Archive for February, 2011

HR Interview-6…Continued

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Question 32 I’m concerned that you don’t have as much experience
as we’d like in…
TRAPS: This could be a make-or-break question. The interviewer mostly likes what he
sees, but has doubts over one key area. If you can assure him on this point, the job may
be yours.
BEST ANSWER: This question is related to “The Fatal Flaw” (Question 18), but here
the concern is not that you are totally missing some qualifications, such as CPA
certification, but rather that your experience is light in one area.
Before going into any interview, try to identify the weakest aspects of your candidacy
from this company’s point of view. Then prepare the best answer you possible can to
shore up your defenses.
To get past this question with flying colors, you are going to rely on your master strategy
of uncovering the employer’s greatest wants and needs and then matching them with
your strengths. Since you already know how to do this from Question 1, you are in a
much stronger position.More specifically, when the interviewer poses as objection like this, you should…
1. Agree on the importance of this qualification.
2. Explain that your strength may be indeed be greater than your resume
indicates because…
3. When this strength is added to your other strengths, it’s really your
combination of qualifications that’s most important.
Then review the areas of your greatest strengths that match up most favorably with the
company’s most urgently-felt wants and needs.
This is powerful way to handle this question for two reasons. First, you’re giving your
interviewer more ammunition in the area of his concern. But more importantly, you’re
shifting his focus away from this one, isolated area and putting it on the unique
combination of strengths you offer, strengths which tie in perfectly with his greatest

Question 33 How do you feel about working nights and weekends?
TRAPS: Blurt out “no way, Jose” and you can kiss the job offer goodbye. But what if
you have a family and want to work a reasonably normal schedule? Is there a way to
get both the job and the schedule you want?
BEST ANSWER: First, if you’re a confirmed workaholic, this question is a softball lob.
Whack it out of the park on the first swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your
style. Add that your family understands it. Indeed, they’re happy for you, as they know
you get your greatest satisfaction from your work.
If however, you prefer a more balanced lifestyle, answer this question with another:
“What’s the norm for your best people here?”
If the hours still sound unrealistic for you, ask, “Do you have any top people who perform
exceptionally for you, but who also have families and like to get home in time to see
them at night?” Chances are this company does, and this associates you with this other
“top-performers-who-leave-not-later-than-six” group.
Depending on the answer, be honest about how you would fit into the picture. If all
those extra hours make you uncomfortable, say so, but phrase your response positively.
Example: “I love my work and do it exceptionally well. I think the results speak for
themselves, especially in …(mention your two or three qualifications of greater interest
to the employer. Remember, this is what he wants most, not a workaholic with weak
credentials). Not only would I bring these qualities, but I’ve built my whole career on
working not just hard, but smart. I think you’ll find me one of the most productive people
I do have a family who likes to see me after work and on weekends. They add balance
and richness to my life, which in turn helps me be happy and productive at work. If I
could handle some of the extra work at home in the evenings or on weekends, that
64 Toughest Questions Page 23
would be ideal. You’d be getting a person of exceptional productivity who meets your
needs with strong credentials. And I’d be able to handle some of the heavy workload at
home where I can be under the same roof as my family. Everybody would win.”

Question 34 Are you willing to relocate or travel?
TRAPS: Answer with a flat “no” and you may slam the door shut on this opportunity.
But what if you’d really prefer not to relocate or travel, yet wouldn’t want to lose the job
offer over it?
BEST ANSWER: First find out where you may have to relocate and how much travel
may be involved. Then respond to the question.
If there’s no problem, say so enthusiastically.
If you do have a reservation, there are two schools of thought on how to handle it.
One advises you to keep your options open and your reservations to yourself in the early
going, by saying, “no problem”. You strategy here is to get the best offer you can, then
make a judgment whether it’s worth it to you to relocate or travel.
Also, by the time the offer comes through, you may have other offers and can make a
more informed decision. Why kill of this opportunity before it has chance to blossom into
something really special? And if you’re a little more desperate three months from now,
you might wish you hadn’t slammed the door on relocating or traveling.
The second way to handle this question is to voice a reservation, but assert that you’d
be open to relocating (or traveling) for the right opportunity.
The answering strategy you choose depends on how eager you are for the job. If you
want to take no chances, choose the first approach.
If you want to play a little harder-to-get in hopes of generating a more enticing offer,
choose the second.

Question 35 Do you have the stomach to fire people? Have you
had experience firing many people?
TRAPS: This “innocent” question could be a trap door which sends you down a chute
and lands you in a heap of dust outside the front door. Why? Because its real intent is
not just to see if you’ve got the stomach to fire, but also to uncover poor judgment in
hiring which has caused you to fire so many. Also, if you fire so often, you could be a
So don’t rise to the bait by boasting how many you’ve fired, unless you’ve prepared to
explain why it was beyond your control, and not the result of your poor hiring procedures
or foul temperament.

BEST ANSWER: Describe the rational and sensible management process you follow
in both hiring and firing.
Example: “My whole management approach is to hire the best people I can find, train
them thoroughly and well, get them excited and proud to be part of our team, and then
work with them to achieve our goals together. If you do all of that right, especially hiring
the right people, I’ve found you don’t have to fire very often.
“So with me, firing is a last resort. But when it’s got to be done, it’s got to be done, and
the faster and cleaner, the better. A poor employee can wreak terrible damage in
undermining the morale of an entire team of good people. When there’s no other way,
I’ve found it’s better for all concerned to act decisively in getting rid of offenders who
won’t change their ways.”

