A great manager is someone to who people want to emulate. An active manager will have exceptional interpersonal, and relationship building skills. Talk to the interviewer about some of the qualities that you admire, and value, in a leader. If you are applying for a management position, discuss the best management qualities that you hold. It's a great idea to draw some ideas from the company's job description as that document will have many useful keywords you can bring into the conversation. Some great management qualities are: - Accountable - Invested in Culture - Positive Mindset - Perceptive - Approachable - Empathetic - Honest - Patient - Decisive
"Most importantly, I think a successful manager should have great people skills. People are your most valuable asset and your ability to work with, get along with and inspire people to work well with you is critical to your success as a manager."
"I read in your job description for this role that you are looking for a manager who is collaborative and energetic. I agree that these are must-have qualities for a manager to be successful. I certainly identify with these qualities. Some qualities that make me a successful manager are my strong listening and analytical skills, and my decisiveness when it comes to decision making."
"I think the most successful manager is someone who is firm but nurturing. I like a manager who is like a coach, always working to make me better and willing to teach me something, but firm and direct when needed."
"In my experience, a manager is only as successful as their investment in their people is strong. A manager must care for their employees, and make sure they are growing to meet expectations. A successful manager will communicate expectations, hold people accountable for achievable goals and be the shining light that gets everyone fired up to do their best at all times. That means not taking favorites, and leading by example at all times."
"I believe the best type of manager leads by example at all times. They are approachable, hardworking, and fair. Also, they don't just talk the talk without walking the walk. It is irksome when a leader says that we need to put in the long hours but leaves earlier than everyone else, for instance."
"I believe it's essential that a leader identifies talent and nurtures it. I've seen far too many Principals and District leads choose favorites and let more talented folks go by the wayside, which is a shame for everyone involved. A leader needs to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and always ready to roll up his or her sleeves and tackle even the smallest of projects to help out the team. "
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 Be sure to comb the job description for keywords so that you can match your post-secondary experiences with the skills for which they are seeking!
"My post-secondary education provided me with the information and structure needed to perform in the administrative world. Interning helped get my feet wet with my career as an administrative assistant."
"My degree is in Economics and International Studies, which taught me not only the theoretics behind a business but also interpersonal relations across cultures and nations. I also learned a lot about presentation building, public speaking, and working in a collaborative environment. All of these skills have been an asset to my career to date."
"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 Communications 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 working on client proposals, and in negotiations."
"I believe my combination of studies in both a community college, where I earned my associates in fashion merchandising, as well as my time spent getting my B.A. in communications, have uniquely positioned me to succeed in this industry as a whole, and your organization specifically. I learned the nuts and bolts of how things should work in college both from a fashion standpoint as well as best practices in communications. Daily, I apply my academic training in fashion, merchandising, department floor planning, how to run sales, as well as public speaking and presentation making. I will continue to refine these skills daily as I join your team."
"I learned in college while taking an overload of credit hours and working full time that I respond well to pressure. This resistance to stress is something that I've brought into my professional life as well. I prefer a heavier workload, within reason, and feel the most accomplished and thrive in these sorts of situations. Of course, I have also learned my limits and know when I need to ask for help or a break."
"Academically speaking, I learned to perfect my writing and speaking skills through English literature courses, and a B.A. in Education. Giving large-scale presentations was also a large part of my education experience. This skill has proven very transferable and allowed me to effectively communicate both in written and oral contexts, which has been of great value to my students and me."
Employers want to know that you are respectful of your leaders. While you do not always have to agree with your leader, the interviewer wants to see that you respond to them with kindness and respect. Talk about a time when your boss made a choice to which you did not agree. Explain how you responded. The key to successfully answering this question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are a respectful employee who treats others with dignity and kindness. If you are newer to your career, you can draw from a post-secondary example (Perhaps you had a conflict with a professor).
"I had a conflict with a manager earlier in my career. One of our team members skipped out on work six times in one month, and I was always asked to cover their shift last minute. I was frustrated and could not understand why my manager wasn't just terminating the employee. I reacted hastily, and the manager patiently reminded me that he had his reasons. He explained that he asked me to cover the shifts because he liked me and I was reliable. It turns out the absent employee had serious health concerns, and our manager was trying to be empathetic without disclosing the situation to our team. I felt terrible and learned that sometimes things aren't always as they seem. I apologized, and all was well."
"There are times when I have asked questions or brought up suggestions that challenged a boss or coworker. We resolved the matter with humility and the intent to resolve the problem while better understanding the opposing viewpoint."
"One of my first bosses was very hard to get along with as his expectations were often unreasonable and would come with little explanation. I stayed with him for about two years and left when I knew I was no longer benefitting from his leadership. I did keep my head down for the most part, but the benefit came to me at a later time, when I took on my first management role. I knew what I did not want to be like and thus, the experience helped to shape my management style."
"I had a boss that was incredibly skilled at his job but was overly direct. He led with tough love, and while that worked for him and some people, it did not go well with the graphic designer on our team. I tried to stick up for her and let him know that while his heart was in the right place, his approach wasn't effective and was hurting her productivity. At first, it was a conflict because he felt insulted that I was questioning his management, but finally, we were able to come to an understanding, and he considered a new approach for her and the employees in general. I was happy that I stood up for her in a tactful way and the department was better off as a result."
"One of my first mentors shared with me a nugget of knowledge: if you're comfortable, you're not growing. So, I try to seek out opportunities for small discomfort whenever possible. I keep a running list of things that I have identified as areas for improvement in the department and bring them up tactfully with my boss. When I lay out the reasons for the upgrades, she lets me tackle the issue. Occasionally she pulls rank and says no, and though it's frustrating, I know that she must know more than I do, so I bite my tongue and put my head down and get back to work."
"I have disagreed on many occasions with professors or bosses, but there have only been a few times where it has come to a head. One instance that comes to mind was regarding the distribution of my accounts when I was transitioning to another role. My boss had a plan that conflicted with the recommendations, which was a problem because I know some of my accounts specifically disliked those account managers. I laid out the reasons why I was upset and frustrated with the decisions he was making. He explained why he was making them, and in the end, we identified three accounts that could be switched around so that everyone was happy and the branch didn't lose any business."
