Job Interview Questions and Answers

Job Interview Question 23:  Do you work better alone or as part of a team? 

If the position you're applying for requires you to spend lots of time alone, then of course, you should state that you like to work alone and vice versa.   Never sound too extreme one way or another.  Don't say that you hate people and would "die if you had to work with others" and don't state that you "will go crazy if you're left alone for five minutes".  A healthy balance between the two is always the best choice.  If you have previous experience illustrating the fact that you can work alone or with others, then offer it.  For example, you might state that in your previous job you spent a significant amount of time alone while traveling, or that you have learned how to get alone well with people in the workplace by working on numerous team projects.

Job Interview Question 24:  Do you consider yourself to be organized?

The interviewer wants to hear about your work skills concerning time and task management, not that you have neatly separated the paperclips in your desk drawer into different trays based on size.  A model answer might be "I manage my time very well.  I routinely complete tasks ahead of schedule. For example, . . . (offer the interviewer proof of your organizational skills by telling him about a major project that you organized and completed on time or mention the fact that you consistently received an outstanding grade on previous performance reviews regarding your time management).  Do not reveal to the interviewer that you are habitually late or that you complete tasks at the very last minute.  

Job Interview Question 25:  Do you consider yourself to be a risk-taker? 

How you answer this question depends on the type of company it is. If it is a start-up company or within a highly-competitive industry, then they are probably looking for those more willing to take risks.  If you believe the company is this type, then offer an example of a risk you've taken in business.  If the company is a well-established industry leader, risk takers are not as highly valued.  Of course, no company is looking for employees who are foolish in their risk-taking behavior, so a good rule of thumb is to place yourself somewhere in the middle -- you are neither too foolish nor overly cautious.

Job Interview Question 26:  Are you a self-starter? 

The correct answer to this question is always "yes", and the ideal answer includes an example of how you are able to work with minimal supervision, keep your skills current without being told, or a time when you  took it upon yourself to be more efficient, accurate or productive. 

Example 1:  "Yes, I am definitely a self-starter.  When I worked at Acme Corporation, I was positive that the firm would be adopting a new operating system within a year, so I started taking classes at the local university at night in order to prepare myself.  I was the only one in the office that knew how to operate the equipment when it was installed, so I was appointed trainer and subsequently trained 200 co-workers.  I did receive a reward for my work on that project." 

Example 2:  "Yes, I am a self-starter.  I am always thinking of ways I can improve office efficiency and help the company be more profitable.  For example, a few years ago I noticed that the sales reps were having a very difficult time finding client files when they called.  The sales reps would put clients on hold and spend sometimes as much as five minutes frantically trying to locate a file.  I took it upon myself to design a file management system that enabled the sales reps to locate client files on their desktops in less than 15 seconds.  This has made the office much more efficient and, of course, made both the sales reps and our clients much happier."

Job Interview Question 27:  How do you react to criticism from supervisors that you consider to be unjust? 

The only correct way to answer this question is to present yourself as a person who can handle criticism without becoming angry, defensive, vengeful or arrogant, yet, not let others intimidate or blame you when you don't deserve it.  Example:  "There was a time when I was deeply hurt when a supervisor pointed out a mistake I made or an area in which I needed to improve and felt somewhat defensive.  However, through the years, I have learned that no one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes and needs to improve in certain areas, so I shouldn't take criticism so personally.  Therefore, I have learned to take it on the chin without becoming defensive or feeling hurt.  I just take a few days to think about what was said and if I feel the criticism is warranted, I take steps to improve my performance.  If I feel the criticism was unjustified, I will sit down with my supervisor and calmly discuss the reasons why I feel the criticism was unjustified."

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