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201 knockout answers to tough interview questions - Linda Matias


Year 2010

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IntroductionThe job interview. Key Attributes and Career ValuesThe Competency-Based Questions201 Competency-Based Interview Questions at a GlancePart One. The FundamentalsChapter One. What Are Competency-Based Interviews?Competency-Based vs. Traditional Interview QuestionsProficiencies That Competency-Based Questions MeasureIndustry-Specific CompetenciesChapter Two. Preparing for Competency-Based Interview QuestionsIdentify and Highlight Your AccomplishmentsWhen You Lack the Specific ExperienceIndustry-Specific AccomplishmentsIdentify Your Core CompetenciesKeep SOAR in MindChapter Three. Leverage Your Competency-Based RésuméCompetency-Based Résumé TipsAccomplishment-Based InformationThe Objective or Profile StatementThe Professional Experience SectionSelected Résumé FormatsChapter Four. Why Candidates Do Not Get HiredWhen Examples Go WrongA Negative Mind-SetA Potpourri of Other Interview MistakesChapter Five. Seven Ways to Stand Out During the InterviewWrite a Personal Brand StatementReduce Your AnxietyImprove Your Speaking VoiceBe ConciseCommon Words and Phrases to AvoidMake Specific StatementsScript or Outline Your ResponsesPart Two. Competency-Based Questions and AnswersChapter Six. Individual ResponsibilityDecisivenessQuestion 1. There are times when a firm decision must be made quickly, and there are other times when it is prudent to consider all angles before reaching a conclusion. Give an example of a situation when you took time in making a final decision.Question 2. Rarely do issues arise that are one-dimensional. With that fact in mind, describe a time you handled a situation that had different layers.Question 3. Tell me about a time when you encountered competing deadlines and you had to choose one deadline to fall by the wayside in order to meet the others.Question 4. It is impossible to please every staff member or client. Describe a time when you made an unpopular decision.Question 5. Recall a time when you were approached to take sides on an issue, but decided to stay neutral.Question 6. Tell me about a time when you came up with a way to increase output.Question 7. Describe an occasion when you made a decision that could have had a negative impact on the company if not managed correctly.Question 8. Give an example of a time when you were surprised by an unexpected situation and had to change course quickly.Question 9. Recall a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.Question 10. Tell me about a time when you thought a problem was resolved, only to find out that you were mistaken.Question 11. Not all problems have clear-cut solutions. Give an example of a difficult decision you made and your thought process for making it.Question 12. Summarize a time when you managed a situation characterized by high pressure.IndependenceQuestion 13. Because not everyone always agrees with every company policy, tell me about a time when you spoke up against a standard procedure.Question 14. This division is a department of one. The person hired will be required to manage problems on his or her own. Please describe a time when you dealt with a situation without receiving input from staff members.Question 15. Working in a team environment has its benefits. Likewise, working independently is also rewarding. Provide an example of a time when you were commended for your ability to complete a task on your own.Question 16. Describe an occasion when you managed a situation that was your supervisor's responsibility.Question 17. Describe a time when you felt constraints placed on you that worked against completing your job effectively.Question 18. Give an example of a situation in which you were selected over your peers to complete a project.Question 19. Tell me about a time when you lacked experience in a specific area and needed to outsource an initiative.Question 20. Describe an occasion when you were left to your own devices to manage a situation.Question 21. Tell me about a time when your success was dependent on another's decision.Question 22. Describe a time when you went against the status quo.Question 23. Tell me about a time where you managed a situation on your own while simultaneously adjusting to changes that you had no control over.Question 24. Recall a time when you made an independent decision.FlexibilityQuestion 25. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a different work environment.Question 26. Describe an occasion when there was a fundamental change in the way things were done in your workplace. What was your response to it?Question 27. Recall the last time you felt energized about a project.Question 28. Give an example of a situation in which you assessed a person's temperament and how that assessment helped the relationship.Question 29. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust your priorities to meet someone else's higher priority.Question 30. Describe the culture of your organization and provide an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a goal.Question 31. Give an example of a time when your patience was tested. How did you handle it?Question 32. Describe a time when you were on the verge of completing a task and were asked to abandon the project for another project.Question 33. Give an example of a situation in which you worked for a company where your flexibility skills were important.Question 34. Describe a time when you were required to go to work unexpectedly.Question 35. Tell me about a time when you altered your work pattern in order to complete a task.Question 36. Recall a situation in which you had to please more than one person at the same time.Question 37. Describe an occasion when you dealt with an employee whose demeanor was causing a