker. You shouldn't use this open-ended question to offer useless information about your hobbies and home life. Many people will make the mistake of saying, "I'm 32 years old, married, and mother of three children aged 5, 7 and 9. My hobbies are knitting and bike riding . . yada yada yada." This is not a good answer.
A good answer to this question is about two minutes long and focuses on work-related skills and accomplishments. Tell the interviewer why you think your work-related skills and accomplishments would be an asset to the company. Describe your education and work history (be brief). Then mention one or two personal character traits and tell the interviewer how the traits helped you accomplish a task at school or work. Do not describe yourself with tired old clichés such as "I am a team player," "I have excellent communication skills," unless you can prove it
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with an illustration. For example: "I would describe myself as a self-starter. At Acme Corporation, there was a problem with . . . . . so I created a new inventory system (give details) that reduced expenses 30 percent."
For example, someone with a new degree in an IT field might answer this question as follows: "I have enjoyed working with computers since I was nine years old and have always been adept as using them. Throughout junior high and high school, friends and relatives were always asking me for help with their computer problems, so no one was surprised when I chose to major in computers." His answer could go on to explain how in college, he discovered he wanted to concentrate his studies on a specific IT field; how his internships or work experience influenced him or led him in a certain direction; and how he has come to decide that he wants to work for this particular company and why he would be an asset to this company.
Question 2: Why should we hire you? Take several minutes to answer this question, incorporating your personality traits, strengths, and experience in to the job you're applying for. A good answer is to focus on how you can benefit the company. You can best do this by researching a company before the interview and be ready with examples of how your skills, talents, etc., can benefit the problems and concerns of that particular company.
Question 3: What is your greatest strength (or strengths)? State one or two strengths that are work-related and tell the interviewer the story about when that strength helped you accomplish a task at work (or school). For example: "I have the ability to train and motivate people. At Acme Co., employee turnover was very high, so I . . . " (give details of what you did to decrease turnover, train and motivate employees, etc.).
Question 4: What is your greatest weakness (or weaknesses)? Don't answer by claiming that you have no weaknesses. Confess a real weakness that you have, but choose one that isn't particularly relevant to the job you're seeking. Do not answer with phony weaknesses such as "I'm a slave to my job" or "I'm a workaholic." Just state the weakness, tell the interview how it has harmed you in your work life, and what steps you have taken to improve it. A good step one can take to improve a weakness is to read self-help books on the subject. You might offer the title of a book you've read that helped you improve your anger, shyness, impatience, etc.
Question 5: Why do you want to leave your present employer? You could state that you want a more challenging position, higher salary, or more responsibility. Don't mention personal conflicts with your present boss or bad- mouth your current employer or co-workers as this will harm your chances of being offered the job. Keep in mind that interviewers love people who are looking for more challenging positions or responsibility because it shows drive, ambition and motivation.
Question 6: Why do you want to work for this company? Don't answer this question with, "Because you advertised for an X at monster.com." Your answer should offer what you think are the most interesting aspects of the company, for example, "because it is on the cutting edge of technology" or "because you are the industry leader". The research you do on the company in order to prepare for the interview should give you an answer to this question.
Question 7: What do you know about our company? Those who answer this question with, "Not much," will probably not be offered the job. You should always research a company before the interview. Learn about their products / services, size, future plans, current events, etc. If you cannot find information about a particular company, call their offices and ask the receptionist to send you information about the company in the form of a brochure, etc.. You should also research the industry in which the company operates so you are up on what's happening. You can find links to research sites at http://www.resumagic.com/x_researchingcompany.html.
Question 8: Why do you want this position? Your answer should offer what you think are the most interesting aspects of the position. More responsibility and opportunity, including a higher
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salary, are acceptable answers, but state them in a way that isn't blunt. For example, "because it pays more" is not a good answer. But, stating that, "The position offers more responsibility, challenges and interesting opportunities, as well as a higher salary," is a good answer.
