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.
BEST ANSWER:
(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
yourself.
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
competition.
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.

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