Job Interview Questions and Answers

Question 71:  Why are there gaps in your employment history?

Answer this question by explaining each recent gap in your work history that is longer than six months.  You should try to put a positive spin on your answer.  Good reasons to explain away employment gaps are that you took some time off to raise your children or to go back to school and get your degree or obtain necessary training to get a better job.  Although not ideal, acceptable reasons to explain employment gaps are that you took a year off to travel or that the economy has been very bad and you simply couldn't find work in a year and a half.  Don't say it was because "no one would hire me" or "I kept getting fired" without putting a positive spin on your answer.  Mention that your current goal is long-term employment and back that up with any proof you have to want job stability such as a new baby, new marriage, new home, etc.  If the job you're applying for offers you the challenges and environment you were always looking for, you should point out this fact.

Good answer 1:  "The reason that there is a two year gap in my employment history is that I could afford to be very choosy as I had a substantial amount of money in savings, which allowed me to spent almost two years looking for the right position.  I resigned from Acme Corporation because the work was very unchallenging and I wanted to make sure that I found a new position that offered me the type of challenging, interesting work and advancement for opportunities that I was searching for.  So, I interviewed for many positions and was offered quite a few of them, but I turned them down because they were not right for me."

Good answer 2:  "When I was younger, I did some foolish things, one of which was not having any idea of what I wanted to do with my life, so I was generally unfocused and ended up quitting several good jobs so I could attend school full-time and get the necessary training to enter a new field.  The two-year employment gap between my job at Acme and XYZ Industries occurred because I was attending university full-time while my wife supported us financially.  The most recent employment gap occurred because I again decided to go back to school and earn a degree so I could qualify for much better jobs."

Question 72:  Would your present employer be surprised to know you're job hunting? 

Never answer this question with negative information such as "My current boss wouldn't be surprised in the least to hear I'm leaving since he's been trying to shove me out the door for years!"  Always tell the interviewer that you are happy with your current employer and job, but are simply looking to stretch your wings out and take on a job with more challenge, and yes, more salary and opportunities for advancement.  

Question 73:  How would your co-workers describe you?

Obviously, you don't want to say your co-workers would describe you as a troubled loner.  The only correct answer to this question is to say that they would describe you as a pleasant person who works well with others.  Put forth other positive traits about yourself as well:  hard-working, efficient, dependable, easy going, funny, witty, etc.

Good answer:  "My coworkers would describe me as a pleasant, nice person who is very dependable and hard-working.  I tend to be shy at first, but after people get to know me, I come out of my shell and am very fun to be around."

Question 74:  Do you have any questions? 

This question is usually one of the last questions an interviewer will ask, as it is a logical way to end the interview.  Never go to an interview without preparing questions to ask beforehand.  Avoid asking about salary, vacation time, employee benefits, and such until you have asked a number of other questions that demonstrate your interest in working for the company.  Good questions to ask the interviewer:

Why is this position available?
Is this a new position?  How long has this position existed?
How many people have held this position in the last two years?
Who would be my supervisor?  To whom would I report?
Whom will I supervise?
With whom will I be working most closely?
What do you like about working for this company?
What are the current plans for expansion or cutbacks?
What kind of turnover rate does the company have?
How financially sound is this company?
What projects and assignments will I be working on?
What happened to the person that held this position before?  Was he promoted or fired?
What is this company's culture, (i.e., is it rigid and formal or relaxed and flexible?)
What are the current problems facing the company (or my department)?
What do you like the most about working for this company?  The least?
What is the philosophy of the company?
What do you consider to be the company's strengths and weaknesses?
What are the company's long and short term goals?
Describe the work environment.
What attracted you (the interviewer) to this organization?
Why do you enjoy working for this company?
Describe the typical responsibilities of the position.
What are the most challenging aspects of the position?
Describe the opportunities for training and professional development.
Will I receive any formal training?
What is the company's promotional policy?
Are there opportunities for advancement within the organization?
When can I expect to hear from you?
Is there any reason why you can't offer me this position today?

You can also ask questions regarding information you found when conducting research about the company.

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