Job Interview Questions and Answers

Question 45:  What could you have done to improve your relationship with your least favorite boss? 

Again, refrain from stating negativities about your former boss.  Put a positive spin on your answer by telling the interviewer that, if you had it to do all over again,  you would have requested more feedback from your boss regarding your performance and requested to be assigned more projects, etc.

Question 46:  What is the most foolish thing you've ever done? 
Do not answer this question by claiming that you have never done anything foolish, because everyone has done something foolish.  The ideal answer would be to admit a foolish thing you did in your personal life a long time ago (perhaps as a teenager) rather than admit a foolish mistake done in your recent professional life. 

For example, one might answer, "When I was 14 years old, I decided to steal my father's car keys and go for a joy ride.  Unfortunately, my driving skills weren't as good as I thought they were and I crashed into a telephone pole less than a mile from home.  I was so afraid of my father's reaction, that I left the car there and ran to a friend's house.  I did do some other silly things as a kid, but fortunately, I've never done anything I consider to be foolish as an adult or at work.  Of course, I have made some mistakes at work, but I've learned from them and didn't consider them to be foolish." 

Question 47:  Have any of your past employers refused to give you a reference?

Of course, the best answer to this question is "no", but if you have to answer "yes", explain why in a professional manner.  In other words, don't complain bitterly about the employer who refused to give you a reference. 

Sample answer 1:  "Yes, John Wilson at Acme refuses to give me a reference because he is unhappy that I resigned from the company.  This is unfortunate because John and I really liked each other and worked well together.  I did receive excellent performance reviews and two raises based on performance while at Acme, so his refusal to give me a reference is not based on poor performance.  As I said, he is angry at me for resigning because he considers my doing so to be disloyal to the company." 

Sample answer 2:  "Yes, Acme Corporation refuses to give me a reference; however, this is not based on performance.  Acme has been sued many times by former employers so they have adopted the policy of confirming only job title, work dates and salary through HR.  If you contact Mr. Wilson at Acme, he will likely not respond or will refer you to HR.  This is not based on my performance, but rather, on company policy."

Question 48: Aren't you overqualified for this job? 

Note that employers don't like to hire overqualified people because they won't stay around long.  But since it is probably obvious that you're overqualified, admit that you are, but also emphasis the positive. 

For example, "I am overqualified in some ways.  I have more experience that is required for this job, but you are looking for someone who is an expert in X, and that's me.  However, that doesn't mean I'm completely overqualified.  I feel that I have much to learn in the area of X, which is a big part of this job and I know it will keep me challenged . . . ."  

Question 49: What salary are you expecting? 

Don't sell yourself short when asking for a specific salary.  Studies have found that those who negotiate for a higher salary often get it.  You should do some research before the job interview so that you don't ask for too much or too little.  You might be asked to justify why you are worth the salary you are asking, so be prepared with an answer (i.e., tell them how your skills and experience will benefit the company so much that your salary will be a bargain for them.) 

The best salary resource on the Internet is Salary.com where you can find out what people earn at various experience levels and in every region of the USA.  At the time this was written, you could search the Salary.com database free.  You also need to consider the cost of living in the area you will be relocating to, if applicable.  There are cost of living calculators on the Internet.  A good one can be found at Homefair.com.  With a cost of living calculator, you can find out how much you will have to earn in your new location to maintain the same standard of living you enjoy in your present location.

A good answer:  "After doing some research at Salary.com and a few other sites on the Internet, I am asking for a starting salary of $100,000.  I base this figure on the fact that I have seven years of experience in the field and have proven myself a great asset to my past employer.  I realize that this figure is $20,000 more than I am presently earning; however, the cost of living is considerably higher in the San Francisco area and I have included an amount to cover the higher costs I would have to pay if I relocated here."

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