"I have experienced conflict with the student of a parent recently, which was quite unnerving. The parent misunderstood the grade that their child came home with and came down hard on me via email, and then by calling my Principal the following day. I called the parent immediately, asking for a face to face meeting. Once we met in person and I was able to walk the parent through the project, and expectations, they realized their child did indeed breeze over a lot of the work. A face to face meeting made all of the difference in that situation."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the queries you have are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers for from merely watching a video on their company site! Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working here? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me?
"I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"
"Thank you for asking! A couple of questions come to mind. What do you see as the biggest challenge your company will be facing in the next 12 months? Also, what is your employee turnover rate, and could you tell me a bit about the retention plan you currently have in place?"
"A few questions come to mind, so thank you for asking. What's the next market the company is looking to tackle? I know you're launching a bottled beverage soon, so I wonder what is next."
"I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
"I appreciate you opening the floor for questions. I am wondering what your timeline is for a decision on this opening? Also, what was the biggest struggle the last educator encountered in this role?"
Typically, employees find motivation through environments where they feel supported and encouraged. The interviewer wants to know how they could drive you - even on the toughest of days! Be open with the interviewer about the ways you can stay motivated on the job when the going gets tough.
"It does not take a lot to keep me motivated. If I work in a positive environment with a forward-thinking team, I am a very happy employee. If you see me going above and beyond, a quick thanks or little recognition of my hard work is good enough for me."
"I consider myself a self-motivated individual who is constantly striving to be better and do better. I draw inspiration from leaders in the industry and those around me to keep my motivation high."
"I enjoy researching and am motivated by implementing new best practices when change is required. Stagnant environments drain me. I like change, but only if it is justified, and when there is a chance for visible improvement in efficiency or morale."
"I'm motivated by accomplishing a goal together, as silly as that sounds. It's cool to see an idea that was just in someone's head, get moved onto paper, then into the real world and see the campaign come to life and result in sales. Financial motivation works for me, too, but that's a result a successful marketing campaign execution, so it's all coupled together."
"I'm motivated by financial targets, helping the team grow, and learning opportunities. I do love some recognition, whether private or public, and a quick pat on the back goes a long way."
"I am intrinsically motivated. I like to challenge myself to do something and then achieve it. Breaking my previous records, for instance, is a real high for me. I am in sales, after all! Quotas and dollars certainly motivate me, and I love praise and accolades. I'm not needy, but when my work is noticed and appreciated, you will notice that I work even harder in return."
"I am excited and motivated at work when my tasks and responsibilities have a meaning. I dedicate myself to helping my students, so I am at my peak of motivation when I know they are excelling."
Everyone has had that one boss that nearly drove them crazy. If you haven't - consider yourself lucky! At the very least, you probably know someone who had a manager with which they did not mesh. Your worst manager may have been someone who didn't know how to take the lead. Maybe they lacked confidence or training. Talk to the interviewer about an experience you've had with a manager who was not a strong leader. Be sure to end on a positive note and avoid allowing this to become an opportunity to bring someone down.
"Earlier in my career, I had a manager who was not a team player. My colleagues and I did not know how to react to the lack of leadership which meant that much of what we did was self-taught. I always told myself that if I were a manager, I would be a knowledgeable one who would encourage my team to be the best. Although my experience wasn't amazing, I am thankful for the opportunity to learn the type of behaviors to avoid as a manager."
"I am proud to say I have never worked with a manager or leader I could not respect or look up to in some form of mentorship. I imagine a terrible manager to be disengaged, lack communication and have a poor ability to build relationships with their team or business."
"One of the first managers I had was not well equipped for her role - she simply wasn't trained, so I do not fault her for that. However, she spent her days complaining about her lack of training rather than seek it out herself. I am a major proponent of research and feel that a good manager will find a way to make their position a successful experience."
"I'd have to say the worst manager I've had is someone I'd describe as really aloof. He would breeze in and out, was rarely around during the work day and would drop in to take credit for any sales. So, not only was he not supportive, but also he then acted like he was integral to the sale. It was certainly frustrating, but it taught me that I could figure out a way to thrive and be successful with or without active leadership."
"I feel very fortunate that I've typically had great managers. However, I had a manager when I worked in the college restaurant that came on much too strong. She felt the need to try to whip everyone into shape and be overly controlling about everything. I'm all about order and following the rules, and respect for new managers or management in general. However, there's a way to gain the respect of an existing workplace without berating employees. That said, it taught me how to interact with someone aggressive and to show respect regardless of whether it feels warranted or not."
"Early in my career, the company restructured and promoted someone into a management role without any real basis for the promotion. It appeared that the promotion was on favoritism rather than leadership and management traits. The new manager didn't do anything terrible, but just basically continued being a sales guy who was supposed to be managing and didn't want to. I sought out a mentor and looked to him as though he were my manager in many ways. Through this mentorship, I learned what I valued in a manager and the type of manager I wanted to be. I decided to be level-headed but passionate, knowledgeable but not a know-it-all, hands-off until someone needs intervention or asks for help, and fair. If it weren't for my inexperienced manager, it would have been much later in my career that I found such a valuable mentor, so for that, I am grateful."
"Before becoming a teacher, I worked as a bartender. The bar owner was a real hot-head who loved to drink with the regulars. This sociability was fine; however, it often got in the way of his success because he would become belligerent towards the staff and they would quit. He lost a lot of customers because of his behavior as well. I learned from the experience that when you are in a position of leadership, you need always to be aware of who is watching you and act accordingly."
The interviewer would like to know how much time you have put into researching their organization before coming into your interview today. It's essential that you take the time to dig deep into the company's history as well as their successes. Just reading their Wikipedia page may not be enough. You should also Google search their company and look for awards or other exciting accolades to mention.