Question 9: Do you work better alone or as part of a team? If the position you're applying for requires you to spend lots of time alone, then of course, you should state that you like to work alone and vice versa. Never sound too extreme one way or another. Don't say that you hate people and would "die if you had to work with others" and don't state that you "will go crazy if you're left alone for five minutes". A healthy balance between the two is always the best choice. If you have previous experience illustrating the fact that you can work alone or with others, then offer it. For example, you might state that in your previous job you spent a significant amount of time alone while traveling, or that you have learned how to get alone well with people in the workplace by working on numerous team projects.
Question 10: What did your last supervisor criticize most about your performance? A good way to answer this question is to offer a criticism you received that is not very important or not directly related to the position you're applying for. For example, telling the interviewer that you were constantly criticized for coming to work an hour late is not a good idea. But revealing a minor criticism and telling the interviewer what steps you took to improve yourself is a good way to answer this question. In fact, if you can state that you have already solved the problem and received a higher mark on a subsequent performance review, then say so.
Question 11: Where do you see yourself in five years? Assume that you will be promoted two or three times in five years, so your answer should state that you see yourself working at whatever job is two or three levels above the job in which you are applying. Do not claim that you will be "running the company" in five years. You might want to add that you understand your promotions will be earned through hard work and that you don't assume you will be promoted just because you stayed with the company.
Question 12: Why have you changed jobs so frequently? Reasons for job hopping should always be based on your past employers' failure to challenge you or fail to give you enough opportunity for advancement, and not on the fact that your past employers were incompetent, dumb, or unfair. Make sure you point out any jobs you did hold for a long time. Mention that your current goal is long-term employment and back that up with any proof you have to want job stability such as a new baby, new marriage, new home, etc. If the job you're applying for offers you the challenges and environment you were always looking for, then say so.
Question 13: Are you willing to relocate? If relocating wasn't an issue the interviewer wouldn't be asking the question. Therefore, the only acceptable answer is "Yes." If you answer in the negative you will not get the job. If you really don't want to relocate, then perhaps you shouldn't accept the job if it is subsequently offered to you. If you aren't sure, then ask questions about relocation, such as when it is likely to occur, where you will relocate to, and would it involve a promotion.
Question 14: Are you willing to travel? If traveling wasn't part of the job, the interviewer wouldn't be asking this question. Therefore, the only acceptable answer is "yes". If you are willing to travel, answer yes and give some illustrations of work travel you have done. But if you do not want to travel, you should find out more about this aspect of the job before accepting the position, such as how much travel will be involved, where will you be traveling to and for how long.
Question 15: Are you willing to work overtime? If this wasn't an aspect of the job, the interviewer wouldn't be asking this question. Therefore, the only acceptable answer is "yes" if you want to be considered for the job. If your past jobs involved overtime, now would be the time to tell this to the interviewer.
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Question 16: Have you ever been fired or asked to resign? When answering this question, keep in mind that the interviewer knows that almost everyone has been fired at least once and it is almost always due to a personality conflict with the boss or coworkers. So, answer this question honestly, but without attacking your former boss or employer, and without sounding defensive or bitter. Do not mention that you have been fired many times unless asked specifically, "How many times have you been fired?" Have a sense of humor when discussing your firings so that the interviewer doesn't get the idea you are a nut who might come back to the workplace with an assault rifle if you're fired. Tell the interviewer what you learned from being fired. If you have been fired many times, mention what steps you have taken to improve yourself (i.e., I have read self-help books about . . . getting along with others . . . improving my time management . . . improving knowledge, work habits, etc.). Also, point out any past jobs you held when you got along well with your boss and coworkers or received good performance reviews or a promotion.
Question 17: How long have you been searching for a job? Why haven't you received a job offer? Why have you been unemployed for so long? It is always better to answer this question with "I just started looking" but this is not always possible, particularly if your resume indicates you've been unemployed for the last six months. If you can't hide the fact that your job search has been taking awhile, then state you're being selective about whom you will work for. Of course, stating this might prompt the interviewer to ask, "What offers have you turned down?" which could land you in hot water if you haven't actually received any job offers. (It isn't a good idea to lie in answering this latter question.)
