Sunday, December 18, 2011

Annoying interview questions and how to answer them

 Some behavioral interviews questions  are geared to drawing out strengths. Some behavioral interview questions,  on the other hand, are geared to drawing out weaknesses. As I always say, they are designed to make you squirm, especially if you haven't been working the past year. The employer is looking for a way to exclude you. Here are a couple I found Here are some possible answers to annoying behavioral interview questions

. What have you been doing for the last year? Naturally the unemployed lie around all day doing nothing. If you have been volunteering, play that up. If you have been taking a course,  play that up. Of course, looking for a job is a full time job..It is good to mention that you have not been idle. Try starting a business, freelancing, taking a course, expand your horizons. Communicate how all that might be of value to the employer.

What things would cause you to be late for work? Ouch! I hate this interview question.  This one assumes that you'll be late. I would talk  about  things in your control and things that are not in your control. I would definitely mention traffic. Where I live traffic is THE issue. Mind you I live next door to a subway stop, so I very rarely come late, and I give myself enough time to take into account traffic problems. I might ask if punctuality is a crucial part of performing the job. When I was teaching it was important to arrive on time for the class. That wasn't negotiable. I didn't have to be at my desk at 9 a.m. sharp though as part of the office culture.

 Everyone takes time away from work, what are some reasons that you would miss work? What is this best answer to this interview question?  Again, they are assuming you take time off for anything other than illness. I would say again, there are things in your control and things not, that you do the best to manage your life around your work hours, and that the only reason you have missed work is for illness or funerals. In my last job I had flexible working conditions, so I didn't have to worry about dental appointments and unforeseen problems. What was important to my last employer was that I arrived on time to teach the class.

What could you have done better in your last job? Again, it presumes that you did a bad job. Answering this behavioral interview quesiton, I would say, that I strive to do my best. There are always things that could be improved. For me, may it was a lesson plan that could have been better designed/sequenced/executed. Perhaps striving to put more of my recent graduate training into the lessons (there wasn't always time). Don't forget to use the STAR technique

. Do you enjoy just doing your job or being cross-trained? I would say that you like to learn new things, and also to be as useful to the employer as possible. Give an example. At the previous job I had, I voluntarily took on new roles including helping with the budget and assessment.


Yes behavioral interview questions can be annoying. Try not to be reactive in your answers, but to turn it into an opporutnity to say "the better to meet your requirements, dear employer".

1 comment:

  1. Tks very much for your post.

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