"I know that you were recently awarded Top Employer in Chicago for the fourth year in a row. I would love to know more about how you earned that recognition. Your company is an incredible place to work, and I look forward to joining your dynamic team."
"I know that your company has been around for 15 years and, up until last year, it was a family owned venture. I also read that you have acquired a few of your smaller, local competitors. It sounds as though there are exciting growth opportunities ahead for your organization."
"I have performed a great deal of research before applying to work here, and before coming to meet with you today. I appreciate all of the innovation awards your company has won and would love to learn more about the SME grant you recently received."
"I am aware that you are a startup organization, focused on growing and scaling in the digital marketing space. I like that your agency seeks recent graduates to join your team, so you can all grow and learn together."
"I have shopped at your store for many years and know that your company is always on the cutting edge of fashion, coming out with edgy designs before anyone else. Through my research, I also read that you offer grants to your longer-term employees who wish to gain elevated post-secondary experience. It appears that you truly care about your dedicated team members."
"Your company has been on my radar for quite some time, ever since I attended a job fair where you had a couple of recruiters present. At that job fair, I learned that your organization is over 60 years old and that your employee retention rate is the second highest in your entire industry."
"I grew up in this school, and my children attended this school as well. So, you could say that I know a lot! Situations of course change over time, and I look forward to learning more about the most recent happenings in this school. I am aware that you have recently added electives such as French, and cooking classes."
This question is merely another way for the interviewer to ask about your desired pay for this role. Be honest about what you are hoping to make, but you should also avoid asking for too little, or for too much. Using an online salary calculating tool, like the ones from Glassdoor or Indeed, will help you to determine the average ask for your position, years of experience, and even location. You can also use your current salary as part of the basis for your ask.
"I am currently earning $15/hour and am up for a raise to $16/hour in the next couple of months. My ideal salary is $17-19/hour plus health benefits, which I believe is a fair ask for this role."
"I am newer to my career, so I performed some research on the topic, hoping to gain an understanding of the average pay for a receptionist in this area. The ranges I saw were $14-18/hour depending on experience. Do you have an amount in mind for this position?"
"Managers in this industry, with my level of experience, range from $80,000-120,000 per year. I am currently earning in the upper scope of that. In my next position, I would like to see a fair increase in my pay but am also more interested in discussing additional perks such as health and dental benefits, vacation time, and more."
"I have worked as a freelancer for a few years, so it is challenging for me to determine how much is average pay for this type of role. I have heard a range but would be interested in learning more about what you are offering, as I am sure it is fair."
"Most retail positions offer minimum wage plus some commission breakdown. Overall, I currently earn about $18/hour with commission worked in. I would like to join a company that is a touch more generous than my current employer, but that can also translate into work-related perks versus my hourly rate."
"I need to be earning a minimum of $150,000 per year. I believe this number to be very fair given my track record of success and the many years of experience I bring in this industry."
"From what I have researched, the average pay for a high school English teacher with 8-10 years of experience, in this region, is $90,000 per year. Is this correct?"
The interviewer is asking, point blank, what your reason is for seeking a new opportunity. Perhaps you were terminated, or your company closed their office. Maybe you are not receiving the growth opportunities you once thought you would have. Whatever your reasoning, be positive and do not speak poorly about your most recent employer.
"I have had my eye out for a new opportunity for some time now. Although I have no direct concerns with my employer on a day to day basis, I cannot see the career trajectory that I need. I would love to join a larger organization like yours with more promising opportunity."
"I am looking for a new job because the last position that I held was a maternity leave coverage contract which is now over. I enjoyed that role greatly and am excited to start a similar role but on a permanent basis."
"I am ready to lead a team larger than the one I lead now. I have asked my current employer for a raise or transfer to a larger location; however, more tenured people currently hold those roles so they cannot make that happen. I have my eye on steady career growth, which is what's fueling my search at this time."
"Currently, I work for a startup, and I am more interested in working for a larger and more established agency where I can learn, work with larger clients, and be mentored by those more knowledgeable than I."
"I have been looking for work since graduating with my degree in business administration. I am actively interviewing but am very focused on joining an organization that will set me up for success, right from the start."
"I am looking for a new opportunity with less overnight travel requirements. I am happy to travel; however, 20% travel became 60%, and this schedule is tough for my family. I am open to about 25% overnight travel in my next position."
"I am looking for a new job after relocating to this city this last month. I am newer to the area but have already met some incredible people. I look forward to making this city my long-term home."
The interviewer would like assurance that you are not merely looking for a replacement to soothe issues that will be the same in their position. For instance, if you say that you want a shorter commute but you still live far away from their particular office, this would be a red flag. Give a meaningful answer but be sure not to speak poorly of your current employer.
"Everyone on my team is very nice to work with; however, our office feels isolated from the others since the accounting department is on a small floor on its own. If I could change anything about my current situation, I would have a more collaborative and modern workspace. I love that your office offers an open-air environment that allows for collaboration between team members."
"I am happy with most aspects of my current role; however, if I could change one thing, I would update some of the technology that we use. Our Microsoft package is quite out of date, and some of our equipment is too slow even to handle the more sophisticated programs."
"If I could change anything about my current role I would increase some of my responsibilities when it comes to my team. If I had a larger team and responsibilities that included further coaching and mentoring, that would be more up my alley, for sure."
"The company I currently work for is a startup. If I could change anything, I would rather be working with a more established agency. Working for a startup was enticing a first; however, now I see that I do miss out on many learning opportunities that I would have if I worked for a more robust company."
"The location that I work for is not ideal for my home and school location. My commute is quite long. So, if I could change anything about my job right now, I would have it closer to me!"
"The clients that I work with are great; however, if I had a say in it, I would have more enterprise-level business accounts in my portfolio. I am ready to grow and work with clients who have bigger needs."
"I love to teach, and there are very few things I would change about my current situation. If I could make any change at all, I would increase the budgets given to public schools. There are some opportunities that our students miss out on which is disappointing to see at times."