A bad economy and a crowded market are good reasons one might have trouble finding a job. However, be aware that many interviewers will hold this against you even if the job market was very bad and many people were having trouble finding employment.
Question 18: What previously held job do you consider to be your favorite and why? This is actually a trick question asked to determine if you enjoy the type of work the position you're applying for involves. Therefore, the answer to this question should be a job that requires the same or similar work that you will be required to perform in the new job. If you do not have a previous job wherein you performed similar tasks, then offer an answer that does not suggest you are ill-suited for the position. For example, if you are applying for a high-stress, demanding job in a chaotic environment, don't tell the interviewer you loved your position with Acme because of the mellow, low stress "work at your own pace" atmosphere.
Question 19: Do you consider yourself to be organized? Do you manage your time well? The interviewer wants to hear about your work skills concerning time and task management, not that you have neatly separated the paperclips in your desk drawer into different trays based on size. A model answer might be "I manage my time very well. I routinely complete tasks ahead of schedule. For example, . . . (offer the interviewer proof of your organizational skills by telling him about a major project that you organized and completed on time or mention the fact that you consistently received an outstanding grade on previous performance reviews regarding your time management). Don't reveal to the interviewer that you are habitually late or that you complete tasks at the very last minute.
Question 20: Would you choose the same career if you could start over again? How you answer this question depends on whether or not you are trying to win a job related to your career history or are trying to enter a new field. No matter how much you despise the career you originally chose, do not admit this fact to the interviewer because it tells him you consider your work to be drudge. If you are trying to enter a new field, of course, tell the interviewer that you would choose the field you're now trying to enter if you had it to do all over again -- that's why you're trying to enter it now!
Question 21: Why have you stayed with the same employer for so long? Just as moving from job to job too frequently can harm you, so can staying with the same employer for too long --
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particularly if you've never been promoted and your resume indicates you haven't been intellectually challenged in years. Your answer should state something about your having worked successfully with many people both inside and outside of the organization, including different bosses and co-workers, as well as interacting regularly with various types of organizations and customers.
Question 22: Do you consider yourself to be a risk-taker? How you answer this question depends on the type of company it is. If it is a start-up company or within a highly-competitive industry, then they are probably looking for those more willing to take risks. If you believe the company is this type, then offer an example of a risk you've taken in business. If the company is a well-established industry leader, risk takers are not as highly valued. Of course, no company is looking for employees who are foolish in their risk-taking behavior, so a good rule of thumb is to place yourself somewhere in the middle -- you are neither too foolish nor overly cautious.
Question 23: Would your present employer be surprised to know you're job hunting? Never answer this question with negative information such as "My current boss wouldn't be surprised in the least to hear I'm leaving since he's been trying to shove me out the door for years!" Always tell the interviewer that you are happy with your current employer and job, but are simply looking to stretch your wings out and take on a job with more challenge, and yes, more salary and opportunities for advancement.
Question 24: How well do you handle change? The only acceptable answer is one stating you handle change very well. Don't just make this claim, offer an example of how well you coped with a major change that took place in your work environment. A common shakeup occurs when your employer brings in new automation or changes its culture. In any event, tell the interviewer what you did to cope or adapt to a change that occurred with a previous employer -- and this should be a major change, not a minor one.
Question 25: What salary are you expecting? You should do some research before the job interview so that you don't ask for too much or too little. You might be asked to justify why you are worth the salary you are asking, so be prepared with an answer (i.e., tell them how your skills and experience will benefit the company so much that your salary will be a bargain for them.) Links to good salary resources can be found at www.salary.com.
