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30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated July 29th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    
Question 1 of 30
Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
View Answers
How to Answer
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from your resume. You are indeed not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!

Focus on unique non-work related skills or hobbies. For instance, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)
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Answer Examples
1.
Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from your resume. You are indeed not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!

Focus on unique non-work related skills or hobbies. For instance, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a complete organization nerd, which you may have already gathered from our interview time together. I have created and designed customer personal planners that are downloads which I sell on Etsy. My shop offers me a great side income, and essentially runs itself!"
Anonymous Answer
"I am a coffee lover! I have traveled around Bali and Lombok solely to taste different coffee beans. I have tried Madagascar and Ethiopian coffee beans as well, but have discovered Toraja and Mandailing coffee are my favorites."
Lauren's Answer
This is a great, unique factoid!
Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (1)
Anonymous Answer
"I am a professional photographer specializing in musicians and concert photography. It's a highly specialized niche that I fell into. Like most photographers, it started as a hobby, and now I get paid by local and regional bands to photograph them while they're performing. What's your favorite band?"
Rachelle's Answer
YES! All the yesses! I like that you brought in this passion that is interesting, memorable and offers a lot of transitional skills valuable to the pharma industry. The question at the end is a nice touch.
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2.
How has your post-secondary education prepared you for this job?
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!
Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"Taught me to multi-task, provided me the key skills I needed to create a fully functional and practicing HR office right after school for an organization of 1600 employees with a 70% turnover. Taught me to be disciplined with my time and to prioritize. Presentation and public speaking abilities."
Rachelle's Answer
Wow, a 70% turnover would have been an incredible challenge, especially right out of school. This is indeed a stand-out factor in your work history.
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Anonymous Answer
"My master's degree in Public Administration with a concentration in public management has provided me with the necessary skills needed in this job description. When I took courses such as Nonprofit administration and public management, and that is time management, public speaking, independent and research learning, effective communication skills and to be self-motivated."
Rachelle's Answer
This answer gives the interviewer a nice idea of how your educational background will benefit their company, should you be hired. I have offered a slight edit below, to help with clarity.
"My master's degree in Public Administration, with a concentration in public management, had provided me with many skills required to perform this job successfully. I took coursework in nonprofit administration and public management, giving me a strong knowledge of these topics. I also gained skills in time management, public speaking, independent and research learning, effective communication, and the ability to remain self-motivated."
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3.
How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I will prioritize my jobs according to the due date and the importance of the job; however, emergency jobs always have the first priority."
Rachelle's Answer
Straightforward and effective! Good answer.
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Anonymous Answer
"Use Outlook to note meetings, tasks, and delegate tasks. This tool allows me to manage progress tasks that I have delegated to others. I prioritize multiple tasks based on the importance of impact if a task completion is delayed or has a hard due date."
Rachelle's Answer
You sound very organized, which the interviewer should be happy to hear :)
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4.
Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"My company restructured and promoted someone into a management role without any real basis for promotion. While she certainly worked hard, it was clear to the team that her temperament wasn't fit for the position. During a POA, she lashed out at one of our teammates and made an example of her in front of everyone. One of my colleagues resigned after only six weeks. I sought out a mentor and looked to her as my manager in many ways. Through this mentorship, I learned what I valued from a manager — someone who was even-keeled, fair, and could articulate the expectations from the leadership team. Had I not had the experience of a poor manager, I never would've found such a valuable mentor, and for that, I am grateful."
Rachelle's Answer
The fact that you sought out a mentor, and learned from this unpleasant experience, will certainly impress the interviewer. Great job relaying the example well so that you do not even come close to bashing the manager personally. Fantastic professional balance.
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Anonymous Answer
"I did not work for him that long. He had a different agenda that was not very clear to me, and we were challenged in overcoming our communication issues despite multiple attempts."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you remained professional, regardless of the situation — a nice way to respond.
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5.
Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?
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).

