Interviewing and on-boarding is a costly and time-consuming process for any company and the hiring manager. Assure the interviewer that you are seeking a long-term fit with your next employer. Take a look at the career growth options with the company. If any of these stand out to you, it's a great idea to mention them to the interviewer explicitly. Your expressed interest in those particular internal opportunities will solidify the fact that you are, indeed, seeking a long-term fit with them.
"I am looking for a long-term fit in my next position. As you can see, I had strong progress and career growth in my previous company. I would love to see the same success with your company. I did notice on your website that you have global leadership opportunities. If I could work my way into a role like that, I would be thrilled."
"Five years from now, I would like to be an executive assistant in your c-suite. I am gaining a great deal of experience as an administrator and feel that I will be ready for this responsibility in that time frame."
"I currently manage a small production team; however, in five years I would like to grow into a regional management position. I researched the career path in your organization and saw that you spend a great deal of time grooming your employees for quick promotion."
"In five years, I would like to be managing a team and working towards a Director of Marketing position with your organization. I have seen examples of this progression in your organization and want this same career trajectory for myself."
"Five years from now I am interested in running my franchise. I have researched the requirements you have set for potential franchise owners and have already started saving my money to purchase my location."
"In five years I would like to be seen as an authority in the SaaS industry. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here."
"I value stability and longevity in a position and team, so in five years, I hope to be at the same school, in a position of leadership, either formally or informally. I would seek out opportunities to mentor new hires, be a coach of a team, and continue to grow as an educator. I am also planning to get my masters in team leadership, so I feel that will be a precious asset to my new school."
Bragging about yourself in an interview can be tough to do, but this is your time to shine! Which characteristics and career accomplishments have made you a stand-out candidate? Perhaps you have received some academic awards or have been given individual accolades in your most recent position. There is nobody like you, and now you need to express that to the interviewer.
"I am the best candidate for you because I have a consistent history of exceeding my targets and goals for the past three years. I have been promoted two times in the last year which is nearly unheard of in my current company. In addition to these successes, I have very excellent cold calling skills which I will put to work immediately after being hired by your company."
"I believe my success with your company will come from having all of the hard skills that you are looking for, whether learned in school or gained through work experience. I know all the key players in this region and stay informed of best practices so that I can be the most supportive executive assistant out there."
"I am the best candidate for you because I show levels of dedication and follow through that is uncommon in the workplace. As a manager, my team members are always very responsive to my upbeat and open approach. You will not be disappointed in my performance if you choose to hire me."
"I believe I'm the best candidate for your company because I have a background in sales, I've worked as a freelance marketing consultant, and now I have worked on the agency side as well. Combining these three silos of marketing is something I know will be of tremendous value to your organization and the sales and marketing projects we will work on together. Also, I want it more than anyone else. This position is a calculated move for me, not one of desperation or a blind leap, so I know that I would be a great fit for you, and you for me."
"I believe I'm the best candidate for your company because of my decade of experience at your competitor. I have experience in the specific department in question, as a team leader, and I look forward to building on those leadership skills with your organization. I know I can make an immediate, and long-term, impact."
"When I read your job posting I smiled from ear to ear because it was as though you had written it with me in mind. I know that I am the best candidate for this role because I have three years of exceeding my sales goals, inside and outside sales experience, and I know the industry. Also, I was the fastest promoted in my previous position and have led the rollout of new markets in my current position, making me ideally positioned for helping you continue to build your sales organization, markets, and exceed financial metrics. Not to mention, I am looking for a company that I can stay with for the long-term, something that you mentioned you value as well."
"I know that I would be an excellent fit for the rest of the Spanish team, the faculty as a whole, and can bring a unique, fun perspective to the Spanish department and students. Not only am I bilingual, but also I lived in Spain, Mexico, and Colombia for a total of 8 years. I feel this uniquely positions me to leverage that real-life experience to educate my students. By bringing my academic, professional, and real-life experiences to my students, I can create an engaging classroom and ignite excitement in my students."
Pick weaknesses that are not a core skill for this position. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness. Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
"I believe I could improve on some technical skills including Excel and PowerPoint. Currently I am at a beginner to intermediate level; however, I would be more comfortable at an advanced level. I have enrolled myself in an evening/weekend workshop for the next six weeks. We will see how stellar my skills are after I complete that course!"
"My primary weakness in the workplace surrounds my technical abilities. I consider myself a beginner level user in Excel, so I have decided to start a course this fall to expand on those skills."
"Everyone has weaknesses. I tend to be too nice sometimes. When vendors are not fulfilling their requirements, I tend to believe there must be a logical and understandable reason. I have to remind myself that we are paying for a service and they must meet our expectations."
"I believe my biggest area for improvement is in my software proficiency. I have a working proficiency in Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, but it's not as strong as I would like, so it's something I'm constantly working on improving. I have watched a lot of YouTube tutorials and am always seeking the advice of my graphic designer friends, so it's something that's a work in progress for sure. I hope to be much more comfortable and confident, as well as efficient, in my use of those three programs by the end of Q3. It's a personal goal I've set."
"I would say the area I need to focus on improving would be my Retail POS proficiency. I am proficient, and it does not hinder my ability to do my job successfully, but it's certainly something that I need to work on improving, and am always asking for other managers to show me their tips and tricks."
"I know this will come off as cliche, but it's truthful. My weakness is not delegating. I know what needs doing and how I want it done, so it's often easier to do it myself. However, it can inhibit my ability to grow. I cannot take on every step of a project; I need to be able to give the task or a portion of it to another team member or direct report. I've spoken with my current manager about it, and we've developed a system where he can call me out on the behavior since often I'm not aware of it. By bringing awareness to it at the moment, I find my propensity to hold onto control has decreased, so I'm certainly moving in the right direction."
"I'd have to echo my boss and say I need to spend less time concerning myself with policy. I suppose not resigning myself to it is a bit of weakness. It's certainly something I struggle with, coming to terms with the educational policies with which I disagree. I try to walk the line of advocating for my students, and future students, while being sure to be respectful of the administration and educational system as a whole."
