500 Questions: About the Position, Part One

Give me an example of a time when you have been the most contented in your last position?

The interviewer wants a perspective on what type of work inspires you and how well it fits in with the position being offered. From your previous research, match your answer to the qualifications you know are being sought in the job.

If you were faced by hostility from another employee, what would you do?

The interviewer is looking to gauge your interpersonal skills, specifically under stressful situations. Take this opportunity to describe how you have used negotiation, intervention, and problem solving skills in the past to help resolve conflicts in the workplace.

Would anyone be surprised to hear that you are interviewing for the job we are discussing? Who and why?

This is either a creative inquiry about your sense of focus or it could be an attempt to learn about your current employment circumstances. Show the interviewer that you know what you want and that no one will be surprised to hear that you are interviewing for a position that matches your skills and ambitions.

If your supervisor criticized you unfairly, what would you do?

Answer this question by telling of an experience when perhaps the pressure was on at work and a mistake was made. Maybe you took more than your share of the blame. If your supervisor criticized you, show how you got through the rough spot, set up new scenarios for handling such problems in the future, and assured yourself that it wouldn’t happen again. Then close with a positive anchor about what you learned and how you have implemented that in your job performance.

Your supervisor tells you to do something in a way that you know is dead wrong. What would you do?

This is a tough question. Answer it carefully, while indicating that it would require a great deal of tact, diplomacy and discretion, but you would attempt to pose alternatives to your supervisor that could better handle the situation. If he/she insisted that you do it the wrong way, you would have to agree to do it.

Say your supervisor left a task for you, then left town for a week. You can’t reach him/her and you don’t fully understand the task . What would you do?

The interviewer is most likely trying to determine whether you have an appropriate respect for hierarchy and deadline demands. If there is truly no way to reach your manager or leave a message via voice mail or electronic mail, you’d find the courage to approach your manager’s supervisor.

What would you do if you had to fire a friend?

The interviewer is trying to determine if you place the company ahead of your personal relationships. Demonstrate your willingness to go against conventional feelings for the position and in the best interests of the firm. Indicate that you would handle this in the same manner as any other working relationship, with tact, poise, and constructive measures to help your friend understand what was at stake.