The interviewer would like to know which area of improvement your current boss has brought up, most recently. You do not need to go into in-depth detail on your performance review. Briefly mention one area that you are looking to improve and what you are doing to implement that constructive feedback. If you do not receive formal performance reviews, you can rely on a conversation or meeting that you have had at work in the last three months or so.
"My boss most recently mentioned that she wanted to start grooming me for further leadership opportunities. She gave me some reading material and suggested a few podcasts to listen to as well. I am working on these materials every weekend."
"In my last performance meeting, my boss asked that I start working on becoming an expert on our internal SAP program. He wants me to train our new hires on the program as they come in. I am about an intermediate level now so that it will take some time, but I am already taking some online coursework to strengthen my skills."
"My last performance review covered my future growth with the company. We discussed that my diverse skills could be better utilized. We came to a happy medium by adding on a couple of new responsibilities; however, I cannot see them sustaining my interest for too long."
"My current boss recently mentioned that my knowledge in the latest social media algorithm updates could be stronger. I immediately enrolled myself in some related coursework which has proven very helpful."
"I was recently asked by my boss to pump up my sales a little bit. This role is not commission driven; however, we do have some aggressive sales targets. I have registered for a Dale Carnegie sales course which I believe will give me even more confidence on the sales floor."
"My sales targets are always met or exceeded, so my boss recently met with me to ensure that I did not lack motivation by way of fewer and fewer challenges. There is a lot of turnover in our company, so they are extra cautious when it comes to their top performers, like myself. We are working on increasing my budgets so that I am further motivated and challenged."
"In my last review, we discussed my taking on some new courseloads so that I feel rechallenged. I have been feeling slightly complacent in my current position because the curriculum changes are strict, and are rarely approved. I have been here for many years, taking on the same tasks, so it will be nice to see some changes."
By giving you only three words to describe yourself, the interviewer knows that you are going to choose carefully! Try to use words that are unique and will set you apart. You want to avoid giving an answer that everyone else has likely given. Time to get out your thesaurus and choose some fun and new descriptive words!
"If I had just three words to describe myself I would say that I am positive, enthusiastic, and available."
"The words that best describe me would be attentive, savvy, and creative."
"Great question! I would say I am best described as a leader, confident, and patient."
"Just three words to describe me is a challenge! I would say that I am happy, helpful, and transparent."
"If I could describe myself in just three words I would say, learner, humorous, and reliable."
"Three words that best describe me are ambitious, jovial, and dependable."
"As an educator, it is important to be understanding, patient, and kind. I believe these three words describe me to a tee."
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The interviewer would like to know if you identify more as a leader, or a follower, so they can further understand where to place you when the time comes. Give an honest answer but try to avoid pigeonholing yourself into one particular stereotype.
"I can quite easily swap between leading and following, depending on the situation. Naturally, I am inclined to lead, but when I am expected to sit back and absorb, I am completely able to do that as well."
"I would rather lead in some instances, and follow in others. While I am training and gathering my bearings, I will be more of a listener and follower. Once I know the ropes, I can comfortably take the lead whenever required of me."
"As a manager, I am most certainly more of a leader. With that said, I love to learn and absorb new things with requires me to be a follower at times too."
"I am more of a follower at times, meaning I like to listen, learn, and absorb. When needed, I am happy to jump into a leadership role as well."
"Being in retail, and as a student, I am usually following as opposed to leading. That's not to say that I cannot be a fantastic leader as well. I group project at school, I often take the lead, and I enjoy that."
"I am a leader by nature. I am competitive and like to hit my goals and coach others to do the same. With that said, I will be a happy and attentive follower when required."
"Teachers always take the lead, it seems - and I am happy to do so! I believe that I offer a solid balance between leading and following, swapping between the two when it's appropriate."
This question is a discovery-based inquiry, genuinely focused on how you think versus what you do. Go with your initial instinct when it comes to how you define success and greatness. There is no right or wrong answer, here.
"To me, greatness and success means achieving the goals that you set for yourself. I know the sense of accomplishment when I can make that work, and it makes me feel like I am on top of the world."
"To me, greatness is being genuine and kind to others. Success is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a job well done."
"To me, success comes when you accomplish a goal, and that needs to be something specific that you have your eyes set on. I often encourage my team to set specific goals for themselves. Second, greatness ties into that because without believing that you are great, you will not likely succeed and meet your goals!"
"To me, greatness is having an excellent reputation and being someone of integrity. Success comes when you achieve your goals."
"I feel a sense of greatness and success when I have a specific goal in mind, create a detailed plan, and achieve that plan. What feels greater than that?"
"Greatness, to me, means achieving something big. Going over and above the usual goals and hitting a major milestone. Success ties into that, more as a feeling of accomplishment."
"I teach my students that greatness and feelings of success come from setting lofty goals, and working hard to achieve them."
Financial compensation aside, the interviewer would like to know what is most important to you when looking for a new job. Your answer will show the interviewer some direction when they are ready to make you an offer of employment. You can talk about the health benefits, work-life balance, workplace culture, growth, or even continued education opportunities. The sky is the limit!
"What I value most in the workplace are growth opportunities. I am missing this in my current role and very much look forward to working with a company who will provide me with bigger moves as I prove myself."
"I put a fair amount of value on great health benefits. I am a single parent and having support for unexpected medical expenses would be an incredible addition to my compensation package."
"I am most interested in working for a company that has a great workplace culture, with a small amount of turnover. As a manager, I like to get to know my team, nurture them, and keep them going for the long term."
"For me, the room for creativity and a flexible workspace is significant. This flex could include a great office where it's easy to collaborate, or the ability to work from home when needed."
"I am a student so the ability to have a schedule that works around my school schedule would be the most important factor for me at this time."
"To me, the ability to travel for work and see my clients is a significant factor. The thing is that when I have this flexibility, I am better set up to exceed my goals."
"Financial compensation is important to me, but it isn't everything. I am truly looking for a long-term home with a healthy working environment."
This reply should be pretty simple for you, depending on your situation. Whether you are flexible or not, in regards to travel, and even relocation, it's essential, to be honest in your answer. If you are unsure, it's okay to let the interviewer know that you are open to ideas in the future.