When the interviewer asks about your work ethic, they are looking for specific examples or keywords to which they can relate. When you read the company job, posting or job description do they refer to particular company ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your work values. Some characteristics you may want to use are: - Determined/Driven - Accountable - Humble - Respectful - Dependable
"I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on your website that you describe your company as honest, transparent and you go the extra mile for your clients. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my employer every day."
"My work ethic can be described as reliable, honest, and consistent. You are welcome to speak to my references in regards to my work ethic. I am very proud of my reputation as a reliable executive assistant."
"I am honest, dependable, and hard working. I am sure that any of my coworkers would agree. As a manager, these are the qualities that I expect from my team, in return."
"I would describe myself as excited to learn, driven towards growth, and someone who executes. I am certain my previous bosses and clients would concur, and I'd happily provide them as references."
"I see myself as driven, dependable, and loyal. I always have my eye on the prize and what I want to achieve; I am always ready to jump into action whenever someone needs me. I stick with a company for the long term and love to grow with one organization. I believe that my managers would describe me as loyal and dependable, as well."
"I'd describe myself as driven and goal-oriented. I love competition and am driven by it. Nonetheless, I am a team player. I never want to disappoint and will always go the extra mile both for my own goals and team ones as well."
"I count myself among the most dedicated teachers, not only to my students but also to my school. I am hardworking, humble, kind, and passionate. I wake up every single day excited to go to work, excited about my job, my students, my school community. I want to bring my passion, humility, and drive to light up a new room and new school, hopefully, yours."
When you answer this question, draw from your last performance review and a piece of feedback you have received from your most recent boss or coworkers. You do not want to guess what your manager thinks of you. Solidify your answer by referring to the reliable employment references you can provide.
"In my recent performance reviews and discussions, my manager describes me as a hard worker, motivated, and consistent employee. I always strive to exceed expectations when I can. My current manager is happy to speak on my behalf as a positive reference as well."
"My last manager and I had a close relationship. She appreciated all of my efforts when it came to working overtime and taking my work home when required. I believe she would describe me as unique, reliable and energetic."
"My district manager and I get along well. He valued my knowledge and abilities and gave me the freedom to do the job my way, as long as I got the job done. I think he would tell you that I am dedicated and will go the extra mile to deliver results."
"My current marketing director has reviewed me noting that I am a hard worker, dependable, and effective in my execution. My results would corroborate this as well, and I also would happily provide her as a reference when we get to that stage."
"My most recent manager can be a glowing reference. She lobbied for my promotion into her previous role and mentored me a great deal. She would describe me as dedicated, loyal, a quick learner, and flexible. I am proud of these traits and love that she has, and others have recognized them in me!"
"My manager has always had nice things to say about me. In my most recent performance review, he expressed how impressed he was when I exceeded my monthly sales target within the first week on the job. He also mentioned how he appreciates my initiative in tackling new projects such as the new market I am working on from scratch. I feel fortunate to have always had a great rapport with my managers, and while I don't want to tip this current one off to me leaving, I would be happy to put you in touch with my two previous supervisors when the time comes."
"My department lead at my current school would describe me as impassioned, excited, and dedicated, as you can see in my review from last year. I am very proud that my passion and love for the language shines through to my department, students, and coworkers."
The interviewer wants to be sure that they will be able to meet your needs and not become a repeat of this current desire to leave your job. It's okay, to be honest, but be careful not to overshare. It is best if you can focus primarily on your future wish list vs. dwelling on what is going wrong in your current position.
"In my current role there is a minimal growth opportunity. One of the owners holds the next position in line, so I truly have reached my peak there. I am very thankful for everything my current company has offered me the past four years; however, I am ready to expand my horizons."
"My company is closing its doors. It was a small family run company, and the owner recently passed away. His wife decided it would be best to sell the business."
"Since my company went through a merger, I have been looking for a new role. The quality of production has declined, and I am no longer proud to represent the product that is being put out."
"I believe that I have absorbed everything I can from my current company. I have outgrown the role of marketing coordinator, and there isn't an upward move in sight. I began the search for what I believe to be the best fit for me and I found you guys! I want to work for someone who works on campaigns I believe in."
"I've been keeping an eye on your company, and location, for a long time. I am finally ready to make the leap and take a big step in advancing my career. I don't take the decision lightly, and I am so excited for what is to come. I know that I can learn more and grow faster with your company than any other, and I look forward to that opportunity."
"I feel as though I made a poor choice by taking this most recent job. Headhunted for a brand new company; the framework, leadership, and business plan described when they recruited me did not turn out anywhere close to what they'd envisioned. Nonetheless, I have stuck it out for a year and learned what I could from the position and the organization. I feel it is time to move on. Because of my most recent misstep, I am even more careful about the next move. I want to be sure that I make a solid, informed decision and I feel as though your company is where I should be for the long term."
"I am seeking a new opportunity to get closer to home. Also, now that my kids are out of elementary school, I can take the position without the conflict of potentially being assigned to their school. This district has been the dream option for me for a long time."
Before your interview, make a comprehensive list of your achievements. Perhaps you have received individual awards or accolades. Think of the value you added when working on a team project. Maybe you had your research published, won a raving performance review, or exceeded a sales goal. These are all great examples of achievements!
"My greatest career achievement was being the youngest person ever awarded a sales management position at my current company. I worked very hard for that promotion and my dedication paid off."
"My most significant achievement so far has been my ability to graduate University top of my class while working full time. I am very proud of that achievement."
"My greatest achievement was winning the North American top manager award three years in a row. The award is nomination-based, with the final decision focusing on staff retention rates, production rates, and tenure."
"I would say my greatest career achievement to date would be having launched a career in both sales and marketing, leveraging my top salesperson status to leap into marketing. I've been able to utilize my sales knowledge to launch multiple highly successful, revenue-generating campaigns."