problem.Question 38. Describe a time when your work complemented another staff member's objective.Question 39. Give an example of a time when you offered your resignation.Career GoalsQuestion 40. Recall a time when you made a difficult career move.Question 41. Describe a time when a company you worked for invested in you professionally.Question 42. Tell me about a time when you accepted a position that you regretted.Question 43. Give an example of a situation in which you took specific steps to meet your career goals.Question 44. Describe a time when you asked management for direct feedback.Question 45. Sometimes people have to take up opportunities to achieve professional success. Tell me about a time when you took a chance in your career and the result.Question 46. Describe an occasion when you expanded your knowledge base to further your career.Question 47. Tell me about a time when you leveraged your past experience to advance your career.Question 48. Give an example of how you put the company's needs ahead of your career goals.Question 49. Tell me about a time when you assumed a position or took on a task that was below your experience because you knew it would lead to better opportunities.Question 50. Give me an example of how your first job prepared you for this one.Question 51. Tell me about the most competitive situation you have experienced and how you handled it.Question 52. Provide an example of a real-life experience that prepared you for this position.Chapter Seven. Managerial/ Leadership SkillsLeadershipQuestion 53. Tell me about a time you reviewed someone else's work to ensure that quality standards were met.Question 54. Not every employee is easygoing. There are times when an employee will refuse to carry out an order he or she believes is unfair. Please describe such a time and how you resolved the situation.Question 55. Describe an occasion when you managed a situation that was out of the ordinary for your position.Question 56. Tell me about a time you implemented an initiative and met resistance from the majority of your staff.Question 57. Recall a time you were successful as a project leader.Question 58. Tell me about a time when you fired an employee whom you personally got along with.Question 59. Describe a time when a subordinate disagreed with a task he or she was given. How did you manage the situation?Question 60. Describe an occasion when you trained a cross-functional team.Question 61. Give an example of a time when you took on a leadership role.Question 62. Tell me about a time when you brought two departments together to work effectively with each other.Question 63. Describe a time when a staff member did not meet your expectations, and what you did about it.Question 64. Give an example of a situation in which you changed the status quo in order to cultivate leaders.Question 65. Describe a time when you managed an individual who had excellent hard skills, but needed help with his or her soft skills.Employee MotivationQuestion 66. Tell me about an occasion when you increased employee morale.Question 67. Recall the last time you experienced low employee productivity. What was the situation and how did you handle it?Question 68. Give an example of a time when your coaching efforts failed.Question 69. Describe a time when you had to address a problem with an employee without alienating him or her.Question 70. Describe a time when you provided one-on-one training support.Question 71. Give an example of an innovative way that you promoted teamwork.Question 72. Describe the last training workshop you led.Question 73. Describe a time when you were responsible for making drastic changes in your department while at the same time had to minimize employees' negative reactions.Question 74. Tell me about a time when you trained an employee to do his or her job better.Question 75. Describe a time when you realized that a top producer on your team was growing bored with his or her position. What did you do about it?Question 76. As much as we may try to get along with everyone else, there are occasions when we cannot. Describe a time when you managed an employee with whom you did not see eye-to-eye.Question 77. We all have outside interests. Tell me about an extracurricular activity you enjoy. Then describe a time when the skills you learned in that activity made you a better professional.Ability to DelegateQuestion 78. Describe a time when you entrusted a subordinate with an activity that he or she did not complete.Question 79. Tell me about a time when you delegated work to a group.Question 80. Describe a time when you divided the responsibilities of a task to members of a group.Question 81. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project to a junior staff member because you realized you had too much on your plate.Question 82. Recall an occasion when you got bogged down in a task's details instead of giving the job to someone else.Question 83. Give an example of a time when you delegated a task and, in the middle of the project, the employee asked you to take it over.Question 84. Describe a time when you assigned a project to an employee and dealt with the reactions of those who were passed over.Question 85. Tell me about a time when you provided instructions for doing a task and an employee offered a smarter alternative.Question 86. Give an example of a time when you delegated a task because you did not want to do it yourself.Question 87. Recall a time when you asked for employee feedback before delegating tasks.Question 88. Describe an occasion when you divided the functions of a team among its members.Strategic PlanningQuestion 89. Tell me about an important event you managed from beginning to end.Question 90. Give an example of a time when your strategic planning skills came in handy.Question 91. Describe an occasion when you were charged with planning a company event.Question 