Question 26: How do you resolve disputes with co-workers? How do you handle conflicts in the workplace? Don't claim that you have never had a dispute with a co-worker. The interviewer will know you are lying, since getting along with co-workers is one of the hardest things in the world to do. The best answer to this question tells the interviewer about a dispute you had with a co-worker and how you resolved it so that they outcome was positive. Your answer should tell the interviewer how you resolved it on your own, and hopefully, that you and this other person are now friends, or at least are able to work together productively. Also, concentrate on resolving work-related issues rather than personal feuds. For example, telling the interviewer about your problems getting a co-worker to take your suggestions on a specific project seriously is a much better topic than telling the interviewer about your long-standing feud with a co-worker over a prime parking space in the company parking lot. And don't tell the interviewer that you resolved a dispute by tattling to the boss or trying to get the other person fired. Employers are sick of dealing with employee conflicts and they want a mature person who can resolve conflicts on her own without tattling or complaining to the boss.
Question 27: Who was your favorite boss and why? Who was your least favorite boss and why? These are two of the most difficult interview questions to answer unless you understand what the interviewer wants to hear, and if you realize that you can answer both questions with basically the same answer. Employers are looking for employees who are interested in contributing to the company, improving their job skills, and making a contribution. So, instead of insulting or demeaning your past bosses by telling the interviewer that he was always "hogging all the credit" or was "totally incompetent", state that you wished he had offered
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you more feedback about your job performance, provided you with more job training, or challenged you more by providing you with more opportunities to show what you can do, etc. You can answer the question, "who was your favorite boss and why?" using the same answer: "John Doe was my favorite boss because he offered me lots of feedback about my job performance, taught me almost everything I know about marketing, and gave me plenty of opportunities to prove myself by giving me very challenging projects to complete." Never put down your past employers or blame them for anything in a demeaning or insulting way, since it makes you come across as petty.
Question 28: What could you have done to improve your relationship with your least favorite boss? Again, refrain from stating negativities about your former boss. Put a positive spin on your answer by telling the interviewer that, if you had it to do all over again, you would have requested more feedback from your boss regarding your performance and requested to be assigned more projects, etc.
Question 29: What book are you currently reading (or what was the last book you read)? What were the last three books that you read? The only correct answer is to offer the title of a nonfiction book, preferably one that is on a subject related to your career or business in general. For example, if you are a sales person, tell the reader you're currently in the middle of, "Selling for Dummies." Or, if that seems too much of a cliché, offer the title of a book on improving your time management, personality, efficiency, etc. Of course, we aren't suggesting that you lie and claim to be reading a book that you aren't really reading. As part of your job search, you will have to start reading one or two acceptable books so that you can intelligently discuss them if the subject is brought up during an interview. The interviewer might ask you how the book is helping you (what you have learned from it), so have an answer ready. Some interviewers will try to determine if you regularly read by asking you for titles of 3, 4 or 5 books you've read this year, so be ready.
Question 30: What is the last movie that you saw? Replying that you "don't have time to watch movies as you are completely devoted to your job" is not a good answer and will not win you any points, even if the interviewer was dumb enough to believe you. Interviewers are looking for well-rounded people who enjoy healthy activities, such as relaxation and entertainment, and will expect you to state the name of a movie. The movie title that you give in reply to this question should always be one that is popular with the general public, but uncontroversial, meaning that it doesn't have any negative or zealous political or religious overtones. Also, don't reveal the fact that you spend way too much time watching movies by stating you have seen a particular movie 15 times or that you spend too much time watching movies. For example, don't tell the interviewer that you are obsessed with Star Trek movies and regularly attend Star Trek conventions dressed up as Mr. Spock. A well-known uncontroversial movie, popular with the general public, and one that the interviewer is likely to have seen, is always a good choice.
Question 31: Are you considering offers from other employers? It is recommended that you NOT disclose any other offers you have received or discuss the companies with whom you have interviewed. Therefore, a good answer to this question is to state that you do not have offers from other companies. (Of course, if for some reason you believe you would have a better chance of getting the job offer if you disclosed this information, then do so.)
Question 32: When can you start? It is customary for most employees to give at least two weeks notice to their current employer. Those in management positions are expected to give longer notice. You will not earn points if you express disrespect toward your current employer by telling the interviewer that you plan to quit your present job without giving sufficient notice. He will assume you will show his company the same amount of disrespect. It is also a good idea to tell the interviewer you plan to start learning about your new position / employer on your off-hours (i.e., reading employee training manuals, etc.) Telling the interviewer you can't begin work for a few months because you want to take some time-off is not a good idea.