"My greatest accomplishment is the promotion I received last year to department general manager. I began in part-time sales and had managed the third largest department in the store while being the youngest ever to do so!"
"My greatest career accomplishment was achieving the fastest promotion in the organization's history. I was not only proud of myself but also received accolades from the VP of Sales in front of the entire company, which was an extraordinary moment."
"In my current district, they were doing a referendum and proposed cutting the elementary Spanish program to save money. The parents of my students rallied around me and made such a ruckus at all the board meetings that the Spanish department remained intact. The fact that my students and their parents loved the program so much, made me feel so special."
The interviewer would like to know if you are the type of employee who would be proactive if you noticed room for change. Think of some ways you have made an impact at work. When you see something that could be improved, do you take action? Provide an example that shows you have a high level of engagement, and the required confidence to recommend a change.
"In my most recent position I implemented a work-share program when profits were declining. It was an answer to pending layoffs, and although it temporarily cut hours back for our warehouse staff, it saved us from having to make layoffs."
"In my most recent position, I suggested that we eliminate the use of fax machines by better utilizing our company technology and shared servers. I calculated the cost-savings for my boss, and it turns out that it saved us over $500/month on paper. Not to mention the positive environmental impact."
"I implemented a suggestion box regarding workplace safety initiatives. The employees were full of great ideas about how to continually improve our safety standards."
"When I started my current position, the company did not have an organized email marketing system or organized list of subscribers. I proposed compiling our current customer list and rolling out an email marketing campaign that would connect them with our blogs, different sales initiatives, and continue to grow our e-commerce efforts. Over the course of three months, I built out our subscriber list, increased that base from 426 to 1754 and have seen e-commerce sales correlate with that increase."
"In my previous role, I was responsible for merchandising our department's floor. I decided it would be more cohesive to also collaborate with the surrounding departments, and pitched the idea to the other managers and staff. They loved it, so I was responsible for leading a team to collaborate on a bi-weekly theme and work together to develop and execute that vision."
"I was part of creating and implementing a cohort of employees to suggest, plan, and execute company-wide issues that needed addressing. For instance, we identified that we needed a better, formal mentorship program for new hires. So, we created one. We crafted guidelines, gained approval from the executive team, and implemented the changes."
"One example that I'm particularly proud of is the immersion program that I helped spearhead and implement. We work as pen pals with a local school that has a dual language program, and one day per year, we go and spend a day in their classroom that is conducted 80% in Spanish. The kids love the social component, and learn so much."
The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and understand the type of manager or employer that brings out the best in you. Some individuals prefer a close working relationship with a lot of accountability, while others prefer space and autonomy. If you are unsure of the management style of the interviewing company, try to leave your answer as open as possible. You can certainly ask the interviewer to describe their management style.
"I have worked with a wide range of personalities and management styles with great success. If I could express a preference, I feel that I am best with a manager who allows me autonomy while still investing time in me through mentorship and training. Can you describe the management style here?"
"I work best with managers who are highly communicative and approachable. I don't enjoy working in a hierarchy based environment as I find it does not offer room for new ideas and creative thinking. How would you describe your management style?"
"I prefer managers who give me an assignment and let me run with it. I don't like to be micro-managed, no do I enjoy having to micromanage my team. I much prefer collaborative environments where trust is present."
"I believe I do best under a manager who sees themselves as a teacher or mentor to me. They want to dictate what I do but also involve me in seeing the big picture. I want someone who strives to help me grow into the marketing professional I aspire to be in the future, someone who gives me leeway where they see my potential to rise to the occasion, without leaving me to flounder out on my own."
"I like a manager that is interested in nurturing their employees. I don't need hand-holding, but I like when my manager takes an interest in me and encourages my drive for growth and development. My manager could encourage me by offering to be a resource, connecting me with other resources, and the like."
"I have had a lot of different types of managers, but I have found the most success when I am given some latitude to make the job, sales pitch, and process my own. I value coaching and mentorship and am accountable to the manager, my goals, and the organization's sales targets as well. With freedom, I find I can be the most successful. That said, I'm quite adaptable and can make any situation work for me."
"I thrive most in a collaborative, team-focused environment. I work well in a team environment when all of the Spanish teachers are working together to build great content, lessons, and means of getting through to our students. When the department head is supportive of our goals, helps us think of things we haven't considered, and push us to continue to do better, I feel I grow as a teacher."
You spend so many waking hours in the workplace that conflict between co-workers can happen. How you handle conflict is what the interviewer would like to know. This question is not an opportunity to start venting about your current workplace culture. An interviewer wants to see that you will take accountability for conflict whether the occurrence is considered your fault, or not. Handling workplace conflict tactfully, and with grace, should be the only option. Give a clear example of a time when you professionally managed workplace conflict.
"My style of conflict management is upfront, yet - I swiftly move on. In the five years that I have worked for my current company, I have only come across one instance of conflict. One of my staff members did not show up for their shift, so I was forced to cover their shift. Because of this, I missed my daughter's dance recital. I was upset about it but wanted to do my part as a team player. The next day, the delinquent employee came in and didn't say a word. He didn't apologize to me or thank me for my time. I approached him and told him how his actions impacted my day. He did not respond how I wanted; however, I let it go after I said my part. You cannot change the actions of others, but you have to take responsibility for how you handle your side."
"One point I learned when obtaining my Business Admin degree is that conflict is often a symptom of poor communication, so when conflict arises in the workplace, I am sure to address the situation by starting at the root of the issue - communication breakdown. With most things in life, I like to address conflict upfront rather than let them fester into a more significant issue. Speaking to someone openly, while making sure they don't feel as though you are attacking them, can yield excellent results, I find."
"I start by identifying the possible reasons for the conflict, poor communication, absence of required materials, employee morale being down, etc. From there, I talk directly with the persons conflicting to find solutions and get everyone back on track."