HR Interview-5…Continued

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Question 20 On confidential matters…
TRAPS: When an interviewer presses you to reveal confidential information about a
present or former employer, you may feel it’s a no-win situation. If you cooperate, you
could be judged untrustworthy. If you don’t, you may irritate the interviewer and seem
obstinate, uncooperative or overly suspicious.
BEST ANSWER: Your interviewer may press you for this information for two reasons.
First, many companies use interviews to research the competition. It’s a perfect set-up.
Here in their own lair, is an insider from the enemy camp who can reveal prized
information on the competition’s plans, research, financial condition, etc.Second, the company may be testing your integrity to see if you can be cajoled or bullied
into revealing confidential data.
What to do? The answer here is easy. Never reveal anything truly confidential about a
present or former employer. By all means, explain your reticence diplomatically. For
example, “I certainly want to be as open as I can about that. But I also wish to respect
the rights of those who have trusted me with their most sensitive information, just as you
would hope to be able to trust any of your key people when talking with a competitor…”
And certainly you can allude to your finest achievements in specific ways that don’t
reveal the combination to the company safe.
But be guided by the golden rule. If you were the owner of your present company, would
you feel it ethically wrong for the information to be given to your competitors? If so,
steadfastly refuse to reveal it.
Remember that this question pits your desire to be cooperative against your integrity.
Faced with any such choice, always choose integrity. It is a far more valuable
commodity than whatever information the company may pry from you. Moreover, once
you surrender the information, your stock goes down. They will surely lose respect for
One President we know always presses candidates unmercifully for confidential
information. If he doesn’t get it, he grows visibly annoyed, relentlessly inquisitive, It’s all
an act. He couldn’t care less about the information. This is his way of testing the
candidate’s moral fiber. Only those who hold fast are hired.

Question 21 Would you lie for the company?
TRAPS: This another question that pits two values against one another, in this case
loyalty against integrity.
BEST ANSWER: Try to avoid choosing between two values, giving a positive statement
which covers all bases instead.
Example: “I would never do anything to hurt the company..”
If aggressively pressed to choose between two competing values, always choose
personal integrity. It is the most prized of all values.

Question 22 Looking back, what would you do differently in your
TRAPS: This question is usually asked to uncover any life-influencing mistakes, regrets,
disappointments or problems that may continue to affect your personality and
performance.You do not want to give the interviewer anything negative to remember you by, such as
some great personal or career disappointment, even long ago, that you wish could have
been avoided.
Nor do you wish to give any answer which may hint that your whole heart and soul will
not be in your work.
BEST ANSWER: Indicate that you are a happy, fulfilled, optimistic person and that, in
general, you wouldn’t change a thing.
Example: “It’s been a good life, rich in learning and experience, and the best it yet to
come. Every experience in life is a lesson it its own way. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Question 23 Could you have done better in your last job?
TRAPS: This is no time for true confessions of major or even minor problems.
BEST ANSWER: Again never be negative.
Example: “I suppose with the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do
better, of course, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything of major
(If more explanation seems necessary)
Describer a situation that didn’t suffer because of you but from external conditions
beyond your control.
For example, describe the disappointment you felt with a test campaign, new product
launch, merger, etc., which looked promising at first, but led to underwhelming results. “I
wish we could have known at the start what we later found out (about the economy
turning, the marketplace changing, etc.), but since we couldn’t, we just had to go for it.
And we did learn from it…”

Question 24 Can you work under pressure?
TRAPS: An easy question, but you want to make your answer believable.
BEST ANSWER: Absolutely…(then prove it with a vivid example or two of a goal or
project accomplished under severe pressure.)

Question 25 What makes you angry?
TRAPS: You don’t want to come across either as a hothead or a wimp.
BEST ANSWER: Give an answer that’s suited to both your personality and the
management style of the firm. Here, the homework you’ve done about the company and
its style can help in your choice of words.

Examples: If you are a reserved person and/or the corporate culture is coolly
“I’m an even-tempered and positive person by nature, and I believe this helps me a great
deal in keeping my department running smoothly, harmoniously and with a genuine
esprit de corps. I believe in communicating clearly what’s expected, getting people’s
commitment to those goals, and then following up continuously to check progress.”
“If anyone or anything is going off track, I want to know about it early. If, after that kind
of open communication and follow up, someone isn’t getting the job done, I’ll want to
know why. If there’s no good reason, then I’ll get impatient and angry…and take
appropriate steps from there. But if you hire good people, motivate them to strive for
excellence and then follow up constantly, it almost never gets to that state.”
If you are feisty by nature and/or the position calls for a tough straw boss.
“You know what makes me angry? People who (the fill in the blanks with the most
objectionable traits for this type of position)…people who don’t pull their own weight, who
are negative, people who lie…etc.”

Question 26 Why aren’t you earning more money at this stage of
your career?
TRAPS: You don’t want to give the impression that money is not important to you, yet
you want to explain why your salary may be a little below industry standards.
BEST ANSWER: You like to make money, but other factors are even more important.
Example: “Making money is very important to me, and one reason I’m here is because
I’m looking to make more. Throughout my career, what’s been even more important to
me is doing work I really like to do at the kind of company I like and respect.
(Then be prepared to be specific about what your ideal position and company would be
like, matching them as closely as possible to the opportunity at hand.

Question 27 Who has inspired you in your life and why?
TRAPS: The two traps here are unpreparedness and irrelevance. If you grope for an
answer, it seems you’ve never been inspired. If you ramble about your high school
basketball coach, you’ve wasted an opportunity to present qualities of great value to the
BEST ANSWER: Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of Directors” –
Leaders in your industry, from history or anyone else who has been your mentor.
Be prepared to give examples of how their words, actions or teachings have helped
inspire your achievements. As always, prepare an answer which highlights qualities that
would be highly valuable in the position you are seeking.