"Relocation is something that I would consider in the future, depending on the circumstances and the opportunity. As far as travel goes, I am open to some overnight travel as required."
"At this point in my life I am not interested in relocating, but things can certainly change. Could you share with me the travel requirements in this position?"
"I recently relocated to this city so, moving again I hope is not in my near future. As far as travel goes, I am very open to overnight travel. I realize that you have a few locations in this state so if you need a manager who goes between locations, I can certainly accommodate."
"Much of what I do in the digital marketing realm can be done from anywhere in the world. I can travel to accommodate any of your needs in this role. For relocation, that is not in my plan, but I am open to discussions."
"Your company has many locations, and I am open to working in a variety of them. With that said, overnight travel is difficult at this time with my school schedule."
"As a business development professional, I am no stranger to overnight travel. Currently, I travel about ten nights per month. Do you have a travel schedule in mind for this role? As far as relocation goes, nothing is off the table at this time."
"At this point in our lives, our family would be unable to relocate. However, I am very open to travel to conferences, teacher training opportunities, and more."
The interviewer is looking for an overview of your background. Because this question is so open ended, it can be easy to run away with your answer and even put your foot in your mouth. Offer a less than 5 minute brief of your related education or training, and then touch on the last 5-10 years of your career, depending on how far along you are in your professional career. You can discuss your volunteer experience and don't forget to talk about any extraordinary skills you may have.
"I would be happy to give you a brief overview of my background! After graduating with my degree in accounting in 2012, I went to work for my family's business as a senior accountant. After a couple of years, I realized that my knowledge base was not growing as rapidly as I wanted. I decided to return to school and gain my masters' degree. Immediately after graduation, I joined KPMG in a junior role where I have been flourishing ever since."
"I recently graduated with my business administration diploma, so this is the first professional role that I have pursued. Before attending school, I spent a lot of my time volunteering at the humane shelter, working with abandoned and homeless animals. While attending post-secondary school, I worked as a hostess at a local pub. That role taught me a great deal about multi-tasking, customer service, and even math. I look forward to forging a wonderful career with your organization."
"My management career goes back two years. My first dive into a management role was overseeing a team of floor sales representatives, five in total. This year I was promoted and moved to a warehouse management role, which is where I am today. Here, I manage a team of twelve plus three temporary staff who often rotate. Before my management career began, I was working in a retail environment and attending post-secondary at the same time. My degree is in Business, with a focus on organizational management."
"I have experience outside of my marketing career; however, it's primarily customer service based and not truly related to the digital marketing career that I am focused on pursuing, today. After graduating from ABC Universtiy with my degree in digital marketing, I worked for a startup SaaS organization. The position taught me a great deal; however, they recently closed their doors due to fierce competition. Now, I am seeking a role related to my education but in an agency environment."
"I started working retail at a very young age, part-time after school during high school. I liked the flexibility, and the position taught me a lot about multi-tasking, receiving stock, and customer service techniques. After three years of working part-time for company ABC, I left to attend university. This spring I graduated with a diploma in fashion design, which is what brings me here today. I am eager to start working with a retail-based organization with a focus on design and innovation."
"I have always worked in sales, as you can see from my resume. My first sales position was with Company ABC where I earned the title of top territory sales rep for four years running. I was then headhunted by Company XYZ to head their new territory and develop it. I took the area from zero sales to 2.4 million in just 24 months. My successes continued with my latest organization where I now lead a team of six territory sales representatives. I look forward to applying these experiences and wins to my career with your organization."
"My career as an educator began in the private school sector where I worked as an English teacher for twelve years. After my family relocated to Boston, I began applying to roles in the public education realm. I have been in the public school sector ever since then. My favorite subjects to teach are still English and History which is why this role is so exciting for me. I also speak three languages and have spent time volunteering as an assistant coach for many middle school soccer teams."
This interview question is similar to 'What are your weaknesses?'. This question can be tricky to answer because you do not want to be a hundred percent honest and lay out all the reasons the interviewer should not hire you. Start your answer by saying there is no reason not to hire you. This reply displays confidence to the interviewer. Then focus on one skill which you still need to improve. Tell the interviewer you are weak in this one area but are actively looking to improve yourself there.
"I don't believe there is any reason not to hire me, but if I have to give a reason I would say my presentation skills are not as great as I would like them to be. I know presentations are a requirement for this job, and I have taken it upon myself to enroll in weekday speech classes."
"I cannot think of a single reason why you should not hire me. Can you? I think we had an excellent conversation today and, aside from my light experience in Accounts Payable, which I can quickly learn, I believe I am the perfect match for this role."
"I understand that you are looking for 6+ years of management experience, and I possess just 3. With that said, I have a great amount of training in management and some notable successes that I look forward to achieving again with your organization."
"I firmly believe that I am a strong fit for this role. I hit the mark for every must-have except for possessing a formal degree in Marketing. With that said, my years of experience and multiple certificates certainly make up for that."
"I understand that I come from one of your competitors so I hope that you can see why it would be a benefit to your company, versus a hindrance. I know how to overcome objections and close a sale, and have been the top retail sales rep for the past six months running."
"Rather than telling you why you should not hire me because I wholeheartedly believe that you should, I would like to tell you what I am currently working on. Presently, I am taking a course in cold calling and recently completed another course in the art of negotiations. I may not have all of the years' experience that you are looking for, but I can confidently assure you that I try harder than anyone I know, to succeed."
"I think that if there were any reason to pass on hiring me, it would be because I am newer to my career. However, you will see that between my double degree, my athletic background, and the fact that I speak three languages, I will make up very quickly for the years of experience you feel I may not bring."
The interviewer would like to know more about the types of tools you use to stay on task and meet deadlines. Discuss how you prioritize when everything demands your attention at once. Think about the ways you manage your projects and daily tasks.
"I manage my time by exercising the idea of 'time-blocking.' This strategy means that I won't incessantly check my email; instead, I will allow myself to return emails in 30-minute time blocks, four times per day. Setting calendar alerts and personal deadlines for myself has also helped a lot."
