The Top 7 Scenario Type Interview Questions

Tuesday, 29. March 2011

A few weeks back we posted answers to the top 10 ‘about you’ questions and asked you to provide us with some scenario type questions for our next issue. We got quite a few responses on our twitter account and have narrowed them down to the following 7 ‘Tell Me A Time When’ questions.

So without further adieu, tell me about a time when…

1. …you had to deal with a problem you had with a supervisor.

There are a couple of different schools of thought on this question. It could be a trick question where the interviewer wants to see if you will speak ill of your boss. The best way to answer this question is to remain positive and always accentuate the outcome rather than the trivial details. In other words talk about the positive steps you and your boss took to resolve the problem together, not what they did to annoy you.

2. …you had to work under pressure.

If you are asked this question by the interviewer it is easy to assume that the position you are applying for deals with a certain amount of stress. If possible provide real world examples that relate to the job, but if you don’t have any you can also provide examples from activities that involved deadlines or pressure. It is good to provide a couple of examples where you can show how you were able to rise to the occasion and that you didn’t mind the stress.

3. …you made a suggestion and how it was implemented.

If you can, try to come up with an example of a suggestion you made that was implemented in a field that is related to the type of work you are applying. If you don’t have one, try brainstorming for a really good example of a suggestion that you made that was considered successful and is still implemented today.

4. …you had to plan and coordinate a project from start to finish.

Provide the interviewer with specific examples of the project where you had to take responsibility of certain elements, such as being the chair of a committee, hand picking the team to work on the project, managing and motivating the team and coming up with the resolution, which should always be better than expected results and an outcome where superiors commended you on your efforts. If possible try to relate the example to the type of work you are applying for.

5. …you helped resolve a dispute between others.

Just like the question about dealing with a problem with your boss, stay away from the specific details of the dispute and concentrate on how you resolved the issue with each party being happy in the end.

6. …you had to take initiative.

Most companies typically aren’t looking for a drone; they are looking for a proactive, results-oriented person who doesn’t have to be told what to do. When asked this question supply the interviewer with multiple examples describing your ability to take initiative. Be careful with your choice of example, as no one wants a loose cannon in their company. So make sure you provide an example that shows you can take initiative but still follow the policy and procedures set forth by the company.

7. …you had the most fun on the job.

Try to stay away from personal stories where your work ethic could be in question. Think about some real work examples where you had to work on a project or within a team to accomplish something for the company. Bonus points if you led the team or came up with the idea, especially if it was successful, both for the company and the people involved.

In the next issue of ResumeMag we will discuss the top opinion type questions, as recommended by you. So feel free to leave a comment, send us an email or a message on twitter and we’ll add your question to the list.

Until then, happy job hunting,


Can Professional Resumes Reduce Suicides?

Thursday, 24. March 2011

A disturbing trend was reported out of Japan a month ago – and this was before the earthquake – that failed job searches  have been leading to increased suicides during the previous year.

Actually, there was good news in the suicide statistics: they decreased in 2010 by 3.5 percent from 2009.

But there was bad news in the suicide-after-failing-to-land-a-job statistics: they increased in 2010 by a whopping 20 percent from 2009.  Over 420 people in Japan committed suicide because they could not find a job.

We don’t mean to be disrespectful to those people who grew so desperate as to take their own lives, but there are things you can do to improve your chances of landing a job.  There are steps you can take to become more employable.  For instance.

  • Training for new skills
  • Volunteering to keep active
  • Downshifting expectations
  • Improving your resume
  • Honing your interview skills
  • Better grooming
  • Moving, if necessary

This blog is about making you more employable in the job market, and our services – resume writing – help you master the crucial step of getting your foot in the door.

A resume as a weapon in the battle against suicide?  Perhaps that is overstating it – but a professionally written resume can help you land a job before you reach a point of hopelessness.

This post was featured in the Carnival of Wealth #31.

The 10 Most Popular ‘About You’ Questions And How To Answer Them

Tuesday, 8. March 2011

In last week’s issue of ResumeMag we provided you with a shotgun blast of interview questions, 79 to be precise, to help prepare you for the onslaught of questions you can expect to be asked in an interview. Recently we sent out a request, via our twitter feed, to see which questions should be discussed in more detail, and here is what you asked for:

The 10 most popular ‘about you’ questions and how to answer them:

1. Tell me about yourself.

This question seems to be the interviewer’s best friend and the interviewee’s worst enemy. Typically your response should relate to the current job you are interviewing for. Pick a point in your past, possibly where you first learned a skill that will assist you with the position you are hoping to fill, and work your way towards the present. Personal hobbies and interests should only be included if they relate to the position or if the interviewer specifically asks for some examples.

2. Are you a team player?

The ability to work well within a team is an essential quality to have for practically any position. When an interviewer asks you this question, the answer is always an unequivocal yes; yes of course you are a team player. Be prepared to follow-up with some specific examples.

3. When have you been most satisfied in your career?

When answering this question try to relate it to the current organization as close as possible. Your interviewer wants to hear that you will be the right fit for the position they are looking to fill, and this includes hiring an employee that is not only qualified but that will also be satisfied with the working conditions.

4. Are you satisfied with your career to date?

This question ties right in with question 3. If you current job was your answer, then it begs to question why you are leaving in the first place. Either way, the interviewer wants to know that you will be happy in their organization, so be honest, because as they say, it is always the best policy.