Question 28 What was the toughest decision you ever had to
TRAPS: Giving an unprepared or irrelevant answer.
BEST ANSWER: Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the decision was
difficult…the process you followed in reaching it…the courageous or effective way you
carried it out…and the beneficial results.

Question 29 Tell me about the most boring job you’ve ever had.
TRAPS: You give a very memorable description of a very boring job. Result? You
become associated with this boring job in the interviewer’s mind.
BEST ANSWER: You have never allowed yourself to grow bored with a job and you
can’t understand it when others let themselves fall into that rut.
Example: “Perhaps I’ve been fortunate, but that I’ve never found myself bored with any
job I have ever held. I’ve always enjoyed hard work. As with actors who feel there are
no small parts, I also believe that in every company or department there are exciting
challenges and intriguing problems crying out for energetic and enthusiastic solutions. If
you’re bored, it’s probably because you’re not challenging yourself to tackle those
problems right under your nose.”

Question 30 Have you been absent from work more than a few
days in any previous position?
TRAPS: If you’ve had a problem, you can’t lie. You could easily be found out. Yet
admitting an attendance problem could raise many flags.
BEST ANSWER: If you have had no problem, emphasize your excellent and consistent
attendance record throughout your career.
Also describe how important you believe such consistent attendance is for a key
executive…why it’s up to you to set an example of dedication…and why there’s just no
substitute for being there with your people to keep the operation running smoothly,
answer questions and handle problems and crises as they arise.
If you do have a past attendance problem, you want to minimize it, making it clear that it
was an exceptional circumstance and that it’s cause has been corrected.
To do this, give the same answer as above but preface it with something like, “Other that
being out last year (or whenever) because of (your reason, which is now in the past), I
have never had a problem and have enjoyed an excellent attendance record throughout
my career. Furthermore, I believe, consistent attendance is important because…” (Pick
up the rest of the answer as outlined above.).

Question 31 What changes would you make if you came on board?
TRAPS: Watch out! This question can derail your candidacy faster than a bomb on the
tracks – and just as you are about to be hired.
Reason: No matter how bright you are, you cannot know the right actions to take in a
position before you settle in and get to know the operation’s strengths, weaknesses key
people, financial condition, methods of operation, etc. If you lunge at this temptingly
baited question, you will probably be seen as someone who shoots from the hip.
Moreover, no matter how comfortable you may feel with your interviewer, you are still an
outsider. No one, including your interviewer, likes to think that a know-it-all outsider is
going to come in, turn the place upside down and with sweeping, grand gestures,
promptly demonstrate what jerks everybody’s been for years.
BEST ANSWER: You, of course, will want to take a good hard look at everything the
company is doing before making any recommendations.
Example: “Well, I wouldn’t be a very good doctor if I gave my diagnosis before the
examination. Should you hire me, as I hope you will, I’d want to take a good hard look at
everything you’re doing and understand why it’s being done that way. I’d like to have indepth
meetings with you and the other key people to get a deeper grasp of what you feel
you’re doing right and what could be improved.
“From what you’ve told me so far, the areas of greatest concern to you are…” (name
them. Then do two things. First, ask if these are in fact his major concerns. If so then
reaffirm how your experience in meeting similar needs elsewhere might prove very

HR Interview-4…Continued

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Question 15 What good books have you read lately?
TRAPS: As in all matters of your interview, never fake familiarity you don’t have. Yet
you don’t want to seem like a dullard who hasn’t read a book since Tom Sawyer.
BEST ANSWER: Unless you’re up for a position in academia or as book critic for The
New York Times, you’re not expected to be a literary lion. But it wouldn’t hurt to have
read a handful of the most recent and influential books in your profession and on
Consider it part of the work of your job search to read up on a few of these leading
books. But make sure they are quality books that reflect favorably upon you, nothing
that could even remotely be considered superficial. Finally, add a recently published
bestselling work of fiction by a world-class author and you’ll pass this question with flying

Question 16 Tell me about a situation when your work was
TRAPS: This is a tough question because it’s a more clever and subtle way to get you
to admit to a weakness. You can’t dodge it by pretending you’ve never been criticized.
Everybody has been. Yet it can be quite damaging to start admitting potential faults and
failures that you’d just as soon leave buried.
This question is also intended to probe how well you accept criticism and direction.
BEST ANSWERS: Begin by emphasizing the extremely positive feedback you’ve gotten
throughout your career and (if it’s true) that your performance reviews have been
uniformly excellent.
Of course, no one is perfect and you always welcome suggestions on how to improve
your performance. Then, give an example of a not-too-damaging learning experience
from early in your career and relate the ways this lesson has since helped you. This
demonstrates that you learned from the experience and the lesson is now one of the
strongest breastplates in your suit of armor.
If you are pressed for a criticism from a recent position, choose something fairly trivial
that in no way is essential to your successful performance. Add that you’ve learned from
this, too, and over the past several years/months, it’s no longer an area of concern
because you now make it a regular practice to…etc.
Another way to answer this question would be to describe your intention to broaden your
master of an area of growing importance in your field. For example, this might be a
computer program you’ve been meaning to sit down and learn… a new management
technique you’ve read about…or perhaps attending a seminar on some cutting-edge
branch of your profession.
Again, the key is to focus on something not essential to your brilliant performance but
which adds yet another dimension to your already impressive knowledge base.