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Question 33: Why did you decide to attend X College? Are you happy with your choice? Always state that you are happy with your choice, even if you aren't. Do not state that "it was the only place that would accept you". Do not make negative statements about the school or your professors either. A good reason for choosing a particular school is because you liked the particular program they offered, or it is known for offering a good education in your particular major.
Question 34: What factors did you consider in choosing your major? A great answer is to state you have always wanted to become X since you were a child and picked your major accordingly. If you're changing career fields or applying for a position unrelated to your major, tell the interviewer you were interested in that subject at the time, but circumstances haven taken you down a new path. Of course, you should put a positive spin on also stating that you have benefited tremendously by changing careers (learned new things, made you more hardworking, etc.).
Question 35: Have you ever fired anyone? The interviewer does not want you to express either too much indifference or too much sympathy for those you have had to fire. Tell the interviewer how you discussed the employee's shortcomings with him several times and tried to help him improve, but as a last resort, you had no choice but to fire the person.
Question 36: How do you motivate employees? There is not a simple way to motivate all people due to the vast number of personality types and situations in which people work. The best answer is one that tells the interviewer that each employee must be uniquely motivated. You should offer several examples of situations where employees were successfully motivated.
Question 37: What is your commitment to this job? Most people would respond with an answer avowing a deep commitment to the company and the job; however, a better answer would be to state that your commitment will grow as you get to know the company and the people in it.
Question 38: Aren't you overqualified for this job? Note that employers don't like to hire overqualified people because they won't stay around long. But since it is probably obvious that you're overqualified, admit that you are, but also emphasis the positive. For example, "I am overqualified in some ways. I have more experience that is required for this job, but you are looking for someone who is an expert in X, and that's me. However, that doesn't mean I'm completely overqualified. I feel that I have much to learn in the area of X, which is a big part of this job and I know it will keep me challenged . . . ."
Question 39: Are you opposed to doing a lot of routine work? Don't answer with, "Oh yes, I will enjoy filing eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year!" Instead, try to assure the interviewer you aren't going to go mad doing your boring job. For example, "I know this position requires a lot of routine work, but I don't expect to start at the top. I'm willing to start at the bottom and proof myself. Eventually, I will be assigned tasks that require more brain power."
Question 40: Do you have any questions? This question is usually the last one an interviewer will ask as it is a logical way to end the interview. Never go to an interview without preparing questions to ask beforehand. Avoid asking about salary, vacation time, employee benefits, etc. until you have asked a number of other questions that demonstrate your interest in working for the company. Good questions to ask the interviewer:
Why is this position available?
Is this a new position? How long has this position existed?
How many people have held this position in the last two years?
Who would be my supervisor? To whom would I report?
Whom will I supervise?
With whom will I be working most closely?
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What do you like about working for this company?
What are the current plans for expansion or cutbacks?
What kind of turnover rate does the company have?
How financially sound is this company?
What projects and assignments will I be working on?
What happened to the person that held this position before? Was he promoted or fired?
What is this company's culture, (i.e., is it rigid and formal or relaxed and flexible?)
What are the current problems facing the company (or my department)?
What do you like the most about working for this company? The least?
What is the philosophy of the company?
What do you consider to be the company's strengths and weaknesses?
What are the company's long and short term goals?
Describe the work environment.
What attracted you (the interviewer) to this organization?
Why do you enjoy working for this company?
Describe the typical responsibilities of the position.
What are the most challenging aspects of the position?
Describe the opportunities for training and professional development.
Will I receive any formal training?
What is the company's promotional policy?
Are there opportunities for advancement within the organization?
When can I expect to hear from you?
You can also ask questions regarding information you found when conducting research about the company.

