Classic Interview Questions
By Bill Radin
job seekers know there are four basic types of interview questions—and
they prepare accordingly.
there are the resume questions. These relate to your past experience, skills,
job responsibilities, education, upbringing, personal interests, and so forth.
questions require accurate, objective answers, since your resume consists of
facts which tend to be quantifiable (and verifiable). Try to avoid answers which
exaggerate your achievements, or appear to be opinionated, vague, or egocentric.
interviewers will usually want you to comment on your abilities, or assess your
past performance. They’ll ask self-appraisal questions like, “What do you
think is your greatest asset?” or, “Can you tell me something you’ve done
that was very creative?”
interviewers like to know how you respond to different stimuli. Situation
questions ask you to explain certain actions you took in the past, or require
that you explore hypothetical scenarios that may occur in the future. “How
would you stay profitable during a recession?” or, “How would you go about
laying off 1300 employees?” or, “How would you handle customer complaints if
the company drastically raised its prices?” are typical situation questions.
last, some employers like to test your mettle with stress questions such as,
“After you die, what would you like your epitaph to read?” or, “If you
were to compare yourself to any U.S. president, who would it be?” or,
“It’s obvious your background makes you totally unqualified for this
position. Why should we even waste our time talking?”
questions are designed to evaluate your emotional reflexes, creativity, or
attitudes while you’re under pressure. Since off-the-wall or confrontational
questions tend to jolt your equilibrium, or put you in a defensive posture, the
best way to handle them is to stay calm and give carefully considered answers.
Remember, your sense of humor will come in handy during the entire interviewing
process, just so long as you don’t go over the edge. I heard of a candidate
who, when asked to describe his ideal job, replied, “To have beautiful women
rub my back with hot oil.” Needless to say, he wasn’t hired.
if it were possible to anticipate every interview question, memorizing dozens of
stock answers would be impractical, to say the least. The best policy is to
review your background, your priorities, and your reasons for considering a new
position; and to handle the interview as honestly as you can. If you don’t
know the answer to a question, just say so, or ask for a moment to think about