Question 17 What are your outside interests?
TRAPS: You want to be a well-rounded, not a drone. But your potential employer
would be even more turned off if he suspects that your heavy extracurricular load will
interfere with your commitment to your work duties.
BEST ANSWERS: Try to gauge how this company’s culture would look upon your
favorite outside activities and be guided accordingly.
You can also use this question to shatter any stereotypes that could limit your chances.
If you’re over 50, for example, describe your activities that demonstrate physical
stamina. If you’re young, mention an activity that connotes wisdom and institutional
trust, such as serving on the board of a popular charity.
But above all, remember that your employer is hiring your for what you can do for him,
not your family, yourself or outside organizations, no matter how admirable those
activities may be.

Question 18 The “Fatal Flaw” question
TRAPS: If an interviewer has read your resume carefully, he may try to zero in on a
“fatal flaw” of your candidacy, perhaps that you don’t have a college degree…you’ve
been out of the job market for some time…you never earned your CPA, etc.
A fatal flaw question can be deadly, but usually only if you respond by being overly
BEST ANSWERS: As every master salesperson knows, you will encounter objections
(whether stated or merely thought) in every sale. They’re part and parcel of the buyer’s
anxiety. The key is not to exacerbate the buyer’s anxiety but diminish it. Here’s how…
Whenever you come up against a fatal flaw question:
1. Be completely honest, open and straightforward about admitting the
shortcoming. (Showing you have nothing to hide diminishes the buyer’s
2. Do not apologize or try to explain it away. You know that this supposed flaw
is nothing to be concerned about, and this is the attitude you want your
interviewer to adopt as well.
3. Add that as desirable as such a qualification might be, its lack has made you
work all the harder throughout your career and has not prevented you from
compiling an outstanding tack record of achievements. You might even give
examples of how, through a relentless commitment to excellence, you have
consistently outperformed those who do have this qualification.
Of course, the ultimate way to handle “fatal flaw” questions is to prevent them from
arising in the first place. You will do that by following the master strategy described in
Question 1, i.e., uncovering the employers needs and them matching your qualifications
to those needs.Once you’ve gotten the employer to start talking about his most urgently-felt wants and
goals for the position, and then help him see in step-by-step fashion how perfectly your
background and achievements match up with those needs, you’re going to have one
very enthusiastic interviewer on your hands, one who is no longer looking for “fatal

Question 19 How do you feel about reporting to a younger person
(minority, woman, etc)?
TRAPS: It’s a shame that some interviewers feel the need to ask this question, but
many understand the reality that prejudices still exist among some job candidates, and
it’s better to try to flush them out beforehand.
The trap here is that in today’s politically sensitized environment, even a well-intentioned
answer can result in planting your foot neatly in your mouth. Avoid anything which
smacks of a patronizing or an insensitive attitude, such as “I think they make terrific
bosses” or “Hey, some of my best friends are…”
Of course, since almost anyone with an IQ above room temperature will at least try to
steadfastly affirm the right answer here, your interviewer will be judging your sincerity
most of all. “Do you really feel that way?” is what he or she will be wondering.
So you must make your answer believable and not just automatic. If the firm is wise
enough to have promoted peopled on the basis of ability alone, they’re likely quite proud
of it, and prefer to hire others who will wholeheartedly share their strong sense of fair
BEST ANSWER: You greatly admire a company that hires and promotes on merit alone
and you couldn’t agree more with that philosophy. The age (gender, race, etc.) of the
person you report to would certainly make no difference to you.
Whoever has that position has obviously earned it and knows their job well. Both the
person and the position are fully deserving of respect. You believe that all people in a
company, from the receptionist to the Chairman, work best when their abilities, efforts
and feelings are respected and rewarded fairly, and that includes you. That’s the best
type of work environment you can hope to find.

HR Interview-3…Continued

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Question 9 Where do you see yourself five years from now?
TRAPS: One reason interviewers ask this question is to see if you’re settling for this
position, using it merely as a stopover until something better comes along. Or they
could be trying to gauge your level of ambition.
If you’re too specific, i.e., naming the promotions you someday hope to win, you’ll sound
presumptuous. If you’re too vague, you’ll seem rudderless.
BEST ANSWER: Reassure your interviewer that you’re looking to make a long-term
commitment…that this position entails exactly what you’re looking to do and what you do
extremely well. As for your future, you believe that if you perform each job at hand with
excellence, future opportunities will take care of themselves.
Example: “I am definitely interested in making a long-term commitment to my next
position. Judging by what you’ve told me about this position, it’s exactly what I’m looking
for and what I am very well qualified to do. In terms of my future career path, I’m
confident that if I do my work with excellence, opportunities will inevitable open up for
me. It’s always been that way in my career, and I’m confident I’ll have similar
opportunities here.”