"I feel that I stay out of conflict for the most part. I am happy to be involved in a debate or intellectual set of differences, but when people start taking it personally or attacking one another, I remove myself from the situation. I love to collaborate and am always up for a friendly debate, however!"
"I'd say that conflict makes me uncomfortable but is entirely necessary at times. I try to stay out of it and let my coworkers handle it themselves since there is something to be learned from hashing it out without interference. That said, I am always paying attention to be sure that it doesn't go too far. When necessary, I am sure to step in and mediate, telling the parties to take a bit to cool off before we dive back in. I feel that this has been very effective for me in the past and it's something I will continue to do as a retail manager."
"In a previous role, another employee and I seemed to be clashing. Nothing overt or truly problematic, but we worked together frequently, and it was becoming toxic. Rather than let it fester, I asked to speak with her for a quick minute. We grabbed a conference room and talked. We aired out any grievances we had and quashed them right there. We went on to be great teammates and ultimately became friends outside of work as well."
"There will always be creative differences among teachers regarding our philosophies on teaching, or homework. Anything you could disagree on- we do! However, I like to approach any conflict about teaching philosophies as an opportunity to explain my perspective, why I believe what I do, and let them do the same. This way, I can potentially learn from them. It is also important to remember, both the most senior teachers and the newest hires have something important to contribute."
Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask! Consider asking, 'What are the scheduling expectations for this position?' If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations. If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you. Keep in mind that, in most states, an employer cannot demand that an employee work more than 44 hours per week.
"I am available for full-time work which is preferably 8-5 Monday to Friday. I am happy to be a team player and work some overtime, as required. Will these hours meet your expectations?"
"If you need overtime in this role, I am happy to accommodate whenever I can. My only restriction is that I cannot work Wednesday nights as I have an evening course those days."
"I am willing to work overtime. How much and how often are the first questions that come to mind. I firmly believe that downtime, or personal time, is essential to recharging your batteries and staying focused. I encourage my employees to do the same."
"In a salaried role such as this, I don't expect a strict 40 hour per week schedule, but I also know that I'm looking for a work-life balance. As needed, I'd be available to dedicate more time to the team, while hoping to preserve that balance. Would there be any other instances of overtime I should be aware of?"
"In retail, I anticipate working over 40 hours per week, especially around the holidays. That said, that comes with some limits as I do value my work-life balance. Could you share with me the expectations for this role?"
"I am looking to retain my current schedule as much as possible, which is Monday through Friday from 8:00 - 5:00. I understand with sales that there will occasionally be times when we need to put in more hours to get a deal closed or a quota met. I intend on making those moments happen, putting in the extra hours to get the sale is something I'm 100% on board with."
"As a teacher, we don't leave our work - ever. So, while the school day may be from 7:45 to 3:00, I take my job home with me on nights and weekends. Not to mention, I am currently a soccer coach at the district high school, too, so I am no stranger to long days and nights. I fully dedicate myself to my job and students."
When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may have accidentally gone a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This question offers an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful sales career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and goes to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer, and am even more cheerful when the phone rings! It must be that fresh mountain air."
"I am a calm and quiet leader, with excellent written and verbal communication skills. Even though I am quiet, I can motivate my team and keep morale high."
"I would say that I am both analytical and creative, I'm extroverted at times, but like to hunker down and work on my own to knock out projects. When not at work, I love attending musicals, museums, and traveling. Not only is it something I love, but also I think it helps me expand my horizons on how I approach my creative work."
"I am a passionate, excited team player who loves to learn on the fly, take the lead when possible, and I have a proven track record of success. I'm loyal and have shown that through my decade-long career at one employer. I have risen through their ranks, and am ready to take on the next challenge. Outside of work, I love to travel and do DIY projects in my home."
"Professionally, I'd describe myself as competitive and extroverted; I am in sales after all. Contests, encouragement, accolades motivate me, and of course, the financial carrot dangling in front of my nose. At the same time, I love a team environment and know that culture and mutual respect play such a huge role in my success. On a more personal note, I love to spend time with my family and travel as often as possible."
"I'm pretty sure you can tell, but I'm super excited and passionate about my job, the language, my students, and continual learning. I feel so privileged to have a job that I leap out of bed for every morning. I am a mom of boys, and I am a fitness enthusiast: as their soccer coach, the high school soccer coach for freshman girls, and a runner in my spare time."
Recruiters and hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications per job. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort to research the opportunity. You don't need to be an expert, but you do need to be knowledgeable about the company before your interview. Start by searching the company website and take particular note of any recent news articles, events or contributions they have made to the community. Identify their mission and values.
"Your company mission of excellent customer service and loyalty jumps out to me. It is why you are the longest standing business of all your competitors. I also love that you are working to make your office green by recycling and minimizing energy costs."
"I conducted a great deal of research before coming in today. I see that you are expanding the existing business into South America. This expansion is a great sign, and I am thrilled with the idea of being part of the administration team in a global organization."
"I have researched your organization a great deal and see that you recently earned the 'XYZ Award' for industry innovation. You had a lot of competition when it comes to winning this award, so this tells me that your team is incredibly dedicated and focused."
"I know that you are shaking up a commodity that is so beloved worldwide but barely consumed in the US, and you're working to make it accessible, understandable, and affordable. The three-pronged tagline hits your value proposition home and resonates with me as a millennial consumer of tea. As I mentioned, I've been a customer for a few years now, and so I believe I have an additional something to add in the form of personal interest."
"I know that, without a doubt, you are the industry leader, both in thought leadership as well as sales. I love that you heavily educate, train, and promote from within and that your average tenure of full-time employees in over a decade. That is an achievement to be proud of, and something I value in my next employer."
"I have been looking for a high-growth startup for quite a while, and your organization is what I've been seeking. You value your people and have an awesome culture centered around achievement, growth, and accountability. You are disrupting an industry that needs some shaking up, and you have science that is allowing that disruption. The energy in here is contagious, which only make me even more excited about the opportunity."
