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CAREER CORNER

The job interview [Michael Kinsman] To many of us, those three words create one of the most chilling phrases in the English language. It’s an emotionally wrenching phrase that connotes desire and vulnerability as well as success and rejection.

Q: What are your strengths?

The phrase can have implications for our

A: Most of us would feel backed into a corner

whole lives. At times, it can determine where

by this question, but don’t let that happen.

we will live, how well we will live, how happy

Tell the interviewer about the value you

A: OK, we know you are a good employee.

we will be in a major pursuit, what colleges

received from your education and how it

Everyone is - at least in their own eyes. Tell

are children will be able to afford or how we

intersected with career opportunities that

a story that demonstrates your strength

will spend our retirement years.

you just couldn’t pass up. This characterizes

in action and shows how the impact it had.

you as results-oriented.

Be prepared for this question because it is

This is a loaded phrase, no matter how you

definitely going to be asked.

read it.

Q: What is this gap in your resume?

But the Five O’Clock Club, a New York-based

A: Job gaps happen, even to good workers.

career coaching network, is trying to give

You have to be honest with this, but you

A: This is another one of those landmine

us a perspective on dreaded job interview.

should be prepared to discuss what you did

questions. Be prepared for it. Invest some

It believes that if you have the right attitude

during that gap that you found personally

time in creating an answer that addresses

about the job interview and demonstrate your

rewarding or educational.

why this particular job fits into your career or

Q: What are you looking for?

self-confidence, you’ll do just fine. “Hiring managers are often less interested in what candidates say than in the way they handle themselves,” says Richard Bayer, chief operating officer of the Five O’Clock Club. Bayer has put together a list of 10 tough job-interview questions and advice on how to best respond to them. His advice is worthy of our attention. Q: Tell me about yourself?

Q: Tell me about the worst boss you’ve ever had? A: Speak very carefully here. Your future employer is likely to internalize the way you describe your former employer. Don’t get sucked into a situation that may torpedo your chances of landing a job. Talk about what you learned from each boss you’ve had, including the one that was the worst. Don’t be afraid to say you disagreed on strategic issues with a former boss, but steer clear of providing details.

life plans. You have to have a good answer for this, or you’ll shoot yourself in the foot. Q: How would you handle this? A: Be careful with this one. Unless you are absolutely certain of what to do and all the ramifications, steer around it. Say something like “That is similar to a situation I faced a couple of years ago and here’s what I did about it.” You are giving a response the interviewer wants, even if you are not addressing the question at hand.

Q: What are your weaknesses?

Q: How much are you looking to earn?

your work history. The interviewer already

A: Now why would you reveal these? Well,

A: Stall. Keep your current salary to

knows where you have been. Instead,

because if you say you have none, you will

yourself. Tell the interviewer that while you

talk about your strengths, some of your

be labeled evasive. We all have weaknesses.

are looking to earn more, you are not out

achievements and why your hands-on

Address one of two of yours, demonstrate

to rob the bank but expect a salary that is

experience makes you a sound candidate for

that you are fully aware of them and discuss

commensurate to the job responsibilities.

the job you are seeking.

how you are working to improve that aspect

Insist that it is more important that you both

of yourself. Your honesty will score you

agree you are the right person for the job

valuable points.

before you talk salary.

A: Don’t head into a two-hour recitation of

Q: Why didn’t you finish college?

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CAREER CORNER

Q: What questions do you have for us? A: By the time this question rolls around, you’re probably emotionally drained from the interview and won’t be able to think on your feet. That’s why you should have completed a list of half-dozen questions you’ll have ready once the interview ends. One of two of them might have been addressed during the interview, but you’ve still got more. There are 10 tough questions and some ideas on how to answer them. Remember, the important thing is to prepare yourself for the interviewer with answers that are true to your character. Don’t lose a job because you didn’t spend enough time thinking about questions like this. © Copley News Service

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The job interview