Question 10 Describe your ideal company, location and job.
TRAPS: This is often asked by an experienced interviewer who thinks you may be
overqualified, but knows better than to show his hand by posing his objection directly.
So he’ll use this question instead, which often gets a candidate to reveal that, indeed, he
or she is looking for something other than the position at hand.
BEST ANSWER: The only right answer is to describe what this company is offering,
being sure to make your answer believable with specific reasons, stated with sincerity,
why each quality represented by this opportunity is attractive to you.
Remember that if you’re coming from a company that’s the leader in its field or from a
glamorous or much admired company, industry, city or position, your interviewer and his
company may well have an “Avis” complex. That is, they may feel a bit defensive about
being “second best” to the place you’re coming from, worried that you may consider
them bush league.
This anxiety could well be there even though you’ve done nothing to inspire it. You must
go out of your way to assuage such anxiety, even if it’s not expressed, by putting their
virtues high on the list of exactly what you’re looking for, providing credible reason for
wanting these qualities.
If you do not express genuine enthusiasm for the firm, its culture, location, industry, etc.,
you may fail to answer this “Avis” complex objection and, as a result, leave the
interviewer suspecting that a hot shot like you, coming from a Fortune 500 company in
New York, just wouldn’t be happy at an unknown manufacturer based in Topeka,

Question 11 Why do you want to work at our company?
TRAPS: This question tests whether you’ve done any homework about the firm. If you
haven’t, you lose. If you have, you win big.
BEST ANSWER: This question is your opportunity to hit the ball out of the park, thanks
to the in-depth research you should do before any interview.
Best sources for researching your target company: annual reports, the corporate
newsletter, contacts you know at the company or its suppliers, advertisements, articles
about the company in the trade press.

Question 12 What are your career options right now?
TRAPS: The interviewer is trying to find out, “How desperate are you?”
BEST ANSWER: Prepare for this question by thinking of how you can position yourself
as a desired commodity. If you are still working, describe the possibilities at your
present firm and why, though you’re greatly appreciated there, you’re looking for
something more (challenge, money, responsibility, etc.). Also mention that you’re
seriously exploring opportunities with one or two other firms.If you’re not working, you can talk about other employment possibilities you’re actually
exploring. But do this with a light touch, speaking only in general terms. You don’t want
to seem manipulative or coy.
Question 13 Why have you been out of work so long?
TRAPS: A tough question if you’ve been on the beach a long time. You don’t want to
seem like damaged goods.
BEST ANSWER: You want to emphasize factors which have prolonged your job search
by your own choice.
Example: “After my job was terminated, I made a conscious decision not to jump on the
first opportunities to come along. In my life, I’ve found out that you can always turn a
negative into a positive IF you try hard enough. This is what I determined to do. I
decided to take whatever time I needed to think through what I do best, what I most want
to do, where I’d like to do it…and then identify those companies that could offer such an
“Also, in all honesty, you have to factor in the recession (consolidation, stabilization, etc.)
in the (banking, financial services, manufacturing, advertising, etc.) industry.”
“So between my being selective and the companies in our industry downsizing, the
process has taken time. But in the end, I’m convinced that when I do find the right
match, all that careful evaluation from both sides of the desk will have been well
worthwhile for both the company that hires me and myself.

Question 14 Tell me honestly about the strong points and weak
points of your boss (company, management team,
TRAPS: Skillfull interviewers sometimes make it almost irresistible to open up and air a
little dirty laundry from your previous position. DON’T
BEST ANSWER: Remember the rule: Never be negative. Stress only the good points,
no matter how charmingly you’re invited to be critical.
Your interviewer doesn’t care a whit about your previous boss. He wants to find out how
loyal and positive you are, and whether you’ll criticize him behind his back if pressed to
do so by someone in this own company. This question is your opportunity to
demonstrate your loyalty to those you work with.


HR Interview-2…Continued

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Question 4 Tell me about something you did – or failed to do – that
you now feel a little ashamed of.
TRAPS: There are some questions your interviewer has no business asking, and this is
one. But while you may feel like answering, “none of your business,” naturally you can’t.
Some interviewers ask this question on the chance you admit to something, but if not, at
least they’ll see how you think on your feet.
Some unprepared candidates, flustered by this question, unburden themselves of guilt
from their personal life or career, perhaps expressing regrets regarding a parent,
spouse, child, etc. All such answers can be disastrous.
BEST ANSWER: As with faults and weaknesses, never confess a regret. But don’t
seem as if you’re stonewalling either.
Best strategy: Say you harbor no regrets, then add a principle or habit you practice
regularly for healthy human relations.
Example: Pause for reflection, as if the question never occurred to you. Then say, “You
know, I really can’t think of anything.” (Pause again, then add): “I would add that as a
general management principle, I’ve found that the best way to avoid regrets is to avoid
causing them in the first place. I practice one habit that helps me a great deal in this
regard. At the end of each day, I mentally review the day’s events and conversations to
take a second look at the people and developments I’m involved with and do adoublecheck of what they’re likely to be feeling. Sometimes I’ll see things that do need
more follow-up, whether a pat on the back, or maybe a five minute chat in someone’s
office to make sure we’re clear on things…whatever.”
“I also like to make each person feel like a member of an elite team, like the Boston
Celtics or LA Lakers in their prime. I’ve found that if you let each team member know
you expect excellence in their performance…if you work hard to set an example
yourself…and if you let people know you appreciate and respect their feelings, you wind
up with a highly motivated group, a team that’s having fun at work because they’re
striving for excellence rather than brooding over slights or regrets.”
Question 5 Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?
TRAPS: Never badmouth your previous industry, company, board, boss, staff,
employees or customers. This rule is inviolable: never be negative. Any mud you hurl
will only soil your suit.
Especially avoid words like “personality clash”, “didn’t get along”, or others which cast a
shadow on your competence, integrity, or temperament.
(If you have a job presently)
If you’re not yet 100% committed to leaving your present post, don’t be afraid to say so.
Since you have a job, you are in a stronger position than someone who does not. But
don’t be coy either. State honestly what you’d be hoping to find in a new spot. Of
course, as stated often before, you answer will all the stronger if you have already
uncovered what this position is all about and you match your desires to it.
(If you do not presently have a job.)
Never lie about having been fired. It’s unethical – and too easily checked. But do try to
deflect the reason from you personally. If your firing was the result of a takeover,
merger, division wide layoff, etc., so much the better.
But you should also do something totally unnatural that will demonstrate consummate
professionalism. Even if it hurts , describe your own firing – candidly, succinctly and
without a trace of bitterness – from the company’s point-of-view, indicating that you
could understand why it happened and you might have made the same decision
Your stature will rise immensely and, most important of all, you will show you are healed
from the wounds inflicted by the firing. You will enhance your image as first-class
management material and stand head and shoulders above the legions of firing victims
who, at the slightest provocation, zip open their shirts to expose their battle scars and
decry the unfairness of it all.
For all prior positions:
Make sure you’ve prepared a brief reason for leaving. Best reasons: more money,
opportunity, responsibility or growth.Question