"I know that your district is a leading district in the state both for test scores, as well as one of the best places to work. I live in the community and send my kids to these schools, so I know first hand how great the district is. I grew up here, and I like to think that I am a great representation of all the good teaching that goes on in this district."
If the position you are interviewing for requires leadership skills, you need to come prepared with examples of when you have been an active leader. If this is an entry-level role without a leadership component, the interviewer wants to see that you can take the initiative when there is an opportunity.
"I feel I have an open, enthusiastic style of leadership. To me, a leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed since childhood. I love to be an example to follow and help guide others to bettering themselves and their careers. I've found that my teammates aren't afraid to bring me their questions or mess-ups, since they aren't afraid of repercussions, but rather know we will collaborate to figure it out and learn from it together."
"As director of administration, I am an open-door kind of leader. I give the junior account administrators space and freedom to complete their work, but my door is always open for guidance and advice."
"My leadership skills can be described as creative, open, and encouraging. I always do what I can to foster an environment that is conducive to the learning and growth of my employees. I find that by leading this way, I retain staff much longer and productivity goes up."
"I feel as though I'm a 'lead by example' type leader. I always strive to do the right thing and hope others will follow. Since I've not yet been in a marketing management position, I feel this is the best way to demonstrate my hardworking nature. I hope others will be inspired to follow suit."
"I think of myself as a coach. I am there to help my retail sales reps grow. They all have their strengths and weaknesses that I need help them identify, and make a joint plan to bring them to the best version of themselves. Every employee learns differently, so I try to understand their needs, what motivates them, and how they like to learn."
"In previous employer reviews, I have had my leadership style described as attentive, open, and confident. I will always listen to my team and give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their performance. An example of this would be with my current sales team. When one of my team members is not hitting their quota, that is when I will step in and begin coaching. I want to believe they are capable in their job unless they show me otherwise. This type of leadership has worked well with my team, and we are the #1 sales team in our region."
"As a teacher, I'm always looking to inspire leadership in my students. Also, I have been part of a mentorship program since my first year as an educator. I am one of the curriculum developers in my current position as well."
Even though you may have a great relationship with your employer, there may be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where you responded well, either by suggesting a compromise or taking a calm, relaxed stance when you could have answered in a heated tone. Getting along puts you in a high position with your boss, because it shows your desire to work together and highlights your creative problem-solving abilities.
"My boss and I disagreed about whether my assistant was right for promotion into another department. He believed that she should remain in her current role, and I also knew she wasn't quite ready; however, I knew that we'd lose a valuable team member if she weren't given an opportunity soon. We chose to promote her accompanied by heavy training. The outcome was positive."
"My previous boss wanted to have a large hand in our social media marketing despite his lack of understanding of how it worked. He wanted to add complicated pricing and photo collages where I felt that a simple teaser and call to action was enough. We compromised, and each did it our way for one week. We then collected the insights related to customer engagement on each. I was correct in my stance. After that, he allowed me to manage our social media independently."
"I had a boss that regularly forced overtime on employees at the last minute with no opportunity to make personal arrangements. I spoke with him at length about morale, and eventually, he started giving the notice sooner, making everyone's lives easier."
"In a previous role, my supervisor thought we did not need to invest the time or money into growing an email distribution list or consistently putting out email content. I strongly disagreed, especially after getting my email marketing certification. I approached the topic gingerly and used hard numbers from case studies and tied them to the ROI. By removing emotion from the equation, and focusing strictly on data and analytics, I was able to lay it out in a way that would be hard to dispute or elicit an emotional response. He ultimately gave the green light for piloting the program."
"I have done my best to always get along with my bosses, but inevitably I've disagreed with them in the past. The disagreements have been about the distribution of tasks among the staff. I'm not very confrontational, but I did pull my boss aside on a few occasions to let her know that the treatment seemed unfair to me and it was hurting morale. I asked her to please stay in touch with me about my team and let me make those types of decisions since I know the team intimately. She was not thrilled at first since it questioned her authority and knowledge of the team, but after explaining how it was impacting the morale, productivity, and ultimately my influence as a leader, she tried it my way, and it has gone well since."
"My sales director and I disagreed on the pending termination of one of my sales employees a short time ago. I wanted to spend time training him a bit more after he missed his targets for four months in a row. My director wanted to terminate him immediately. I presented to my director that it would be more expensive to replace him than to re-train. He agreed, and we came to a middle ground."
"I like to think that my department chair and I have a great relationship in which we can both challenge each other to think differently. In light of that, we do occasionally disagree but always respectfully. Through this process, we have become more innovative and thoughtful with the policies, curriculum, and lessons we implement."
The interviewer wants to know how your education has prepared you for this job. A few highlights you can focus on are some of the relevant topics you learned about while attending your courses. Discuss how they will help you in this new role. Some ideas for you: - If you have experience working on group projects, share how you improved your listening and communication skills when working on a challenging project. - If you learned a new type of software or equipment type you will need to know about in this new job, talk about what you know and how you will apply this knowledge. While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned at your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include: - Time Management - Creative Thinking - Proposal Writing - Public Speaking - Presentation Building - Independent Learning - Academic Research - Self-Motivation
"I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in 2007 from University XYZ. I received a variety of scholarships due to strong grades. I was on the Dean's list and graduated top of my class. This experience taught me pure dedication and how to manage deadlines."
"I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in Communication and Journalism. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger business relationships through professional correspondence. I also learned persuasive writing skills which have proven to be incredibly helpful when editing client proposals."
"I received my Master's in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Before that, my undergraduate degree was also in Computer Science. This education helped further form my analytical mind. My analytical way of thinking is well suited to a management role where I oversee technicians and engineers."
"I earned my degree in economics from the liberal arts college at my state university. So while my degree exposed me to the business side of the world, the rest of my education was in the humanities. I feel as though I've leveraged both sides of my education in my career. I certainly learned things outside of the classroom including time management, how to work cooperatively in a group, and how to be intrinsically motivated. I truly think I use these skills on a daily basis, so I'm especially grateful for my education."