5. Do you consider yourself successful?

Whenever an interviewer asks this question they are almost always looking for that yes, yes you are successful. The key to winning the interviewer over will be with your follow-up examples. Something as simple as stating some goals you’ve set and achieved should do the trick.

6. Tell me about your dream job.

When answering this question, your dream job should always be something generic. Stick to talking about the work environment, friendly coworkers and rewarding work. The more precise you are about a specific job, the less desirable you may become.

7. How have you grown or changed over the past few years?

This is all about setting goals and achieving them, so provide some specific examples and try to tailor them to the position that you are interviewing for. Although the question may come up later, this is a great place to discuss your weaknesses, but do so in a manner that shows you acknowledge them and explain what you are doing to improve them.

8. Have you ever been asked to leave a position?

Lying, even a little white one, is never recommended, so do yourself a favour and be honest with your answer. If you have never been asked to leave a position, just say so, and if you have been, well, tell them the truth and provide them with a brief explanation. Try not to place any blame or say anything negative about a specific person or organization. It won’t help you in the long run.

9. Why did you leave your last job?

Just like in question 8, the key here is to be honest with the interviewer, but without getting into the blaming game. You could discuss any major issues that the organization may have had, but try to do so in a positive manner.

10. How much were you absent from your last job?

The interviewer wants to find out how reliable of an employee you will be, and this question gets right to the heart of the matter. If you didn’t have any issues with punctuality, then there are no worries. If you did have some issues, regardless of the reason, then be prepared to explain why you were absent and how those issues will no longer affect your ability to work.

In next week’s issue of ResumeMag we will discuss the top scenario type questions, as recommended by you. If you have a specific scenario question you would like us to cover please leave a comment or send us a message on twitter.

Until then, happy job hunting,


79 Sample Job Interview Questions

Tuesday, 1. March 2011

Your professionally prepared resume and cover letter has gotten you the interview, so now what?

The next step is getting yourself prepared. Of course you’ll want to research some background information on the organization, but one of the most important steps is to be prepared for the interview questions.

Preparing and practicing for potential interview questions ahead of time can greatly increase your overall interview presentation.

The following are 79 typical interview questions you should be prepared to answer:

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Are you a self-starter?
3. Are you a team player?
4. Are you satisfied with your career to date?
5. Do you consider yourself successful?
6. Tell me about your dream job.
7. Where do you see yourself five years?
8. Where do you see yourself ten years?
9. How have you grown or changed over the past few years?
10. What five words would you say describe you best?
11. If you had enough money to retire right now, would you?
12. When have you been most satisfied in your career?
13. Can you work under pressure or within a tight deadline?
14. Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
15. How do you measure your own performance?
16. How much were you absent from your last job?
17. Have you ever been asked to leave a position?
18. Why did you leave your last job?
19. How long have you been looking for a job?
20. How did you prepare for this interview?
21. Describe a time when you had to deal with an irate customer.
22. Describe a time when you had to deal with problem you had with a co-worker.
23. Describe a time when you had to deal with problem you had with a supervisor.
24. Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it.
25. Describe a time when you had to work under pressure.
26. Describe a time when you had to face a conflict of interest at work.
27. Describe a time when your work was criticized.
28. Tell me about a suggestion you have made.
29. Tell me about a time when you had to plan and coordinate a project from start to finish.
30. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute between others.
31. Describe a time when you had to take initiative.
32. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job.
33. What do you like about your present job?
34. What do you dislike about your present job?
35. What would your co-workers say about you?
36. What would your supervisor say about you?
37. What are the most important rewards you expect in and from your career?
38. What are you looking for in a company?
39. What are you looking for in a job?
40. What are your career goals?
41. What are your long-range goals?
42. What are your short-range goals?
43. What are your strengths?
44. What are your weaknesses?
45. What kinds of people do you like working with?
46. What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with?
47. What kind of person would you refuse to work with?
48. What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?
49. What have your achievements been to date?
50. What have you failed to achieve to date?
51. What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
52. What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
53. What have you learned from mistakes on the job?
54. What kind of pressures have you encountered at work?
55. What motivates you to do your best on the job?
56. What parts of a job do you find most satisfying?
57. What parts of a job do you find least satisfying?
58. What qualities do you look for in a boss?
59. What is more important to you: the money or the work?
60. What do you enjoy about this industry?
61. What do you know about this organization?
62. Are you applying for other jobs?
63. Do you know anyone who works for us?
64. Have you ever done this kind of work before?
65. What experience do you have in this field?
66. Do you think you are qualified for this position?
67. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization.
68. Why have you applied for this particular job?
69. This organization is very different to your current employer, how do you think you are going to fit in?
70. What kind of machines/software can you operate?
71. Are you willing to put the interests of the organization ahead of your own?
72. Would you be willing to relocate if required?
73. Are you willing to work overtime/nights/weekends?
74. Would you be willing to work as a temporary or contract employee?
75. How long would you expect to work for us if hired?
76. What is your salary expectation for this job?
77. If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?
78. Why should we hire you?
79. Do you have any questions for me?

In the next issue of ResumeMag we’ll do a break down for some of the most popular questions, providing you some tips on what interviewers are looking for and how to answer them properly.

Happy Job Hunting,


This post was included in the Carnival of Wealth, A March Madness Roundup and the Canadian Finance Carnival.

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