6 The “Silent Treatment”
TRAPS: Beware – if you are unprepared for this question, you will probably not handle
it right and possibly blow the interview. Thank goodness most interviewers don’t employ
it. It’s normally used by those determined to see how you respond under stress. Here’s
how it works:
You answer an interviewer’s question and then, instead of asking another, he just stares
at you in a deafening silence.
You wait, growing a bit uneasy, and there he sits, silent as Mt. Rushmore, as if he
doesn’t believe what you’ve just said, or perhaps making you feel that you’ve unwittingly
violated some cardinal rule of interview etiquette.
When you get this silent treatment after answering a particularly difficult question , such
as “tell me about your weaknesses”, its intimidating effect can be most disquieting, even
to polished job hunters.
Most unprepared candidates rush in to fill the void of silence, viewing prolonged,
uncomfortable silences as an invitation to clear up the previous answer which has
obviously caused some problem. And that’s what they do – ramble on, sputtering more
and more information, sometimes irrelevant and often damaging, because they are
suddenly playing the role of someone who’s goofed and is now trying to recoup. But
since the candidate doesn’t know where or how he goofed, he just keeps talking,
showing how flustered and confused he is by the interviewer’s unmovable silence.
BEST ANSWER: Like a primitive tribal mask, the Silent Treatment loses all it power to
frighten you once you refuse to be intimidated. If your interviewer pulls it, keep quiet
yourself for a while and then ask, with sincere politeness and not a trace of sarcasm, “Is
there anything else I can fill in on that point?” That’s all there is to it.
Whatever you do, don’t let the Silent Treatment intimidate you into talking a blue streak,
because you could easily talk yourself out of the position.


Question 7 Why should I hire you?
TRAPS: Believe it or not, this is a killer question because so many candidates are
unprepared for it. If you stammer or adlib you’ve blown it.
BEST ANSWER: By now you can see how critical it is to apply the overall strategy of
uncovering the employer’s needs before you answer questions. If you know the
employer’s greatest needs and desires, this question will give you a big leg up over other
candidates because you will give him better reasons for hiring you than anyone else is
likely to…reasons tied directly to his needs.
Whether your interviewer asks you this question explicitly or not, this is the most
important question of your interview because he must answer this question favorably in
is own mind before you will be hired. So help him out! Walk through each of theposition’s requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason why you
meet that requirement so well.
Example: “As I understand your needs, you are first and foremost looking for someone
who can manage the sales and marketing of your book publishing division. As you’ve
said you need someone with a strong background in trade book sales. This is where
I’ve spent almost all of my career, so I’ve chalked up 18 years of experience exactly in
this area. I believe that I know the right contacts, methods, principles, and successful
management techniques as well as any person can in our industry.”
“You also need someone who can expand your book distribution channels. In my prior
post, my innovative promotional ideas doubled, then tripled, the number of outlets selling
our books. I’m confident I can do the same for you.”
“You need someone to give a new shot in the arm to your mail order sales, someone
who knows how to sell in space and direct mail media. Here, too, I believe I have
exactly the experience you need. In the last five years, I’ve increased our mail order
book sales from $600,000 to $2,800,000, and now we’re the country’s second leading
marketer of scientific and medical books by mail.” Etc., etc., etc.,
Every one of these selling “couplets” (his need matched by your qualifications) is a
touchdown that runs up your score. IT is your best opportunity to outsell your
Question 8 Aren’t you overqualified for this position?
TRAPS: The employer may be concerned that you’ll grow dissatisfied and leave.
BEST ANSWER: As with any objection, don’t view this as a sign of imminent defeat.
It’s an invitation to teach the interviewer a new way to think about this situation, seeing
advantages instead of drawbacks.
Example: “I recognize the job market for what it is – a marketplace. Like any
marketplace, it’s subject to the laws of supply and demand. So ‘overqualified’ can be a
relative term, depending on how tight the job market is. And right now, it’s very tight. I
understand and accept that.”
“I also believe that there could be very positive benefits for both of us in this match.”
“Because of my unusually strong experience in ________________ , I could start to
contribute right away, perhaps much faster than someone who’d have to be brought
along more slowly.”
“There’s also the value of all the training and years of experience that other companies
have invested tens of thousands of dollars to give me. You’d be getting all the value of
that without having to pay an extra dime for it. With someone who has yet to acquire
that experience, he’d have to gain it on your nickel.”“I could also help you in many things they don’t teach at the Harvard Business School.
For example…(how to hire, train, motivate, etc.) When it comes to knowing how to work
well with people and getting the most out of them, there’s just no substitute for what you
learn over many years of front-line experience. You company would gain all this, too.”
“From my side, there are strong benefits, as well. Right now, I am unemployed. I want
to work, very much, and the position you have here is exactly what I love to do and am
best at. I’ll be happy doing this work and that’s what matters most to me, a lot more that
money or title.”
“Most important, I’m looking to make a long term commitment in my career now. I’ve had
enough of job-hunting and want a permanent spot at this point in my career. I also know
that if I perform this job with excellence, other opportunities cannot help but open up for
me right here. In time, I’ll find many other ways to help this company and in so doing,
help myself. I really am looking to make a long-term commitment.”
NOTE: The main concern behind the “overqualified” question is that you will leave your
new employer as soon as something better comes your way. Anything you can say to
demonstrate the sincerity of your commitment to the employer and reassure him that
you’re looking to stay for the long-term will help you overcome this objection.