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How to give a talk


So you've been asked to give a talk in front of a seminar--or possibly in front of a much larger audience. Or maybe you've been giving lots of talks, but you wonder about how you can make your talks more effective?

The purpose of this page is to present some ideas about presentation style. These are all surface issues and do not address the actual content of your talk (because it is, of course, spectacular). Every single point can be argued, so a justification for the point is given. If you disagree with a point and want to state a reason why you disagree, or have additional tips to share, please send a message to me and your comments will be included if they're reasonable.)

This page is http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~brd/Teaching/Giving-a-talk/giving-a-talk.html


Q. Will the audience be annoyed if you sit instead of stand?
A. Yes

One of the most important things you can do is watch other speakers. Figure out what you like and what you don't like about what they do and then try to do or not do those things. Ever been annoyed at a speaker who puts of an overhead with such tiny print you can't read it at all? Then be sure you use a larger font. How about those people who constantly block the screen so you can't see it? Maybe you should try not to do the same thing.

Great speakers sometimes codify their techniques. You should read Patrick Winston's Lecturing Heuristics.

Hints for a good presentation

Speak clearly. It shouldn't be too much of a shock, but people can't hear you if you mumble or talk really quietly. Most audiences are afraid of sitting too near the front of a class, either because they're worried about being called on, or because their third grade teacher spit during lectures. Remember the ones in the back (who are thinking of sneaking out early) and speak up and speak distinctly (so they'll stay).

Use large fonts. Anything smaller than 24 point is probably a mistake. If you photocopy a paper from a book and project that, you deserve severe punishment. The only exception is if you are trying to impress the audience with the density of something, or otherwise make a point that specifically requires dense and unreadable text.


Use figures instead of words!

Use lots of figures. A picture is worth a thousand words. If your work is very mathematical, try to develop a talk that is entirely in pictures. Then go back and add one or two words per slide.

Point to the projection (screen), not the source. You want to point out part of a picture or a bullet item on a slide to make it clearer what you mean. Walk up to the screen and point at the bullet or picture. Do not point to the transparency on the projector itself. There are several reasons for doing this:

  • You are not blocking the projection. Ever had someone point at the overhead while their shoulder is blocking the light from most or all of the projection? Ever been in an audience where the speaker is continuously standing between you and the text being projected? Doesn't that annoy you? It should.
  • The slide doesn't jiggle. It's annoying to have a slide jiggle every time the speaker touches it. So don't touch the slides.

There are occasions when you cannot reach the projection to point at it directly. Put your hand into the light and make shadow pictures: use the shadow of your hand to point at the part you want to deal with. You probably do not want to use a pointer.

Do not use a pointer. A pointer seems particularly useful if you cannot reach the projection. Those laser pointer things seem totally cool, too, don't they? Well, they're annoying and should be outlawed. Why?

Pointers are guaranteed to annoy at least 35% of your audience.

  • If you're nervous, the pointer dramatically magnifies the shaking of your hand. It looks like you're conducting an orchestra or something. That leaves a bad impression. Even if you're not nervous, it still jiggles unpleasantly. This is why wooden pointers, folding pointers, and laser pointers are all equally bad.
  • People cannot find where a laser points very quickly. You probably zip it around and circle things. You're making your audience dizzy. Or you say "like this here" and they don't see where you point because the laser is already somewhere else. Disgusting habit.
  • Very few speakers are capable of speaking without playing with the thing that's in their hands. It's distracting. Watch the speaker who folds and unfolds the pointer repeatedly. Yuck. You shouldn't have things in your hands. Period.
    • A Fine Point: Using your shadow is infinitely better than using a pointer. But, if you can reach the screen, you should touch it (the screen) to point to things, instead of using your shadow. The audience will like the tactility of this gesture.