92. Tell me about a time when you partnered with another department to execute a plan.Question 93. Describe an occasion when using strategic partners benefited the company's bottom line.Question 94. Describe a scenario when you helped a stagnant idea become a full-fledged plan.Question 95. Give an example of a problem or situation that needed an immediate, short-term solution.Question 96. Recall a time when you developed a mission statement.Question 97. Tell me about a time when your budget ran on a deficit. What were the circumstances?Question 98. Describe a time when you questioned the direction your employer was taking. What was the result?Question 99. Give an example of a situation in which you implemented a plan that had long-range implications.Question 100. Provide an example of your existing (previous) company's weakness and the steps you took to overcome it.Question 101. Describe a time when your opinion on an operational matter differed from that of management.Question 102. Tell me about a time when you consulted with a client to ensure that a project went smoothly.Question 103. Describe a time when you worked as part of an integrated team to come up with a plan of action.Chapter Eight. Personal MotivationAmbitionQuestion 104. Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a goal.Question 105. Recall a situation when you took on a self-starter approach to a project.Question 106. Describe a time when you chose a course of action that had a significant impact on your career.Question 107. Describe your most recent achievement and explain how your actions benefited investors.Question 108. Give an example of a situation in which you discovered a flaw in operations. What did you do about it?Question 109. Recall a time when your performance on the job led to greater responsibility.Question 110. Describe a time when you did not know a problem existed until it was brought to your attention.Question 111. Give an example of an occasion when your job became mundane and what you did to make the time pass more quickly.Question 112. Tell me about a time when you were proud of your efforts. What were the circumstances?Question 113. Describe a time when you requested help or assistance on a project or assignment.Question 114. Give an example of a situation in which you demonstrated your willingness to work hard.Question 115. Describe an occasion when you made a difficult choice between your personal and your professional life.Question 116. Tell me about a time you leveraged contacts to meet a business goal.InitiativeQuestion 117. Recall a time when you were given a set of instructions that you were unable to follow.Question 118. Give an example of a situation in which you did something that you knew had little chance of success.Question 119. Describe an occasion when an idea you had was met with enthusiasm by management.Question 120. Describe a time when you took an active role in a project for which you had little experience.Question 121. Give me an example of a time you worked for a startup.Question 122. Recall a life-altering event that impacted your career choices.Question 123. Tell me about a time when your hard work was rewarded.Question 124. Give me an example of a time when you took on a task that was not part of your job description.Question 125. Tell me about a situation that called upon your strongest quality. What was the result?Question 126. Recall a time when using your initiative was rewarded.Question 127. Describe an occasion when you created an opportunity for yourself.Question 128. Describe a time when you prepared for an obstacle in order to prevent it.Question 129. Describe a time when you were unable to meet management expectations. What did you do about it?Question 130. Give an example of a situation in which your greatest weakness negatively impacted a relationship or a project you were working on.Question 131. Recall a time when you invested time or money in developing your career.Chapter Nine. Analytical SkillsProblem SolvingQuestion 132. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with management's decision. What did you do about it?Question 133. Recall a time when you discovered a way to improve upon an existing process.Question 134. Describe a time when you figured out a problem that others had tried to solve but failed.Question 135. Give me an example about a time when a routine procedure presented a challenge.Question 136. Describe a time when you stumbled on a problem you did not know existed.Question 137. Describe a time when you solved a problem using a skill you acquired through professional training.Question 138. Tell me about an occasion when you solved a problem without using the resources you needed.Question 139. There are many people applying for this position. Recall the last achievement that demonstrates you are the right candidate for this position.Question 140. Describe an occasion when you had to go to work sick. What were the circumstances?Question 141. Give an example of a small project that you executed that had a departmental impact.Question 142. Describe a time when your analytical skills were put to the test.Question 143. Everyone's professional career is peppered with successes and failures. Describe a time when you learned from a mistake you had made.Question 144. Describe a time when you were creative in cutting costs.Question 145. Give an example of a time when you had a positive effect on a chronic problem.Question 146. Tell me about a time when you managed more than one project at once.Attention to DetailQuestion 147. Tell me about a time when you caught a problem before it escalated.Question 148. Describe a time when your document-management skills benefited your department.Question 149. Tell me about an occasion when your attention to detail was recognized by management.Question 150. Describe a time when addressing a minor project detail