HR Interview-1

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

General Guidelines
in Answering Interview Questions
Everyone is nervous on interviews. If you simply allow yourself to feel nervous, you’ll do
much better. Remember also that it’s difficult for the interviewer as well.
In general, be upbeat and positive. Never be negative.
Rehearse your answers and time them. Never talk for more than 2 minutes straight.
Don’t try to memorize answers word for word. Use the answers shown here as a guide
only, and don’t be afraid to include your own thoughts and words. To help you remember
key concepts, jot down and review a few key words for each answer. Rehearse your
answers frequently, and they will come to you naturally in interviews.
As you will read in the accompanying report, the single most important strategy in
interviewing, as in all phases of your job search, is what we call: “The Greatest
Executive Job Finding Secret.” And that is…
Find out what people want, than show them how you can help them get it.
Find out what an employer wants most in his or her ideal candidate, then show how you
meet those qualifications.
In other words, you must match your abilities, with the needs of the employer. You must
sell what the buyer is buying. To do that, before you know what to emphasize in your
answers, you must find out what the buyer is buying… what he is looking for. And the
best way to do that is to ask a few questions yourself.
You will see how to bring this off skillfully as you read the first two questions of this
report. But regardless of how you accomplish it, you must remember this strategy above
all: before blurting out your qualifications, you must get some idea of what the employer
wants most. Once you know what he wants, you can then present your qualifications as
the perfect “key” that fits the “lock” of that position.
· Other important interview strategies:
· Turn weaknesses into strengths (You’ll see how to do this in a few moments.)
· Think before you answer. A pause to collect your thoughts is a hallmark of a
thoughtful person.
As a daily exercise, practice being more optimistic. For example, try putting a positive
spin on events and situations you would normally regard as negative. This is not meant
to turn you into a Pollyanna, but to sharpen your selling skills. The best salespeople, as
well as the best liked interview candidates, come off as being naturally optimistic, “can
do” people. You will dramatically raise your level of attractiveness by daily practicing to
be more optimistic.
Be honest…never lie.

Keep an interview diary. Right after each interview note what you did right, what could
have gone a little better, and what steps you should take next with this contact. Then
take those steps. Don’t be like the 95% of humanity who say they will follow up on
something, but never do.
About the 64 questions…
You might feel that the answers to the following questions are “canned”, and that they
will seldom match up with the exact way you are asked the questions in actual
interviews. The questions and answers are designed to be as specific and realistic as
possible. But no preparation can anticipate thousands of possible variations on these
questions. What’s important is that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the main
strategies behind each answer. And it will be invaluable to you if you commit to memory
a few key words that let you instantly call to mind your best answer to the various
questions. If you do this, and follow the principles of successful interviewing presented
here, you’re going to do very well.
Good luck…and good job-hunting!


Question 1 Tell me about yourself.
TRAPS: Beware, about 80% of all interviews begin with this “innocent” question. Many
candidates, unprepared for the question, skewer themselves by rambling, recapping
their life story, delving into ancient work history or personal matters.
BEST ANSWER: Start with the present and tell why you are well qualified for the
position. Remember that the key to all successful interviewing is to match your
qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. In other words you must sell what the
buyer is buying. This is the single most important strategy in job hunting.
So, before you answer this or any question it’s imperative that you try to uncover your
interviewer’s greatest need, want, problem or goal.
To do so, make you take these two steps:
1. Do all the homework you can before the interview to uncover this person’s wants
and needs (not the generalized needs of the industry or company)
2. As early as you can in the interview, ask for a more complete description of what
the position entails. You might say: “I have a number of accomplishments I’d like
to tell you about, but I want to make the best use of our time together and talk
directly to your needs. To help me do, that, could you tell me more about the
most important priorities of this position? All I know is what I (heard from the
recruiter, read in the classified ad, etc.)”
Then, ALWAYS follow-up with a second and possibly, third question, to draw out his
needs even more. Surprisingly, it’s usually this second or third question that unearths
what the interviewer is most looking for.
You might ask simply, “And in addition to that?…” or, “Is there anything else you see as
essential to success in this position?:
This process will not feel easy or natural at first, because it is easier simply to answer
questions, but only if you uncover the employer’s wants and needs will your answers
make the most sense. Practice asking these key questions before giving your answers,
the process will feel more natural and you will be light years ahead of the other job
candidates you’re competing with.
After uncovering what the employer is looking for, describe why the needs of this job
bear striking parallels to tasks you’ve succeeded at before. Be sure to illustrate with
specific examples of your responsibilities and especially your achievements, all of which
are geared to present yourself as a perfect match for the needs he has just described.

