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Common Interview Questions & Answers - Part 3
July 26th, 2010 by Linda White  Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Most Popular

Job InterviewContinued from Common Interview Questions and Answers - Part 1 and Common Interview Questions and Answers - Part 2

Q: Why do you want this job?

A: “I am looking for a position in this industry that will allow me to grow. I was very intrigued when I saw the posting for this job and even more interested once I looked into this company. I am well qualified for the position but there is still room for a challenge. I know I could make a great contribution here.”

Rationale: Many employers are now seeing people reach far afield from what their usual occupation or industry is. They really do want to know if you are just using the shotgun approach or if you want this job. Tip: Use the actual industry and the company name whenever possible (don’t say ‘this industry’).


Q: How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

A: “I’m not just looking for a job, I’m looking for a place where I can feel comfortable and stay a long time. I would be happy to stay as long as we both feel I’m doing a good job.”

Rationale: Hiring takes a lot of time and energy. Employers don’t want to do it more than necessary. Of course, things happen, but be as honest as you can be here. If you are all the way to the interviewing process, you should have decided by now that this is a position and company you can stay with. But you can’t really be specific, can you?


Q: Have you ever had to fire anyone? How does that make you feel?

A: “I did have to fire a production designer once. He just couldn’t keep up and he was slowing down the whole production department. I gave him lots of warnings, and at the end, I made it very clear why he was being let go. The outcome was great, because it was much less stressful on the whole department when the work got done on time, and the designer who replaced him was amazing.”

Rationale: Again, be honest here. They are not asking for details about whether or not the firing was justified. This question will generally be asked to determine if you can be the bad guy when the need arises. Also, your answer should reflect that you are aiming for the good of the company rather than the individual. Don’t give the impression that you did this with glee, either.


Q: How would you compensate for your lack of experience?

A: “I have done similar work in volunteering for my local community center, where I worked the front desk. While this experience was not paid, and is not on my resume, it required me to deal with many residents and the details of many different programs and offerings. I often worked by myself so I had to know the answers. I truly enjoy helping people and I am sure my skills will transfer well into this position.”

Rationale: If you have any experience that is not on your resume, state that. Make sure to indicate that you are a quick study and resourceful and that those skills are valuable. If you do not have any outside experience, then just focus on your willingness to learn.


Q: What has been your biggest professional disappointment?

A: “I was in the middle of the big annual directory, and my job description called for me to also handle the annual banquet. But the timeline for the directory had gotten shifted due to some outside vendors, and I wasn’t going to be able to finish that in time to get the banquet up and running when that needed to be done. I had been looking forward to doing the banquet, but found that it was really better when it was shifted to a co-worker, so that I could concentrate on finishing the annual project I was doing in addition to my other work. Both the directory and the banquet were better for it.”

Rationale: You don’t want to whine here – XYZ project/account was given to my co-worker but I really wanted it. State the reason why the disappointment might have happened, but it helps if it was out of your control. Don’t go into a lot of detail about any of it. They are not asking about your feelings, just a clue to how seriously you take your job.
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  • Smplcv

    Thanks for sharing both the questions and answers..i have been asked the same questions and now after reading this articles i got a job, this is true..thanks a lot!

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