made a significant difference in the outcome.Question 151. Recall a time when a thorough evaluation of events was critical to your company's success.Question 152. Give an example of a problem you solved with an obvious solution that was overlooked by others.Question 153. Tell me about an occasion when your precision was important in your work.Question 154. Describe a time when the attention you gave to your work led to additional responsibility.Question 155. Describe an occasion when you worked on a project that had little room for error.Question 156. Give an example of a time when you went beyond standard operating procedures to ensure that regulatory compliances were met.Question 157. Our slogan is "Better Quality, Better Entertainment." With that in mind, give an example of a time when you served that slogan in your previous (existing) position.Question 158. Tell me about a time when you analyzed a situation and found many mistakes had been made.Question 159. Recall a situation in which you used more than one skill at a time.Question 160. Give an example of a time when you participated in a team effort to complete a one-of-a-kind project.Chapter Ten. People SkillsTeam OrientationQuestion 161. Tell me about a situation in which you became aware of a serious mistake made by a colleague and what you did about it.Question 162. Describe an occasion when you believed in your company even when team members had lowered morale.Question 163. Describe a time when you were assigned a job-related task that you questioned.Question 164. Tell me about a time when another department's participation in a project depended on your completing a task first.Question 165. Describe a time when your team's effort did not meet your expectations.Question 166. Describe an occasion when you took direction from someone who was not your supervisor.Question 167. Recall a time when you had a difficult coworker as part of your team.Question 168. Tell me about a time you worked on a project when your role was not clearly defined.Question 169. Give an example of a situation in your current (past) position in which you adapted to the team environment.Question 170. Describe a time you took on a task that was outside the scope of your job description.Question 171. Describe a time when you worked on a project that was delayed through no fault of your own. How did you manage the situation?Question 172. Recall a time when you avoided getting involved in office politics.Question 173. Tell me about a time when you worked with someone who had a delicate ego.Customer ServiceQuestion 174. Describe the steps you take to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.Question 175. Describe a time when existing policies did not solve a customer's problem and the customer took his or her business elsewhere.Question 176. As much as we may try to keep customers satisfied, there are times when we drop the ball and they are dissatisfied. Describe a time when a customer had a problem with how you managed his or her account.Question 177. Tell me about your most memorable customer-service experience. What were the circumstances?Question 178. Recall the last time a client was dissatisfied with your customer service.Question 179. Describe a position in which you used technology in answering customer inquiries. What was the process?Question 180. Tell me about a specific instance in which your customer-service skills were praised.Question 181. Give me an example of an occasion when a customer withheld information you needed to solve a problem. How did you handle it?Question 182. Describe a time when you believed a system could be improved. What actions did you take?Question 183. Describe a time when you made a suggestion that improved customer relations.Question 184. Recall an occasion when you questioned your ability to do your job.CommunicationsQuestion 185. Give an example of a time when you worked with someone who had an accent.Question 186. Describe an occasion when your communication style got you out of a tight situation.Question 187. Recall a time when you did not communicate well. What were the results?Question 188. Describe a situation when you had to tell someone bad news.Question 189. Tell me about a time when you used your presentation skills to influence a client.Question 190. Both written and verbal communication skills are vitally important. This position relies heavily on e-mail communication. To help me assess your experience, describe a time when your written correspondence was well received.Question 191. Describe an experience in which you worked with a culturally diverse population.Question 192. Give me an example of when you managed to break a communications barrier.Question 193. Tell me about an occasion when you were optimistic while others around you were pessimistic.Question 194. Describe a time when you were required to write marketing copy.Question 195. Describe an occasion when you improved communications within your department.Question 196. Tell me about a time when you strengthened a relationship through training.Question 197. Give an example of an important written document you are required to write.Question 198. Recall a time when a team member criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond?Question 199. Describe a time when you were praised for your listening skills.Question 200. Describe a situation in which you found yourself dealing with someone with whose personality you clashed. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?Question 201. Tell about a time you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.Part Three. The End of the InterviewChapter Eleven. Closing the Job InterviewSome Closing MistakesThe Closing StatementChapter Twelve. The Interview Follow-UpFollowing-Up PointersCompetency-Based Follow-Up LettersAbout the Author
 
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