Language – 20 Questions to Help You Get the Job You Want

Draper Bowen

Here are a few key words to remember:

Exude enthusiasm.

Connect your qualifications and experience to the job’s requirements. Make it clear why you are the best candidate for the job.

Never speak ill of your current boss.

Highlight your ability to collaborate with others.

Keep your responses work-related and provide examples of how you have grown on the job in quantifiable ways.

Speak modestly about your accomplishments and discuss your career objectively and dispassionately.

If you are asked an inappropriate question, respond graciously.

As the interview comes to a close, ask closing questions and repeat the eye contact, smile, and handshake.

Each question includes the correct answers.

1. What motivates you to leave your current job?

I was initially interested in a position similar to this one, but I didn’t know when an ideal job would become available, so I began working at another, smaller company that offered many of the opportunities I was looking for. I’ve spent the last two years learning about the industry and am now confident that I have the necessary skills and experience to work for you.

2. This job requires some international travel and experience. So, how did you learn to speak Mandarin?

China has always piqued my interest. It is one of the most important markets in the emerging global economy, in my opinion. So I minored in Chinese studies in college and spent a year as an exchange student in Taipei.

3. Describe a difficult problem you’ve faced.

I had to send a package out by air courier one Friday evening, and our office printer had frozen. I had no idea how I was going to make it. But when two of my colleagues in another department heard about my predicament, they offered to drive the files to a quick-copy shop and have them printed. I had helped them out of a similar situation the previous month, and they wanted to repay the favor.

4. Describe your typical workday.

Every day, I strive to achieve a number of objectives. One of them is to clear out my inbox. The second step is to return all of my phone calls from the day before. The third goal is to make progress on at least two of the five projects we have on the table, even if it’s just holding a meeting to decide our next step. And before I leave in the evening, I make sure to answer two more pieces of mail and make one last phone call.

5. What types of decisions are the most difficult for you to make?

It’s difficult for me to decide how to divide my workday so that I can devote equal attention to all of my projects. But I’ve enrolled in a time management program offered by our company, which has helped me organize my day.

6. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am goal-oriented and adaptable, characteristics that were instilled in me at a young age. These characteristics have helped me succeed in adversity, particularly after my father died while I was in college and I had to work to support myself and my younger siblings.

7. Do you prefer to work with others or by yourself?

I’ve always had to consult with a coworker in some capacity in my previous jobs, and I’ve always enjoyed sharing tasks with others and combining our efforts.

8. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

When an employee I was supervising was having personal issues that interfered with his work, I assisted him in finding solutions and improving his job performance.

9. Are you willing to relocate?

Yes, my husband and I have discussed the possibility, and we agree that we are willing to relocate if we can find reasonably priced housing and good schools in the new locations.

10. Why were you let go from your previous job?

My department had been reduced in size, and I had little seniority.

11. Which of your previous jobs was your favorite?

I spent a year designing an interactive video game for an East Coast company two years ago. I worked on a team with other creative types, marketing managers, accountants, and lawyers, absorbing every aspect of the company. I’ve improved on those skills since then, which is why I believe my experience and talent will be a good fit for your company.

12. What motivates you to work here?

In my previous position, I spent two years honing my skills as a telecommunications engineer with applications in Latin America. I’ve read a lot about your company and am familiar with the field you’re venturing into. I believe that my combination of skills and experience would complement your overall growth plans, and I’d like to be a part of your future.

13. How have you grown in your current position?

When I looked into our company’s employee training and development programs, I discovered that I could be reimbursed for college classes at a rate of 80%. So, over the last three years, I’ve earned an MBA while attending night classes and taking online classes.

14. How satisfied are you with the progress you’re making at your current job?

Since joining the company two years ago, I’ve received one promotion, which tested my abilities for about a year, but I believe it’s time to move on. I’m no longer learning, and I believe that my personality and skill set would be much better suited to a large company like yours, which is an industry leader.

15. What is the reason you aren’t married?

I haven’t met the right person yet.

16. What characteristics do you believe you can improve on?

I’ve been a workaholic for many years, ever since my marriage ended. I know it’s not healthy, but it’s just a habit I’ve developed with all of this extra time on my hands. However, I recently joined a softball team and am enrolled in a marketing class one night per week. I believe I’m on the right track toward a more balanced life.

17. What are some of your sources of motivation?

I’m motivated by the challenge of a new assignment, the realization that I’ll be thrown together with a group of like-minded people who will bring different talents to the task, and the opportunity to contribute what I know while learning new skills as we put together the best new product in the market.

18. What are your thoughts on working overtime?

The most important thing to me is that the job is done correctly. I’m willing to work some evenings or weekends if it means working overtime, which I know is unavoidable at most jobs.

19. What types of people do you enjoy working with?

I’m an administrator, and that’s what they pay me for, but whenever I can, I like to work with members of our creative team because I always learn something new from them. Their input broadens my knowledge, and I find myself thinking in ways I never thought of before, which benefits my overall job.

20. Do you have any additional questions?

Yes, in fact. Could you please tell me more about your employee training and development opportunities? Also, while I wait for your response, I’d like to know what else I can do to prepare for this position. Are there any books or articles you recommend I read?