"I manage my time very carefully! I prioritize deadlines, then work backward from there. When necessary, I utilize my resources and team to pitch in and contribute."
"I use a free project management system that helps me to stay organized on the busiest of days. My team can see what I'm doing and what more needs accomplishing, so there is never any need for explaining or questions regarding where we are in the process."
"When I'm busy, I seem to get the most done. To prioritize, I make lists of the to-do items and about how long I think they'll take. That way, I know what needs doing first and what small to-dos I can squeeze in in between the larger tasks. I find it an effective way to manage my time and get things done when I'm busy."
"I like to be busy- it makes the hours pass faster and makes me feel productive. I am always sure to block things out on my schedule as needed, and love to follow a project management system, too. Something as simple as my calendar on my phone with alarms reminding me of what I'm supposed to be doing and when is helpful. I love to be busy and get things done!"
"I love being busy and I thrive when I am the most active. When my to-do list is longer than the amount of time I have in the day, I get creative about how to get things done, while maintaining the high standard of work I set for myself. I know I have no time to chat, or even take too long walking back from the bathroom. I love seeing how many things I can get checked off of that list, and make it my mission to do so."
"I have my schedule down to a science which means that unexpected kinks can often throw my day off. To keep those types of situations under control, and my tasks manageable, I will often delegate to my TA. Delegation is often the one thing that saves me in sticky scheduling situations."
This question is another version of 'Why should we hire you?' Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond, focus on how your qualities and skills will help you to exceed expectations. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.
"I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working in this industry for five years with great training and mentorship. I have a solid understanding of X, Y, and Z (skills listed in the job description). Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."
"I will be successful in this role because I come prepared with experience, equipped with passion and opportunistic when it comes to making a valuable contribution."
"The job description itself seems like I wrote it with me in mind! My skill set and career goals precisely align. I am committed to making a short and long-term impact when it comes to employee development, onboarding new talent, and creating a culture dedicated to positivity and brand loyalty."
"I have been a customer for years, so I understand what your customers want. Couple that knowledge with my experience in sales, and you have a winning candidate! I know how a sales team operates and what they need for support from marketing, to be successful."
"You mentioned earlier that it had been a constant challenge to find reliable staff. I am well qualified, enthusiastic, and this has been my dream company for as long as I can remember. I know that I want it more than anyone else and you will not be disappointed in my work ethic."
"I am confident I will be successful in this role because of the continued successes I've demonstrated over my career in sales. I have consistently exceeded sales metrics, exhibited leadership qualities, and been a team player. Not to mention, I have always taken on more responsibility and looked for the next challenge without being prompted."
"I am a dedicated teacher who also brings the experience and interest in leading the extracurricular activities of our students. I know this interest is significant to you when filling this role. In my current teaching role, I also act as a moderator for the debate club, and took our girls' soccer team to Nationals!"
From your work history, picture a co-worker who didn't carry their weight or had a difficult personality. Maybe they were unmotivated or preoccupied with their personal life. Think about what bothered you about this person and how you were affected by their behavior. Most importantly, the interviewer wants to know how you let this person's behavior affect you and your work performance. Avoid taking this as an opportunity to complain about someone; instead, view it as an opportunity to showcase your ability to deal with difficult people while maintaining your productivity.
"In my previous position, I did have a coworker who didn't pull their weight. Our team started to complete most of the tasks when it came to group projects. It didn't take much time before our manager noticed this particular individual was slacking. I feel like, in most instances, the underachievers will weed themselves out over time, and it's rarely worth making a fuss over."
"I once supported a very challenging VP as their executive assistant. Reading between the lines was the name of the game. This challenge became easier as time went on, and I got to know the ins and outs of my job better. However, the beginning was incredibly trying. I coped by asking my co-workers for advice or direction, or using my intuition and doing what I thought was best. The position certainly taught me independent thought and troubleshooting!"
"Difficult people make me tick! I enjoy trying to understand where they are coming from and then what techniques I can apply to help them improve their behavior or resolve a situation. Most difficult people want to feel like they have a voice. So, I listen, empathize and reassure them while still maintaining my position as their manager."
"One of the graphic designers I currently work with is a moody creative. The success of my position directly depends on his quality and timeliness of work, unfortunately. Because of this, I've learned to tap into how he operates. We use project management software to track where the project is, but I also have bi-weekly check-ins. I know he's better to deal with in the afternoon, and other little quirks about him. It's somewhat humorous at times, and I'm happy to have discovered some workarounds."
"In the past, I had a coworker who was very unmotivated. This situation was pretty difficult since I never wanted to let anyone down and would not allow something to remain undone. I was already doing more than my fair share of the work and was in no position of authority to change her attitude. I did pull her aside and let her know how actions impacted me. She picked up the pace for a bit but eventually my manager terminated her. Luckily her replacement was amazing!"
"In my first position out of college, I worked with a person who enjoyed gossip in the workplace. I found that I could redirect her to work by giving a quick reply and then asking her a pointed work question, which would get her back on task. There were a few key takeaways from this experience. I learned how to concentrate on chatter or disruption better than before, and I perfected my skills at refocusing someone else to the task at hand."
"I work with many challenging students, all of the time. I find that if I am struggling to reach a student that means I need to spend more time with them, rather than shy away as natural human instinct would have it. I will ask them how I can best help them, meet with their parents, and dive deeper into their needs."
Most people have had a job that they don't particularly love. Think about your least favorite situation and break down for the interviewer what made it so tiresome. Perhaps the responsibilities were mundane, or the co-workers were unfriendly. Discuss with the interviewer what made the job so complicated, and what you did to make it better for yourself. The interviewer wants to see that you are proactive in situations like this rather than just giving up and quitting.
"Many years ago, I worked as a waitress at a local sports bar. I liked the job because the customers, but I didn't feel appreciated by my boss. He was negative, even during the busiest and most challenging shifts. I did my best and worked hard, but moved on when I had the opportunity. I learned that having a boss who is encouraging and motivating can make such a world of difference!"