Question 2 What are your greatest strengths?
TRAPS: This question seems like a softball lob, but be prepared. You don’t want to
come across as egotistical or arrogant. Neither is this a time to be humble.
BEST ANSWER: You know that your key strategy is to first uncover your interviewer’s
greatest wants and needs before you answer questions. And from Question 1, you know
how to do this.
Prior to any interview, you should have a list mentally prepared of your greatest
strengths. You should also have, a specific example or two, which illustrates each
strength, an example chosen from your most recent and most impressive achievements.
You should, have this list of your greatest strengths and corresponding examples from
your achievements so well committed to memory that you can recite them cold after
being shaken awake at 2:30AM.
Then, once you uncover your interviewer’s greatest wants and needs, you can choose
those achievements from your list that best match up.
As a general guideline, the 10 most desirable traits that all employers love to see in their
employees are:
1. A proven track record as an achiever…especially if your achievements match
up with the employer’s greatest wants and needs.
2. Intelligence…management “savvy”.
3. Honesty…integrity…a decent human being.
4. Good fit with corporate culture…someone to feel comfortable with…a team
player who meshes well with interviewer’s team.
5. Likeability…positive attitude…sense of humor.
6. Good communication skills.
7. Dedication…willingness to walk the extra mile to achieve excellence.
8. Definiteness of purpose…clear goals.
9. Enthusiasm…high level of motivation.
10. Confident…healthy…a leader.


Question 3 What are your greatest weaknesses?
TRAPS: Beware – this is an eliminator question, designed to shorten the candidate list.
Any admission of a weakness or fault will earn you an “A” for honesty, but an “F” for the
PASSABLE ANSWER: Disguise a strength as a weakness.
Example: “I sometimes push my people too hard. I like to work with a sense of urgency
and everyone is not always on the same wavelength.”
Drawback: This strategy is better than admitting a flaw, but it’s so widely used, it istransparent to any experienced interviewer.BEST ANSWER: (and another reason it’s so important to get a thorough description of
your interviewer’s needs before you answer questions): Assure the interviewer that you
can think of nothing that would stand in the way of your performing in this position with
excellence. Then, quickly review you strongest qualifications.
Example: “Nobody’s perfect, but based on what you’ve told me about this position, I
believe I’ d make an outstanding match. I know that when I hire people, I look for two
things most of all. Do they have the qualifications to do the job well, and the motivation
to do it well? Everything in my background shows I have both the qualifications and a
strong desire to achieve excellence in whatever I take on. So I can say in all honesty that
I see nothing that would cause you even a small concern about my ability or my strong
desire to perform this job with excellence.”
Alternate strategy (if you don’t yet know enough about the position to talk about such a
perfect fit):
Instead of confessing a weakness, describe what you like most and like least, making
sure that what you like most matches up with the most important qualification for
success in the position, and what you like least is not essential.
Example: Let’s say you’re applying for a teaching position. “If given a choice, I like to
spend as much time as possible in front of my prospects selling, as opposed to shuffling
paperwork back at the office. Of course, I long ago learned the importance of filing
paperwork properly, and I do it conscientiously. But what I really love to do is sell (if your
interviewer were a sales manager, this should be music to his ears.)

PHP-MYSQL Interview Questions and Answers

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

How many ways can we get the value of current session id?

session_id() returns the session id for the current session.

What is the difference between mysql_fetch_object and mysql_fetch_array?

MySQL fetch object will collect first single matching record where mysql_fetch_array will collect all matching records from the table in an array

What is meant by urlencode and urldecode?

Anwser 1:
urlencode() returns the URL encoded version of the given string. URL coding converts special characters into % signs followed by two hex digits. For example: urlencode(“10.00%”) will return “10%2E00%25”. URL encoded strings are safe to be used as part of URLs.
urldecode() returns the URL decoded version of the given string.

Anwser 2:
string urlencode(str) – Returns the URL encoded version of the input string. String values to be used in URL query string need to be URL encoded. In the URL encoded version:

Alphanumeric characters are maintained as is.
Space characters are converted to “+” characters.
Other non-alphanumeric characters are converted “%” followed by two hex digits representing the converted character.

string urldecode(str) – Returns the original string of the input URL encoded string.

For example:

$discount =”10.00%”;
$url = “”.urlencode($discount);
echo $url;

You will get “”.

What is the difference between $message and $$message?

Anwser 1:
$message is a simple variable whereas $$message is a reference variable. Example:
$user = ‘bob’

is equivalent to

$holder = ‘user’;
$$holder = ‘bob’;

Anwser 2:
They are both variables. But $message is a variable with a fixed name. $$message is a variable who’s name is stored in $message. For example, if $message contains “var”, $$message is the same as $var.

What does a special set of tags do in PHP?

What does a special set of tags <?= and ?> do in PHP?
The output is displayed directly to the browser.

What Is a Persistent Cookie?

A persistent cookie is a cookie which is stored in a cookie file permanently on the browser’s computer. By default, cookies are created as temporary cookies which stored only in the browser’s memory. When the browser is closed, temporary cookies will be erased. You should decide when to use temporary cookies and when to use persistent cookies based on their differences:

  • Temporary cookies can not be used for tracking long-term information.
  • Persistent cookies can be used for tracking long-term information.
  • Temporary cookies are safer because no programs other than the browser can access them.
  • Persistent cookies are less secure because users can open cookie files see the cookie values

How can we encrypt the username and password using PHP?

You can encrypt a password with the following Mysql>SET PASSWORD=PASSWORD(“Password”);

You can use the MySQL PASSWORD() function to encrypt username and password. For example,
INSERT into user (password, …) VALUES (PASSWORD($password”)), …);

How do I find out the number of parameters passed into function. ?

func_num_args() function returns the number of parameters passed in.