1.What are your goals?
I break down goals into short-term goals, with the long term in
mind. Right now I’m looking for a position in a company with a
solid track record. I want to contribute to a team, bringing my
extensive experience in this field to add to the team mix. Long term
goals will depend on the career path available at the company.
Ideally, I would like to move progressively within a
2.What are your strengths?
My strengths are a combination of my technical skills and my
ability to work with a variety of customers. I consider myself a
data-mining expert, but what makes me stand out from the competition
is my ability to work directly with customers and get to
the root of the problem. I can break down complex issues into
simple, understandable concepts and language so that the customers
can understand what I am saying. I have received customer
service awards in the technical area for the last two years.
A good way to prepare for the “strengths” question is to do an assessment
of what you have to offer. This means not only your knowledgebased
skills (experience and education) but also the skills that are used
in almost any job—transferable or portable skills (communication
skills, time management skills, problem-solving skills).
3.What is your greatest weakness?
Good:Weaknesses are not something that I dwell on. I know I could
improve on my patience when working with people who don’t
work at the same pace as I do. What I have found is that by helping
members of the team who are having problems, I can move
projects forward instead of being frustrated and doing nothing.
Avg:I am a person who likes to get the job done correctly the first
time. I become very frustrated when other people’s work affects
my ability to do my job correctly. I’ve been working on trying to
be more understanding and finding out what the problem is
before I pass judgment.
(C) My weakness is working too hard to get the job done. Because of
the workload, I have to work many evenings and weekends so
that projects meet deadlines. I’m trying to work smarter and not
The “weakness” question is the most dreaded question of all. In
answering this question it is best to avoid saying that you are weak
in any areas that would affect your job performance (as seen in the
job positing). For example, “My time management skills need some
improving” would be a poor thing to say because you are admitting
that you may not be able to do the job.
4.When have you been most motivated?
Last year I was involved in a project that was very exciting. I was
assigned to work with a team, and we had to brainstorm about a
product that was not being received well by the consumers. I
would wake up in the morning thinking of creative ways to overcome
our problem. The especially great part of this project was
the team I was working with. The team and the creative problem
solving are what make a difference in my motivation.
5.How would you describe your personality?
I am a high-energy person who is motivated by new challenges
and problems. I can hit the ground running and come up to
speed faster than anyone I know. I have a proven record of success
and a reputation for meeting deadlines on time. My attitude
about work is “whatever it takes to get the job done.” Anyone in
my department would tell you that I am someone who really
supports the team spirit.
Describing your personality is like writing an ad for a product. What
makes you unique? Making a list of your specific personality traits
is a good exercise to prepare for an interview.
6.Have you ever been fired?
Good : One of the managers who reported to me made a big mistake that
caused the company to lose a great deal of money. Because I was
his boss, we were both fired. At first I did not think this was fair.
I now realize that the man was under my supervision and that it
was on my shift, and I take full responsibility for what happened.
I have put the incident behind me and am looking forward to
moving on to new opportunities.
I made a mistake in judgment that went against company policy
and was fired. I’m not proud of what I did and was hard on myself
about the mistake, but I also learned a lot from the incident. There
is no point holding on to the past. I will be more careful about my
actions in the future. I am ready for a second chance and know that
I will be a better employee because of this experience.
People get fired every day. They move on and get new jobs. No matter
what the circumstances, it is best to put it behind you. Deal with
your feelings about the firing before the interview, and as you prepare
your script, you will feel more confident and less emotional
about the situation.