"I am proud to say I have never had a job I did not like. Not all jobs have been glamorous, but each one gave me experience and taught me something valuable I did not necessarily have before."
"While going to University, I took night-job as a pick-packer in a local warehouse. The money was good, but the work was a grind! We were all timed on our productivity and could not even stop the clock for a washroom break. It felt like a sweatshop environment from the 1930's, to be honest! I look back now and am proud of myself for what I was willing to do to make a paycheck."
"In college, I worked at Home Depot, and the position itself was fine. The issue I had was with the return policy. We'd take anything back, even if it were a used Christmas tree after Christmas- no questions asked. It drove me nuts to see people taking advantage of a policy created with good intentions. It's important for a company to flex for their customers but there should be a line drawn, at some point."
"I have enjoyed the jobs that I've had to date, but if I had to choose my least favorite, it would probably be serving in college. I liked the people aspect of the job and sales, but I prefer the predictability of customer base, and selling in a more professional environment."
"My least favorite job was as an accountants assistant when I was in high school. A lot of it became mostly data entry, and it was too slow paced for me. I prefer human interaction and something that uses my brain to solve problems creatively. However, I learned a fair amount about accounting software which has proven valuable over the course of my career."
"My least favorite job was working a door to door magazine sales job at the end of high school. I thought I could make thousands in commission, which was not the case. Instead, I got some pretty thick skin from being yelled at and having doors slammed in my face! This thick skin is still useful in the classroom from time to time."
Think about a time you failed, or made a big mistake. What would you change about that situation, if you have an opportunity for a re-do? Perhaps there is a missed opportunity that you still regret not taking. This question sounds more intimidating than it is. Even though the interviewer is asking about your most significant regret, you indeed don't have to share the worst mistake you have ever made in your life. Make sure that you keep your answer professional and career-related.
"I had an opportunity to study under one of the top personal trainers in the country, but I was so busy with my clients that I didn't take the chance. Looking back, I know I could have learned so much from them. Now I pay much closer attention to educational or training opportunities that come my way."
"I do not believe in living life with regrets; however, if there is one thing I could change about my career path, I would have completed my business administration degree before entering the workforce. It's ten times as tough to complete my education now that I am taking online courses on the weekends! I do look forward to finishing what I started, though! My estimated completion date is this April."
"I am of the belief that it live is meant to be lived without regrets. Does that mean you don't fail or learn from mistakes? Not at all. We all make choices in life, and we should embrace them, and adapt when we want to change course. JK Rowling has a great quote that comes to mind when asked about regrets. She says, 'Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.' That sums out how I feel about failure and regrets."
"I feel pretty fortunate that I don't have many regrets, but I'd say the one that would nag at me most would be that I didn't leap into marketing sooner. I think my career would be on an even better trajectory if I'd jumped about six months earlier. However, I am where I am today because of the decisions I made, and I feel great about where I am today and the prospect of working here!"
"The most significant regret I have would be not advocating for myself early on in my career. I believe I was passed up for two promotions that I deserved because I was too concerned with being friendly and likable. I missed out on opportunities to advocate how I was the best for the position because I didn't want to ruffle any feathers or be unlikable. Luckily, I've learned quite a bit since, and I've earned plenty of promotions since, however, I sometimes wonder where my career might be if I would have received those promotions early on. Nevertheless, I know I've learned plenty from those experiences of being passed over."
"The most prominent regret I have is with my most recent career move. Despite doing my due diligence, and working with an experienced headhunter, the role was not what it was supposed to be, and the company was in complete disarray. Despite this misstep, I did learn a lot over the past year. I stuck it out, adapted to the changes, and have made the best of it, despite the bait-and-switch and multiple leadership changes. I honestly don't know what I could have done differently, besides not taking the position. Because of that, I feel that it was put in my path as a learning moment and to test my resilience. I feel as though I've passed the test and it is time for the next opportunity."
"My biggest career-related regret is my choice to enter the private school sector before entering the public school sector. I found a home, and a new passion for teaching, once I began working in the public school system. I wish I had chosen this path all along!"
The interviewer wants to know that you can diffuse a tense situation if needed. They also want to see a bit more of your personality! Stress and fast-paced work environments can cause people to feel overwhelmed and sometimes even angry or upset. Think of a time when you took a much more lighthearted approach to diffuse a tense situation.
"I recall a day last month when our team focused on solving a serious technical error with our system. It got to the point where a few members of the team were so frustrated they were getting angry with each other. I stepped out to grab some coffees from the shop next door. When I returned, I said 'Hot coffee to make us all feel warm and fuzzy again!' Everyone laughed and took a break from what they were doing."
"Humor is one of those universal things to which everyone can relate. When used properly, it can help bridge a gap or bond a relationship. I use it, with good taste and professionalism, often in my communication. It is important to enjoy what you do, and humor is a big component of that."
"Humor can be a great tool, and it can also be a harmful one. For that reason, I make sure to fully gauge my teammate or superior before I begin cracking jokes. I do appreciate a clean sense of humor in the workplace from time to time. Not everything can be serious. In the event of a serious situation; however, I am more likely to remain on the serious side."
"I use my humor at work, both with co-workers and in my work product itself. I like to bring a bit of spice and humor into the copy I create, when appropriate, which I believe fits in quite well with many clients' brand voice. I look forward to showing you more of what I've got!"
"I would say that I use my sense of humor often at work, poking fun in friendly ways. A bit of good sarcasm does seem to make things a bit lighter and more fun on the floor. A lighter-hearted mentality allows everyone to shake off whatever is bringing us down and move on to the next issue to tackle."
"I have been at far too many awkward dinner parties with a family who are veiled enemies, so from a young age, I learned to diffuse a tense situation with humor and grace, and look to find commonalities between the two sides. Humor is a skill I have brought to the office countless times. One time in particular that stands out was at a company retreat, and we were prepping in our teams for our pitch. Everyone was stressed and getting short, pointing fingers and blaming the other groups of the team and overall just being unproductive and rude. Another team member and I sneaked out into the hall and came back with La Croix for the team, which is kind of a company inside joke. We shoved them across the table and said "Peace offering! Choosing your flavor is the only thing that should be cutthroat for the rest of the day!" People smiled and took a moment to chill, and we all were able to move on without conflict."
