500 Questions: About the Industry, Part Two

What is your idea of how the industry works?

The interviewer does not want a long dissertation, just the reassurance that you understand it is in business to make a profit as quickly and easily as possible, and in a manner that will encourage repeat business from the existing client base. Finish your answer with the comment that it is every employee’s role to play as a team member in order to achieve these goals.

Can you take criticism without feeling hurt or upset?

This is a manageability question. If you take offense easily or bristle when your mistakes are pointed out, you won’t last long with any company. Competition is fierce at the entry level, so take this opportunity to set yourself apart from the others by indicating that yes, of course you can take instruction. More important, you can take constructive criticism without feeling hurt.

Which of the part-time jobs you held did you like least?

The interviewer is trying to trip you up. It is likely that your work contained a certain amount of repetition and drudgery, as all early jobs in the business world do. Beware of saying that you hated a particular job because it was boring. Avoid the negative and say something that indicates you learned from each job you have held.

We have tried to hire people from your school and your major before, and they never seem to work out. What makes you different?

Here is a stress question to test your poise and analytical skills. You can show that you are different and can prove it. Ask the interviewer what the problem was before and then illustrate how you can overcome such a problem.

Are you looking for a permanent or temporary job?

The interviewer wants reassurance that you are genuinely interested in the position and won’t disappear in a few months to pursue post-graduate studies. Explain why you want this job and that you are naturally looking for a permanent job because you intend to make your career in this field.

Tell me why we should hire you.

Use this question to emphasize your stronger qualifications and relate them once again to the job for which you are applying. Show that you have what it takes and can stand out from the crowd. Be prepared to elaborate and identify your goals and objectives and how you plan to fulfill them. Employers are looking for a good reason why you are applying for the job opening. A positive reason why you want the job is much better than a negative reason why you don’t like your current situation.

What are your future plans for your education?

This is another way of asking where you want to be in five years. Your safest answer identifies you with the profession you are trying to break into, and shows that you have your feet on the ground.

How did you get your summer job?

All employers look favorably on recent graduates who have any work experience, no matter what it is. As you answer this question, add that you learned that business is about making a profit, doing things more efficiently, adhering to procedures, and putting out whatever effort it takes to get the job done. In short, you treated your summer job just like any other business experience.

Do you think that potential employers should consider grades?

If your grades were good, the answer is obviously “yes.” If they weren’t, your answer needs a little more tact in stressing that employers should take everything into consideration: grades, willingness, manageability, and an understanding of how business works.