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"Last year, I had a conflict with a previous manager. At the time, we had several large projects being worked on at the same time. I requested more workforce to address the large workload but was denied. My team and I completed the projects simultaneously through many hours of overtime and no vacation. After these projects were completed, my feedback was recognized by the manager, and the department gained two new-hires to address high volume workloads. In the end, the conflict was resolved reasonably."
Lauren's Answer
Good example.
"
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Anonymous Answer
"Yes, I sensed a change in the relationship with my senior labour relations employee. So I used his outlook and booked a call with him (he works remotely). I opened by telling him why I was calling and asking him if I had done something to attribute to the change in our relationship. He was surprised. We discussed it. He told me he had a lot of respect for the fact that I set up the call to address what I sensed had changed. And things improved from there."
Rachelle's Answer
You took the bull by the horns and initiated a potentially uncomfortable conversation. Well done!
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6.
Why do you think you will be successful in this role?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I will be successful in this role because I have education and experience that relate to this job. And I know this department also provides tools and resources that will help me to succeed."
Rachelle's Answer
This answer is too general to position you as a stand-out candidate. Try matching your strengths to the specific tasks mentioned in the job description. I have provided an example below.
"I will be successful in this role because, in addition to my related education and experience, I have taken additional coursework on (A) and (B). 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."
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Anonymous Answer
"I have experience leading teams during high-growth in dynamic industries. I am very committed to providing exceptional service to internal clients, understanding the business, and ensuring that HR initiatives support and align with the companies goals."
Rachelle's Answer
Strong answer! You do a wonderful job showcasing your strengths and how they will benefit your future employer.
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7.
Take a few minutes to bring your resume to life for me.
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I have been in HR for over 25+ years. My experience includes hotels, hospitality, and private consulting for several small businesses (construction, micro-brewery, restaurant, retail). I have been in the adult learning and developing field for over 20+ years'. Much of my experience has been to create a functioning HR department for large organizations, and I continued to be recruited by companies to assist in supporting the HR infrastructure during periods of growth."
Rachelle's Answer
A perfect recap. Good work!
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8.
What questions do you have for me?
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?
Rachelle's Answer #1
"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?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
Anonymous Answer
"Why is this position open? What are the key challenges you have faced in the last three months? What do you hope will happen in the first three months with this person on board? Are they any achievements or best practices you would like to see sustained?"
Rachelle's Answer
These are very strong questions - a good job.
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Anonymous Answer
"What would my day-to-day routine look like if I got the job? Can you tell me about the team? What are the company's goals for the future?"
Rachelle's Answer
These are very important questions for sure!
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9.
Describe yourself in just three words.
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!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If I had just three words to describe myself I would say that I am positive, enthusiastic, and available."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The words that best describe me would be attentive, savvy, and creative."
Anonymous Answer
"Gregarious, tenacious, and caring."
Rachelle's Answer
Nice! These words are not overused and are descriptive enough to give a full picture to the interviewer.
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Anonymous Answer
"Empathetic, driven, people-oriented."
Rachelle's Answer
Great! These are awesome qualities for an HR professional to have.
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10.
Why should we hire you?
Interviewers want to hear about that one unique skill that sets you apart from the other candidates applying for this job. Think of your answer as your 'elevator pitch' or your qualifying statement. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.

Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This skill could include any industry accolades, exceptional achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started at my current company, I was the youngest salesperson they had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the #1 sales person in the company within six months. I am dedicated to my craft and engaged in this industry to the point where I commit myself to take at least one business development or leadership related workshop every business quarter. I am a competitive achiever. You won't be disappointed when you hire me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"You should hire me because I'm qualified and passionate about your cause. I am excited about the idea of delivering value to your organization and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your customers."
Anonymous Answer
"You should hire me because I am a uniquely strong employee. At my last company, I was promoted within one year and was the only woman working in the team. I am an extremely dedicated employee who takes pride in their work. I am goal-oriented and aspire to complete projects efficiently and meticulously. I believe I possess many positive qualities that would be quickly realized and utilized."
Lauren's Answer
This is a positive and impactful response. Great job!
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Anonymous Answer
"Because I am a very focus individual, who's engaged and eager to achieve results. I also love your company, and I would be proud to be part of it."
Lauren's Answer
Great start. I assisted in expanding your response slightly. See my suggestion below.
"I am the right fit for this position because I possess a high level of skill, focus, and eagerness to succeed. I have explored areas of improvement, and I am dedicated to exceed expectations and grow my career through this opportunity. I have a strong affinity for the company and would be honored to be a part of it."
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11.
What do you know about us?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"Stryker acquired Novadaq in Burnaby, and endoscopy is a growing area for Stryker for the West Coast. The HR division has been restructured, and this role is a part of the restructure. Your values include integrity, accountability, people, and performance. As a company, you are committed to making people's lives better with better medical devices."
Rachelle's Answer
You certainly have done your research! Bravo :)
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12.
What is your long-range career objective?
Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open to the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to stay with the company for many years to come.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"While visiting your company website I noticed that you have some leadership opportunities available in a variety of locations. I would love to work my way into a management or leadership role with your organization and would be willing to relocate to do so. I like what your organization stands for, and I hope to see a current fit, and future growth, here."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Currently I support a couple of management-level executives; however, as you can see from my application to your position, I wish to gain a position that includes supporting executives in the C-suite. I want to earn my way to the top of your executive chain by proving my dedication to the people whom I support."
Anonymous Answer
"I have researched Qatar Airways and noticed leadership opportunities. I would love to advance my career within the company to obtain a leadership role and would be willing to relocate to do so."
Lauren's Answer
Fantastic response. You’ve done your research and are willing to be flexible to fit into their parameters.
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Anonymous Answer
"My long-range career objective is to get to know the company better, and I hope to be given challenges and opportunities that will allow me to enhance my skills and management experience. Hopefully, soon, gaining enough exploration with my skills and experience, I will be promoted to a management position."
Rachelle's Answer
It seems you have a clear path set out for yourself. If there are specific challenges and opportunities that you would like to see (i.e., leading bigger teams, writing new HR policies, taking workshops), that would be an excellent addition to your response.
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13.
If you could change anything about your current job, what would it be?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"It would be customer service. A company needs to have excellent customer service. A good reputation depends on good customer service and it is the key to success in business."
Rachelle's Answer
If the customer service at your current job is lacking, you could give an example of what you would like to change. I have provided an example, below.
"If I could change anything about my current job, I would increase the customer service training that new hires receive. A good reputation depends on good customer service, and it's the key to success in business."
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Anonymous Answer
"That the direction and leadership had not veered off so differently than what I was brought in and committed to, and I would have been able to continue with the efforts, I started in leadership development and training, employee engagement, and intradepartmental relations."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a very fair stance to take. A good way to respond to this question.
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14.
How do you feel about relocation or substantial amounts of travel?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
Anonymous Answer
"I am quite flexible about relocation and traveling. I think relocation or traveling are great ways for me to expand my horizons and learn different practices in different regions. It is vital for green hands, like me, to learn different methods in a different culture and keep growing in different places."
Rachelle's Answer
You sound very open to new experiences and opportunities; music to an interviewers' ears :) Well said.
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Anonymous Answer
"I am excited about both."
Rachelle's Answer
Enthusiastic - I like it! If you are accustomed to traveling for work, try speaking a bit about that.
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15.
What would your most recent boss say about you if they were asked to describe your character?
Think of some words that best describe your work ethic and character. If you are new to the workforce, feel free to refer to a professor from your post-secondary experience or even a high school teacher, or coach.

Be sure to include descriptive words that will ensure you are a standout candidate. Most people, when asked this question, will say they are 'reliable' and 'easy to get along with.' A well-thought and unique answer to this question will give you a better chance of impressing the interviewer.

Here are some unique descriptive words you could use:

- Honest
- Attentive
- Committed
- Persistent
- Motivated
- Tenacious
- Respectful

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If my current employer were asked to describe me I believe they would say that I am determined, collaborative, and broad-minded. Also, during my post-secondary years, I would hear those compliments from time to time, and it was always very encouraging. I was a strong student and am a dedicated employee."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My boss would say that I am a people-pleaser who is enthusiastic about my job, the people I care for and doing the right thing. She would say that I am a go-getter, that I love what I do, and I approach situations with care and tact."
Anonymous Answer
"Throughout my two years with my previous employer, I was given feedback that I am a determined, collaborative, vocal, and broad-minded employee. I believe my boss would also describe me as a dedicated employee."
Lauren's Answer
Very impressive! It’s great that you are able to validate and verify the description.
"
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Anonymous Answer
"High expectations, tenacious, motivated, honest, knowledgeable, and a great instructor."
Rachelle's Answer
These are excellent descriptors - a good response.
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30 Tough Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
  2. How has your post-secondary education prepared you for this job?
  3. How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?
  4. Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.
  5. Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?
  6. Why do you think you will be successful in this role?
  7. Take a few minutes to bring your resume to life for me.
  8. What questions do you have for me?
  9. Describe yourself in just three words.
  10. Why should we hire you?
  11. What do you know about us?
  12. What is your long-range career objective?
  13. If you could change anything about your current job, what would it be?
  14. How do you feel about relocation or substantial amounts of travel?
  15. What would your most recent boss say about you if they were asked to describe your character?
  16. What qualities do you feel make a manager successful?
  17. What motivates you?
  18. How much do you think this job should pay?
  19. Why are you looking for a new job?
  20. Name one suggested area of improvement from your last performance review.
  21. Would you rather lead or follow?
  22. What does greatness, and success, mean to you?
  23. Besides compensation, what do you value the most in the workplace?
  24. Why should we not hire you?
  25. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle it?
  26. What was your least favorite job? Why?
  27. What is your biggest regret?
  28. Do you ever use your sense of humor to diffuse a situation at work?
  29. What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?
  30. Do you consider yourself a team player?
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