500 Questions: Character Questions, Part Three

If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be? Why?

Your answer to such a question could turn positive if you choose a feature related to your attitude and determination. Comments such as “I am sometimes impatient with slow performers” or “Being very demanding on myself I sometimes expect too much from others” are good. Keep in mind that most interviewers will use the information you give to raise even more incisive questions.

How do you handle authority?

This is a generalized question and gives you leeway to select your best experiences with managers. From there, it is a short step to talking about how (and with whom) you work best. Focus your answer on the productive parts of the relationship and on your manageability as an employee.

Have you ever had to deal with ethical issues-such as race or religion-on the job? How did you deal with it?

Your answer will reveal how well you have managed trying situations in the past and what types of situations cause you stress. Draw from your professional life for an example and demonstrate your ability to deal with it in a constructive and professional manner.

What is your definition of success? How have you been successful in the past?

This is the time to discuss some of your past accomplishments and how they have made you successful. Allude in your answer to the kinds of projects you’d like to do in the future. Focus on goals specifically related to the job you are applying for and relate them to your definition of success in the workplace.

What is your greatest weakness?

Everyone has them, so don’t try to deny it. Use this opportunity as a chance to show that you are capable of growing and learning when faced with obstacles. Also, choose a weakness that can be turned into something positive… about yourself. Answer truthfully, but discuss how you’d balance your weaknesses with appropriate strengths. Avoid sounding defensive.

What are some of the things that motivate you?

The interviewer is seeking to know if your motivation and skills can be adapted to the type of work and services that the company provides. Use your experience and personal skills to demonstrate your strengths and assets. The interviewer may also want to know about your belief in the products or service of the company. Use personal experience to demonstrate your interests and strengths. Let the interviewer know that your natural interests are compatible with this particular job.

Tell me one of your pet peeves.

The interviewer is trying to determine if you react to stimulus and situations or if you are a professional, able to handle anything that comes your way. Keep the discussion on a professional level. Indicate in your example that you are even-tempered, composed and professional at all times, and are seldom angered on the job. Demonstrate how you handle conflict with perseverance and patience.

What kinds of things do you worry about?

This is an off-the-wall kind of question that can throw you. Your answer is best confined to the sensible worries of a conscientious professional. Talk about work-related issues such as deadlines, staff turnover, tardiness, competition, etc.