It's ok if your hand makes a slight noise when you hit the screen, or the screen shakes. This discontinuity may wake a few people up. Seriously.

Do not adjust the slide unless it's falling off. Ever watch someone adjust each overhead over and over again? Ever want to slap them and tell them to stop? It's pointless. Who cares if it's 10 degrees off vertical? The little jiggering of the slide doesn't make it easier for the audience to read it. And it makes you look really nervous. Get away from the projector and point at the screen. You won't be blocking the view of your audience and you won't look as nervous. Of course, if the slide's about to fall off the projector....

Be sure the projection is on the screen. How many times have you watched a speaker talk and talk and talk without ever noticing that the projection is somewhere to the left of the screen and you can't read it? You want to yell but are afraid you'll annoy people. So you should be sure it's pointing the right place. Of course, if you walk up to the screen and point at the projection, you're addressing this problem at the same time, aren't you? (Amazing how multi-purpose these tips can be.) Using large margins is helpful for this one, too, since there is less text to spill off the sides.

Be sure the text is projected at the top of the screen. This is related to the previous point, but refers more to where the text is than to where the projection is. Position the slide so that the first line of text is as far toward the top of the screen as possible. That means that people in the back can see what's on the screen even though some big-headed person is partially blocking their view. Having trouble figuring out where the slide should be lined up? Point to the screen and you'll clear up this problem, too.

Watch the time. Try not to go over your given time. Even if you start late, it's a courtesy to the audience to end as close to on time as possible. A good lecture room will have a clock positioned so that you can see it. (A spectacular lecture room will not have one positioned where the audience can see it, so they're less likely to fidget.) Pay attention to it. If you're running behind, skip a slide, or gloss over one, or talk a bit faster, or don't accept questions. Yes, your work is exciting and interesting, but your audience has other appointments, too. If not, they'll talk to you afterward.

Walk in front of the projection occasionally. This one seems kind of silly, but it serves two purposes. First, it gets you to the other side of the room so that the people on that side will have you in the way of the projection (only sometimes since you'll usually be up near the screen); it is only fair to share the discomfort. Second, the sudden bright flash of light reflecting back to the audience as you break the projection beam will wake a few people up. Seriously.

Talk to the audience, not the screen. This sounds simple, but it's amazing how many people look at the screen and talk at it rather than at their audience. If you haveto face the screen, speak a bit louder while you're facing it so that your voice will reflect from it and back to the audience. Better: don't talk to the screen. Contort your body, or point at the screen and then turn around.

Do not cover up parts of the slide. The "overhead striptease" act is one of the most common and most annoying features. What in the world do you think you're accomplishing by feeding the words on the slide to the audience one line at a time? It's infuriating. It makes it harder to pay attention to the speaker, too: the audience keeps having to read a line, look back at you and listen, watch you fiddle with the slide, read another line, turn back to you, and so on and so forth. Tiresome. Why not let the audience skim the slide and then talk about it all at once? Are you afraid they'll be so busy reading that they won't hear you talk? Then make your talking more interesting. (The term "overhead striptease" is alleged to have been coined by Tufte.) Consider using an overlay transparency if you need to keep something in suspense. They're sometimes a bit hard to get lined up, but not too bad. However, beginners should use this technique sparingly, until you practice a lot and get the multiple-overlay technique to be fast, slick, and good-looking.

Modern machine-driven overheads (e.g., from Powerpoint) make it really easy to do these sort of "multiple overlay" talks. These are a bit easier, and sometimes even quite effective.

