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Unread 2010-03-03, 11:11 AM   #14
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Questions about your abilities
Tell me about a time that you worked conveying technical information to a nontechnical audience.
The Interviewer wants to know how you relate to people outside your area of expertise.
While I worked for Mr. Smith in the accounting department, I was selected to explain the financial section of the employee's paycheck to all new hires. After my first two sessions, I realized I needed to reframe my information so the new hires would have an accurate understanding of the impact of their decisions as it related to their pay. I worked with colleagues in human resources and marketing, and developed a training outline that was implemented at the other locations throughout the company.

Tell me about a time that you worked with data, interpreting data, and presenting data.
If you are in a non-technical profession, this question is designed to see if you are comfortable with information not directly related to your position.
While at the GHI corporation, one of my job assignments was to work with the IT department to prepare the annual meeting brochure complete with financial data, graphs and related SEC requirements. I became proficient at designing graphs that gave an accurate picture of the financial data, as well as editing the legal information into a more readable format.

Why do you think you will be successful at this job?
The interviewer is concerned as to whether you see this as a career move, or stop-gap employment.
As my resume reflects, I have been successful at each of my previous places of employment. My research of your company, the job description outlined, and the information we've exchanged today, lead me to believe I have the skills and experience for which you are looking; and I'm eager to be a contributing employee.

Tell me about a time that you participated in a team, what was your role?
Companies, for the most part, do not want "Lone-Rangers" - - they are looking for employees who will adapt to the company culture and get along with others.
In high school, I enjoyed playing soccer and performing with the marching band. Each required a different kind of team play, but the overall goal of learning to be a member of a group was invaluable. I continued to grow as team member while on my sorority's debate team and through my advanced marketing class where we had numerous team assignments.

Personal questions about you
When the questions are "personal", about you, it can be a very slippery slope. The answers below are guidelines so you can write out your answers long before you go to the interview. Then, when the question is asked, you can take the few seconds (expected by the interviewer) to think about the question and how you will frame your answer (which you already know).
What would you do differently if you could start your working life over?
The interviewer is looking for a detour that continues to be a professional block in your career.
Looking back over my career, I would have returned to school much earlier to complete my Masters degree. Even though I got my degree later than I had originally anticipated, I never lost sight of the goal.

How do you balance life and work?
The interviewer wonders if you've made arrangements for the days when your child is too sick to go to school and/or daycare or if you're "out of there" as soon as it's quitting time.
Best Answer: Being organized helps me balance my professional life and personal life. Consequently, I can be fully engaged while I'm at work. For those unexpected times, I have a good back-up system of child care for my children.

What is your preferred way to communicate?
This is a good opportunity to show you understand the importance of adjusting your preferences when necessary.
At home, I enjoy talking on the phone and emails. At work, I follow the established pattern. Each of my bosses, in the past, has had a preferred method I've followed their lead.

Do you check voicemail and email when on vacation?
The interviewer is wondering whether they will always be able to find you.
Best Answer: While on vacation, I can be reached for emergencies; however, I also know the people with whom I work are very capable of making good decisions while I'm away. I understand the importance of recharging my battery.

What is your favorite book? How about your favorite movie?
The interviewer wants to know whether you read to stay current and if you will you fit into the company culture.
Best Answer (include your personal favorites): I read many different kinds of books. My current "favorite" book is The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. My favorite movie? Miracle on Ice.

What historical figure do you admire and why?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are well read and what characteristics you admire.
Best Answer (include historical figures you personally admire): Personally, I most admire Abigail Adams, John Adam's wife; professionally I admired the leadership style of Ronald Reagan.

What did you do during this six month gap in employment?
Everyone, at some point, will probably have a gap in employment. Do not "waste it".
Best Answer: For the first month, I worked on my "to do list" at home and accomplished a great deal. Then I began building a plan to reenter the workplace. While it took a little longer than I'd anticipated, I've learned a great deal about myself, am rested and looking forward to new challenges in the workplace.

What led you to this point in your life?
The interviewer wants to know if you are unhappy, frustrated, or lost?
My "road of life" has been interesting, sometimes challenging and always rewarding. The steps along the way that have led to this point in my life are, in some ways, very different than I had imagined; however, I like who I am today in part because of my past. An example is when the second company on my resume suddenly closed their doors during a down-turn in the economy. For a very brief time, the road ahead was unknown; however, I discovered I had previously untapped strengths such as perseverance.

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want"
"If you feel you need to tell lies to get ahead, perhaps you need to evaluate why you're behind in the first place."
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