Wednesday, July 20, 2016

101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions by Ron Fry (Book Review #31 of 2016)

101 Great Answers by Ron Fry 

I read this book in prepping for an interview, but it is good to read it even if you're just updating your resume/CV. That particular interview was mostly a behavioral interview, where you are told to explain specific times you displayed attributes like composure, initiative, etc. There was also a hypothetical situation component, where you were given a scenario or problem and asked to explain what you would do, how you would solve it. 101 Great Answers covers those types of interviews pretty well toward the end of the book and that is where I paid most attention. It does not mention the well-worn STAR (Situation or Task, Action you took, Results you achieved) approach, which would have helped the reader; acronyms are helpful to remember steps in high-stress situations. But the employer-centered approach is good-- it's a reminder of the risks the interviewer is facing that you are being screened for.

Fry recommends putting together a dossier of information about yourself that you can recall quickly and easily.
    - What's your employment, education, volunteer, and honors history?
    - How would people describe you?
    - What are your strongest skills, greatest areas of expertise, best personality traits, things you do best, key accomplishments, etc.
    - Practice showing your strengths in behavioral questions, not specifics of a situation. How have you leveraged your skillsets to solve problems for your employers?

Relax. Replace words like "anxious" with words like "excited," (I don't remember if that was actually in the book but it was in an article I read the same week as this book and it's in my notes). Maintain eye contact. Practice putting a positive spin on everything; if a job or project didn't work out, state what good did come of it or what you learned from the experience. Lead the interviewer to his preferred conclusion.

Share your management experience; if none, talk about consensus decision making and teams. Importantly, give examples of your tenacity. If a failure is part of your CV, name something unrelated to the job you are applying for (unless you have a good interviewer who wants to know what you learned). How will you not make the same mistakes again? How will you manage if given the chance?

What's the difference between a good boss and a bad boss?
    - A good boss helps others to learn.

Highlight your organization skills, and if you don't have them then develop them quickly. Make to-do lists and prioritize your tasks.

Show that you're adaptive to change. What changes were hard for you but turned out for the positive?

Know how to describe your current organization's tree? (In my own case, the tree might be confusing.) Make sure the organization tree matches your answers about your job responsibilities.

Answer this question: What do you want this job for?
- for more responsibility, more growth, etc.
- Say: "I look forward to..."
What are your new objectives or goals?

Hypothetical situational interview section:
You should demonstrate a "yes" to the following:
- Do you respect chain of command?
- Can you learn?

Admit it when a tough hypothetical situation would make you nervous.
Weigh the alternatives in each situation. Show how you reached your decision.
Don't be afraid to say you'd ask for help, or admit you don't know.
Never joke!

Also: Be aware of inappropriate questions
- Anything to do with current or applied for job are likely illegal.
Interviewer can ask about professional memberships. Avoid answering with church affiliations.
A current earnings question is legal and okay. Past earnings, however, is not, your assets are not. Know your state's guidelines.

In all, I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. A good, quick preparation.

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