"I have my associates degree in fashion merchandising and my bachelors in communications. I received a scholarship for my excellent grades and worked full time throughout college. Fashion merchandising helps daily in my job, as does my training in communications. Also, I learned time management, avoiding exhaustion during peak times."
"I have a B.A. in English and Spanish. I graduated with a 4.0 from ABC College. I worked full time while going to school, so I learned a lot of time management skills and that I work best under some degree of pressure. I know that these skills I learned during college have helped me thus far in my career and I have continued to refine these competencies. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow from new experiences and bring my education and life skills to your company. I think I will be a strong asset to an already seemingly incredible team."
"I have my Bachelor's in Spanish education K-12 as well as a reading endorsement. I graduated from Elmhurst College with honors. I am also looking to head back for my masters in teaching leadership. I value continuous learning and want to ensure that my graduate degree applies to my day to day job."
The interviewer would like to know if you are willing to offer overnight or daytime travel. Mention of work-related trips may not be in the job posting. Be sure to express how willing and flexible you are (or are not) when it comes to travel. It is okay to ask questions such as how many overnights you would be expected to take, or what the overall travel schedule may be.
"I understand that regular travel is not a requirement of this role; however, I am certainly willing to travel for trade shows, conferences, or client appointments as needed. Could you share with me a bit more about any travel requirements for this position?"
"I have never been required to travel for work, but I am certainly happy to accommodate the travel needs for this position. Do you have an idea of how much travel is involved in this position?"
"In my current position, I travel approximately six overnights per month which is a comfortable pace for me. I am willing to discuss your travel schedule further and come up with a solution that works well for the company, and my family responsibilities."
"Much of what I do, as a Marketing Director, can be done from remote work situations so I have not been required to travel more than 10-20% of the time, in my previous positions. With that said, I am happy to discuss your requirements related to travel and accommodate the needs of this position."
"Traveling for work is something that has always interested me. Could you share more regarding travel opportunities in this position?"
"As a sales professional, I am accustomed to a great deal of travel. Currently, I spend approximately half of my month on the road for overnight trips. Your job posting mentioned that 40% travel would be required. Is this correct?"
"Travel is not something that I have truly considered, as an educator, however, I am not opposed to it. If you would like to share me with any travel requirements for this position, I would appreciate that very much."
Companies will often ask this question because they want to know which of their candidate attraction strategies are delivering the best results. They also ask because they would like to understand if an employee referral is involved. Employee referral based hires are statistically more successful, as they are happier employees who stay longer. You can be brief and to the point in your reply.
"I learned about this role from Indeed.com when searching for internship opportunities. I believe the keywords that I used were 'recent graduate' and 'business development.' I hope that information is helpful to you!"
"This position was sent to me by a former colleague who knew that I was looking for a role within the oil and energy industry. I believe she saw your job posting on an industry-specific job board. I can find the details for you if you would like."
"I was referred to this position by your employee, John Doe. He mentioned to me that you were searching externally for this floor manager position and thought of me right away."
"A recruiter from ABC Recruitment firm approached me regarding this role. After meeting with her and reviewing all of the details I knew this position was a dream come true for me!"
"When shopping in the mall last weekend, I noticed the 'Now Hiring' sign in your window. I came by the next day and dropped my resume off with your assistant manager. Thank you for seeing me so quickly - that was just last week!"
"I worked with one of your clients on a major project a couple of months ago, and he mentioned that your company was hiring. This particular person knew that I was looking for career growth and a change. I am thrilled he thought of me."
"I applied to your school shortly after relocating to this city. This school is just a few blocks from my home. The location is convenient, but I have also heard great things through the teaching community here."
The interviewer would like to know if a conflict in the workplace is a common occurrence or if you have to think long and hard to recall a time when you fought with a co-worker. We should all do our best to keep the peace in the workplace; however, that may not always be the case. Avoid extreme examples that will upset you. Instead, discuss a time when there was a miscommunication. Talk about how you smoothed the situation out and be sure to mention how your relationship with that co-worker ended up being harmonious in the end.
"Just last week I had a co-worker mad at me. This situation doesn't happen too often since I am easy to get along with but we had a big miscommunication. She was working off of the old schedule, and I was working off of the new one. She thought that I had not shown up for my shift when, in fact, it was my day off. We worked it out, and each apologized to each other for the gap in communication."
"I worked with an individual some time ago who was often upset with me for the speed at which I worked. I am a go-getter and a multi-tasker, and she felt that I was making her look bad since her pace was much slower. I assured her that it was just my busy-body personality and that my deliveries did not have anything to do with her. She was insecure about her performance, and it was not my responsibility to make her feel better about her work ethic, but I chose to remain a team player. I continued being my true self, and went about my business."
"As a manager, I will often have employees upset with me for changing the schedule, cutting hours back, terminating those who need to be let go, and more. I have harmonious relationships more often than not. I do like to get along with others; however, I will not sacrifice the good of the company just to be liked by others."
"In marketing, we will come across disagreements on creative direction from time to time. This situation rarely amounts to a full-blown conflict; however, it can when the stakes are high. Last year, upon approaching a significant deadline, I had a co-worker yell at me for not meeting a deadline. It turns out she had missed my email with the attached document that she needed. I stood up for myself and told her that she is not permitted to speak to me like that again. We eventually made up, but it took a few days for her to apologize for inappropriate office behavior."
"I worked with a guy, earlier in my retail career, who would blatantly steal sales and commissions. It was a terrible work environment, and I was always on edge. We would often argue about his behavior. I ended up leaving that job when I realized that the management team would not support my concerns. It was a lesson learned, and a valuable one. It's important to get along with your co-workers but also to feel comfortable in your workspace."