Summary: Never cover up your slides! avoid the striptease! Overlays are often useful to build up a palimpsest of information gradually -- much better than putting up one dense hairy slide to annoy the audience. Audiences tend to like overlays pretty well.

The only thing worse than the "overhead striptease" is leaving part of the slide covered and never revealing what's under it. You will be convincing the audience that something embarrassing is under there (a naked person?). Bad move. Who cares if it's an old slide that's no longer quite appropriate; just don't talk about the extra stuff. Adds a bit of mystery to your talk, but in a nice way.

Do not read your slides to the audience. Why would I want to come to your talk to hear you read your slides? Unless you're a famous poet or novelist reading your own work, what is the point? (Not even sure there's a point then.) The slides should be an outline of the talk to help the audience follow what you're saying. Or complex equations or pictures or something that you can't convey easily with words. A simple trick is to leave out all of the articles and connectives--e.g., "simple trick: omit articles, connectives". Then if you have no better imagination, you can read it back to the audience with the articles and connections put back in. At least your presence serves a purpose then.


Props good, fire bad.

Use props. Talks are about show and tell and keeping your audience amused, so you can inform them painlessly about what you are doing. Whenever possible, bring and use props: videotapes, robots, pieces of robots, models of molecules, a gear your algorithm machined, circuit boards implementing your algorithm in silicon, etc. However, if you use videotapes, be sure to have them cued up beforehand and practice turning them on and off so it goes smoothly.

Use color. It used to be that you could use LaTeX and make black & white slides for a talk. This worked, because LaTeX typeset things nicely, and no one had color printers. Now we do have color printers (and copiers, and 35mm slides) and black LaTeX slides look (a) all the same and (b) boring. Monochrome slides give the impression you are not colorful either. These days, there is no excuse for a monochrome talk. Use colored pens if you are making your talk by hand. If you're using the computer, use color LaTeX or Powerpoint, or Adobe Illustrator, and print out your slides on a color printer. For better or worse, audiences these days expect color; it's easy to use, and you can convey more information with it.

  • In my opinion, it is better to have nice colorful hand-drawn slides with lots of figures, than to have B&W LaTeX slides with no figures.
  • If you are using colored pens, use the permanent kind. The erasable kind may seem more convenient, but during a talk, you sweat, and they shmear all over. It's awkward, disgusting, and avoidable.
    • Use several different colors. If you have a hand-drawn talk, it is criminal to use only one color.
    • If you must use math/equations (it is better to use pictures), then color code them, e.g.,
      1. Green for vectors, black for constants, red for matrices.
      2. Or, make inputs be black, unknowns be red, and outputs be green.
      3. Or, if Gamma and Rho are important in your talk, make Gamma be green and Rho red.

And be consistent! Rho should be the same color in the equation as in the accompanying figure. (What, you don't have a figure illustrating every equation?! You should!!)

How Not to Use PowerPoint

Case Study: How to Commit "Talk Suicide"

Sometimes you'll be presenting results from a paper of yours, or by someone else. Here is example of how not to do it. In particular, here is an example of a terrible talk, which violates almost all of the rules above. (Actually, it is only the PowerPoint slides for a terrible talk, but the talk using the slides was equally terrible). It looks as if the student simply scanned in paragraphs from the paper and stuck them into PowerPoint. During the presentation he simply read the text and symbols. So the student behaved more like a parser, than a lecturer. Not only that, the scanned-in images are fuzzy and ugly! The entire talk is black-and-and white (no color), there are almost no figures (other than a few black-and-white line drawings scanned in from paper), there is no attempt to teach the audience something or explain the results -- the talk is merely a garbled recitation of (putative) verbatim sections of the paper. Needless to say, this is terrible: don't ever do this!


Two slides from a truly horrible talk. The student simply scanned in paragraphs from the paper and stuck them into PowerPoint. During the presentation he simply read the text and symbols. This talk violates almost every rule on this page. It was a miserable, brain-frying experience. Don't ever do this!


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This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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