"My students love humor, albeit, their brand is not always appropriate for the classroom! If a lesson plan is getting too tense, I will tell a funny joke, read an entertaining story, or have a kid tell me a joke. I think that humor plays an important part in the classroom."
This question can stand in for the common 'What is your greatest weakness' question. The interviewer is expecting you to be unprepared because it's an uncommon way of asking a question. You may be less scripted than other points in your interview, and the interviewer wants to see how you deal with that. Two scenarios commonly play out: either a candidate blurts out a weakness, or they pause and respond with something thoughtful. This question gives the interviewer information about you but also a good sense of if you can think on your feet and answer a tough question. Use this as an opportunity to show how weakness can be a strength, or explain something they have not yet asked, but may be an objection to you getting the job. It is then up to you to overcome the opposition. Remember: it is okay to pause and be thoughtful about your response rather than blurting something out or seeming too rehearsed. Be prepared, but be sincere in your replies.
"That's a tough one. Honestly, I was happy when you didn't ask about my having switched universities and taken longer to graduate, but I do feel it's important to explain. I left the University of ABC when my mom was sick with cancer, and I moved back home to work and attend community college before finishing up my degree at XYZ, in my hometown. Luckily, she is well, and I feel I got a better education at the smaller college and learned a ton in the process about work-life balance and how to manage my time with so many things on my plate."
"I did not want you to ask me why I am leaving my current job. The company I work for are a competitor of yours, and I do not want to be disrespectful. I will let you know, though, that I am leaving my current company because there are discussions of acquisition and I no longer feel stable in my role."
"I am comfortable answering most questions; however, I was hoping you would not ask me about relocating to your Denver office. I saw on your website that you have the same opening in Denver and I was wondering if you were interviewing potential candidates to take over that location. I would not want to seem like a poor team player; however, I have a big family all in this area, and I do not wish to relocate at this time."
"I hadn't wanted you to ask about my proficiency in graphic design and related software, but I do think it's important to address. It's an area for improvement for me, and something I'm actively working on through mentorship programs and online classes, even just YouTube videos and the like. I know that it's an important part of my knowledge base as I continue to move up the ranks in marketing, so it's something I am actively seeking to grow while being fully transparent that I am not a designer."
"I suppose I did not want you to dig into why I applied three years ago and rescinded my application. I feel embarrassed about it because I thought I was ready to leave my current organization and decided that, to be the superstar I want to be at your company, I needed a bit more time and experience. I know that in these past three years I have learned everything I could need to know to shine here and I can't wait to put those last three years of learning and growth into action."
"I would say I didn't want to discuss why it took 5.5 years to graduate college, but now I'm bringing it up, and so I'll share. I was working full time while attending college and double majoring. Initially, I was taking the full course load and working full time, then eventually I also switched my major, which added semester. At that time, I hunkered down and upped the course load to 18 hours, which is an overload of credit hours while working full time. So, while it may have taken me longer, I learned a lot both in and outside of the classroom, including time management and upping productivity. I know these are important skills that I bring with me to any position, and look forward to leveraging them on behalf of your organization."
"That's a tough question! I suppose I rarely enjoy being asked why I am not aiming for a Principal role, considering my high post-secondary degree. The truth is, I am very passionate about being hands-on in the classroom! I do not think that my passions, nor personality, would be well suited for the heavier administration side associated with being a school Principal."
The answer to this question should always be, yes! No matter where you work, you need to be a team player, to help your company achieve its goals. Be prepared with an energetic and enthusiastic, 'Yes, I am!' Expand on this answer by sharing your philosophy on the importance of teamwork and being an active part of a team. Show the interviewer you understand that it takes a group of people for a company to achieve its goals, and you recognize that each person is a piece of the puzzle.
"I recognize that there may be days where I need to perform duties outside of my usual job description to help out. For instance, in my current role, I may occasionally need to spend additional time mentoring and coaching new employees to ensure they fit in with the team. This responsibility creates a tighter timeline for my other important deadlines; however, I see that the end goal is to create a well-oiled machine and that cannot happen without everyone being equally trained."
"I am always happy to help out the team and have demonstrated this in many roles. On numerous occasions, I've covered for other admin assistants to help set appointments for another team member, or taken over someone's accounts for the day. It is an additional challenge and fun to put on a different hat, all while helping out the team."
"It is not possible to accomplish something well without a team. You are only as good as your team, so it is important for me to be an active team player. I am always looking for new ways to bring value and help leverage the team's strengths."
"I would certainly say I'm a team player. I've been in organized sports my entire life, so I know that without a team, you can't accomplish very much. I value the relationships I have formed from working in teams throughout my life, not to mention how much I have learned from my coworkers when collaborating across departments or the hierarchy of the organization. All in all, I know the importance of a team, and I work very well in a collaborative environment."
"I'm a team player. I know full well that the department itself, and the store as a whole, will not run if we are not working as one cohesive, collaborative unit. I am always willing to lend a hand and help out a coworker. Examples include taking an extra turn cleaning out the dressing rooms, working an undesirable shift, or bringing the schedule home with me so I can tweak it to fit the requests and needs of the department. You name it, I've done it and am happy to do it again."
"I value a team environment because talking things out, leaning on each other, and working collaboratively are so crucial to anyone's success. I've always enjoyed most when our sales organization is set up with a team atmosphere. To succeed, you need your pod or teammate to thrive as well. In such a competitive field, you need to put in place some policies to remind everyone that we accomplish together and that an individual's successes can only go so far."
"I am most certainly a team player! I collaborate with teachers, other members of the faculty, my students, and the parent community, on a regular basis. My current Principal will attest to this when you call for a reference. I also participate in many extra-curricular activities as an assistant soccer coach or field-trip supervisor."
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