"Sales environments can often be stressful which can create more opportunities for conflict than certain other industries or job types. I recently had a co-worker angry with me when they thought I was poaching their client. What this colleague did not realize was that I had already added the lead into their sales funnel for them. We worked out the misunderstanding quickly, and I focused on building further trust with that individual."
"Great question! I have never experienced a full-blown conflict with a co-worker; however, my work has always been quite independent. Should I experience conflict with a co-worker, I would want to mend the situation as soon as possible. It's incredibly important to maintain a harmonious workplace environment, especially in the education sector."
Being let go from your position is an unfortunate event; however, it happens to the best of us and often for situations that are out of our control. It's best to own up to it if you have ever lost your job. Be brief in your explanation but also let the interviewer know what you learned.
"I experienced a termination once before. Earlier in my career, I was not as prompt as I am today. After coming to work late a couple of times, my boss lets me go. It was embarrassing and changed the course for me. I am much more dedicated and have not been late for work in years."
"I have never bee asked to leave a role; however, I have worked in temporary positions that were not a good fit. I understand what it is like to feel the insecurity of unemployment and always commit to delivering my finest work."
"As a manager, I have terminated a few employees. Terminations are always tough conversations to have, but because I experienced a firing in the past, I can approach the situation in an empathetic way. Earlier in my career, I was let go for not meeting my sales numbers. I could have used further training, but I also could have taken more ownership for my performance."
"Luckily I have never experienced a termination. I like to give my best, in all situations. If I am not performing up to my employers' standards, I would appreciate an open and transparent conversation so that I have the opportunity to adjust my approach and deliver better work."
"I have lost my job from the company merging with another. I hoped to have kept my job through the acquisition, but because I was only part-time, I did not receive preference."
"I was terminated from my most recent position due to missing my sales target three months in a row. I did everything in my power to meet my numbers, but unfortunately, it was not enough. Since then, to avoid this from happening again, I have taken two sales related courses through the Dale Carnegie program. I have my confidence back, along with some great new techniques in my sales arsenal."
"I have never come close to termination, let alone being written up for misconduct or poor performance. My reputation as an educator is incredibly important to me."
The interviewer would like to know how this particular position fits in with your employment goals and dreams. This open-ended question can be tricky to navigate because you need to remember that you are not talking to a friend. Maybe you want to be a dolphin trainer, but this reception job has nothing to do with it, and it's best not to bring that up. Discuss what excites you most about this exact role. Keep your answer brief and avoid rambling on.
"My dream job is a position that will allow me to grow and learn while applying my new education. I am most excited about this role with your company because it will allow me to put into practice everything I learned while completing my CPA."
"My dream job is not necessarily a specific function, but more of a workplace or cultural feel. I have had my eye on your organization for a couple of years, especially after reading the list of awards you have been nominated for, related to being a top employer."
"My dream job is one where I have the tools and flexibility to be a great mentor to my team. I am passionate about investing in my top performers so a dream employer would be an organization that supports this passion. Would you agree that this describes your company?"
"My dream job is one where I can exercise my creativity in a variety of ways. I appreciate that your company works in pods and that you allow your team players to try their hand at a variety of tasks of interest to them. I look forward to working on your talented, and diverse, team."
"I love retail and fashion, which is why I applied to your organization. Although it isn't my dream to be a floor sales representative all of my career, I am deeply interested in working my way up in your organization, perhaps in a merchandising or even a buyer role one day."
"Being a business development representative IS my dream job! I am thrilled to be considered for this role and career path with your company. The fact that you offered international travel and continued education opportunities make this position even more enticing."
"My dream is to be an educator in a school that focuses' less on traditional learning methods and allows for creativity in the classroom. When I read an article about the new teaching methods you have implemented in your classes, I knew I had to apply."
The example you use in this answer will help the interviewer to determine the level of responsibility you have in your current position. For instance, if your hardest decision is what to have for lunch, you likely aren't in a place to be the leader of 15 incumbents. Discuss some of the weightier responsibilities and decisions assigned to you, in your current or most recent role.
"The hardest decision I made recently was related to budget cuts. We had to eliminate some additional expenses but narrowing down which ones to cut was more challenging than I initially thought. I presented two options to my boss, and he is currently weighing the options I brought to him."
"I had to decide on which temporary associates to hire to cover the permanent employee vacation times this summer. I balanced between someone I knew would catch onto the job quickly but also fit in well with our clients and existing staff."
"The hardest decision I had to make recently was yesterday. I fired two of our lowest sales performers. These terminations came after some coaching opportunities were provided but not implemented. It is never fun to fire anyone, but this needs to be done at times to keep productivity and to reach corporate goals."
"I was recently asked by the owner of my agency to fire a client. It was a challenging situation because I do not like this type of conflict; however, it needed to happen. The client was not cooperating with the process needed to deliver our best product, and within their demanding timeline."
"The hardest decision I made recently was to create the employee schedule for the next week. My manager usually does the scheduling, but I was put in charge of this task while she is away on holidays. It's harder than I looks, but I believe I did an excellent job!"
"I had to swap around the client territory of our team last month. There were a few sales reps who were not happy about the change, but they were also the ones underperforming. I explained the system and also reminded them that the premium client accounts belong to the top performers."
"I recently recommended the suspension of a student with severe behavioral issues. It was not an easy choice; however, I had to evacuate the classroom a few times the past couple of months. This behavior is unfair to the other students."
The interviewer would like to see that you have put some thought into your action plan for when you start working for their company! Ways that you can make an impact right away could include getting a head start on your training, taking additional coursework, or making a 30, 60, 90-day sales plan. Whatever the job function for which you are interviewing, there is always room to wow the interviewer by showing them you have already put some thought into your success.
"In my first three months I plan to be the fastest trainee you have ever brought onboard! I will spend extra time learning the ropes. You'll be very impressed with my steep learning curve."
"You mentioned in our first interview that you need someone to come in and re-organize all of your digital and physical files from the past five years. This organizing is a task I know I can do well, and quickly. I would like my initial impact to be in that area if this suits you."
"For my first three months here I would like to get to know each of your staff members and become acquainted with their performance and numbers. From there, I can best make an action plan in regards to motivating and encouraging your team, especially the underperformers that you mentioned."
"I believe the first few months, while I train, the best thing I can do is study hard and take any additional training in digital marketing, that you see fit. You mentioned that you'd like to see stronger skills in Facebook marketing so I can certainly take some additional coursework in that area, to benefit both of us."
"I believe the best thing that I can deliver to you in my first three months, and long after that, is being a reliable and engaged employee who encourages customers to try new products. I plan to be well-versed in your product's features and benefits right out of the gates, making me a top performer."
"I have brought with me a 30,60, and 90-day plan. May I show you? This plan outlines how I will exceed my targets in the first three months while getting to know my new clients and learning the territory, and products. I am very excited to get started!"
"The first few months of my role will be to get to know my students. It's most important to me that I make a connection with them. This connection will allow me to reach them where they are; resulting in more effective classroom time."
This question is a tricky one because you do not want to foster an air of negativity during the interview. If you have heard negative things about the employer, you likely do not yet have the rapport to bring it up let alone help them make a move towards change. Keep your answer light and comfortable for the interviewer to address. The key here is to complete your response on a positive note.
"I read on Glassdoor.com that growth within your company can be slow. Could you comment on that for me? I am interested in joining an organization where growth is present when I prove myself to be a valuable team member. With that said, I have heard many more amazing things about your company, as opposed to negative."
"I cannot even remember where I heard it, but I did hear at one point that your hiring decisions can be a touch slow. Do you have a timeline in mind for filling this particular position? I am willing to be patient with your process, either way. It's an important decision, I realize."
"Negative does not always mean it's true - this is one lesson that I have learned after years of being in a leadership role. I have heard primarily great things about your company. Anything negative that I have heard, such as turnover or slow growth, are complaints that all enterprise-level organizations receive."
"I read a less than flattering review online from a disgruntled employee. I take those comments with a grain of salt, as there are always two sides to a story. When looking online, the positive far outweighed any negative comments."
"I have heard the usual comments that retail stores receive related to lack of training, unhappy customers, and high turnover. I asked around a bit before coming here today as I have a couple of friends who work here. Everyone I spoke to said it was a great environment, so I am going to lead with those positive thoughts instead!"
"One thing I have heard was that your sales targets are very challenging to achieve. Are you able to speak to that at all? I am a proven top performer who loves a challenge, but I certainly want to make sure that I am set up for success."
"Your school has a wonderful reputation. The only negative I have heard was in the district as a whole and was related to small budgets, and some additional cuts. I am happy to discuss this further if you are open to that."
The interviewer is curious and would like to know if you are visiting any of their close competitors to discuss similar roles. You are never under obligation to disclose who you are interviewing with, and you are usually best not to name any names. Be direct without giving away too much. Let the interviewer know that you are active in your search but are being very discerning regarding your applications, and final decision. You also do not want it to appear that you are putting all of your eggs into this one basket. Think of this as a first date question - you want to show your interest, but also keep some mystery!
"I have been interviewing for a couple of similar positions; however, I am furthest in the interview process with your organization. I am very pleased with the impressions your management and HR team members have left on me so far."
"I am interviewing with two other organizations for similar roles. One position, I am in the third interview stage, and the other was a pre-screen call with an in-person interview tomorrow. It is important to me that I find work soon; however, I will hold out for the right opportunity."
"I have been approached by Company ABC, and one other, to discuss similar management roles. I am most familiar with your company, and this is my preferred role. Do you have a timeline in mind for this decision?"
"The marketing world is a tight one so, for that reason, I am choosing to keep the details of my search confidential. Three other local marketing firms have approached me, and look forward to receiving an offer soon."
"There are many seasonal retail positions available right now. With that said, your position is of great interest because it is a full-time opportunity. Also, I shop here all the time and would love to be a permanent part of your organization."
"I am not in a position to disclose which of your competitors are engaging me at the moment but I can tell you that I am in early to mid-interview stages with two others. Your company is my first choice, and luckily we are furthest along in the interview process."
"Your school is my first choice due to the leadership team, and the location. I have applied to other schools in the district as well, but I certainly hope to be your first choice as well!"
The interviewer would like to see if you have any insight regarding opportunities in which they can become better in the industry. As a job seeker, you have a unique advantage because you have gone through their process, or at least a little bit of it, as an outsider. Discuss what you have observed as a candidate, or even as a past customer. Your reply should not be a serious critique. Be sure to keep your answer light and end on a positive note.
"I have been through a great deal of your interview process at this point, and I must say that your company has the fastest callback time, and are the most responsive overall. The only thing I could even mention at this point is that the job portal was a bit tough to navigate. Overall, I am thrilled with my experience."
"I did notice that your employer profiles on social media could be stronger. Those profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Instagram can be helpful resources for candidates. I set these up for my previous employer and would be happy to do the same for you, should I be the successful candidate in this role."
"I have heard excellent things about your organization including how you perform your exit interviews with employees who are leaving your company. You mentioned in our previous interview that your company could be more efficient in the hiring process. This task is one that I can certainly tackle once I am on board."
"I find your agency to be highly creative but perhaps a touch underrated compared to other local agencies. I want to yell from the rooftops how valuable your team is, and the fact that you are lower priced than most is incredible."
"I truly appreciate the effort you put into your onboarding process, and how quickly you have moved with my candidacy so far. I am happy with all that I have seen and have no valuable suggestions at this time."
"I have been a customer, as well as now a candidate, with your company. If I could make any recommendations, I would suggest strengthening your social media presence. 100% of your next generation of customers are online. I can help you with meeting them there through a stronger sales based social strategy."
"I have not spent enough time in your school district to make an educated recommendation; however, as an experienced educator, I can guess that your pain points may come from public education budget cuts. Is this correct?"