Frequently Asked Interview Questions
Don't get complacent with frequently asked interview questions! It's important to listen to the questions that are
being asked by the interviewer. So often, candidates will be so busy thinking about their interview answers
that they fail to really hear the question. Don't fall into this trap.
Here's the next installment of frequently asked interview questions you need to be prepared to answer.
TELL ME ABOUT THE MAJOR CHALLENGES YOU'VE FACED
IN YOUR CAREER.
Major challenges...this is not about accomplishments,
and it's not about small obstacles that you've successfully
overcome. This is about major hurdles you've dealt with
successfully. Some examples to illustrate the point...
I was given management responsibility at a very young age, with a
team that was considerably older and more experienced. Proving myself
in that environment was a significant challenge. Go on to explain how
you succeeded in this role.
I came into ABC Widget as the National Sales Manager, and while
I knew that I was walking into a turn around situation, I had no
idea how bad it really was. I inherited a dysfunctional team who had
been through three managers in two years. I was able to turn things
I joined an internet start up before anyone new that the dot com frenzy
was about to come to a screeching halt. I got the entrepreneurial bug
and had to follow it, which required me to leave a really great position
with an industry leader. Keeping this small company afloat at a time
when the market around us was disintegrating was a huge challenge.
My ability to make things happen from a sales standpoint - getting
in the door, getting in front of the right people - kept us from going
out of business. Since I was the sales strategist, the pressure was
really on me to get results.
Pick challenges that had a successful outcome! You need to
speak to your specific role in overcoming the challenge.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR IDEAL BOSS.
This is another frequently asked interview question that can be tricky! If you describe someone who is
the exact opposite of the hiring manager, you're going to
be history! I would preface my response to this question
with a broad brush statement about how you've worked
successfully with all types of bosses, and have the ability
to adjust to anyone's style.
But then, you're going to have to answer the question.
Things that come to mind when thinking about a good
manager include some of the following characteristics:
- Supportive of his/her people
- Willingness to delegate -- both responsibility and authority
- Respect for team members
- Technically competent
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills (a place where many managers fail miserably!)
- Good listener
- Holds people accountable
This list is certainly not exhaustive. Talk about things that
are important to you, choosing things that are fairly hard to
argue with. It's hard to disagree with the traits listed above.
Chances are, if the hiring manager is asking this question,
he/she will find it hard to find fault with your answer!
TELL ME ABOUT THE BOSS YOU LIKED BEST.
This is really another way to ask the "ideal boss" question.
By speaking about the boss that you liked best, you'll be
revealing traits about that person that are important to
you. The difference here is that you can refer to a specific
person and a specific company experience in your response.
If I was answering this frequently asked interview question, I could tell you about a
boss I had very early in my career, who gave me far more
responsibility and authority than a recent college grad
should ever have. He was a mentor and coach, who taught
me everything I know about project management. The
lessons he taught me years ago became the foundation of
my work ethic and my strong follow through skills.
He taught me not to take "no" for an answer.
To this day, when someone in a work situation says that
something can't be done, I don't believe it. I need to ask
the same question in several different ways and probe for
alternatives. Inevitably, problems that seem insurmountable
can ultimately be solved. He embodied the traits that I
think all good managers possess - and I would walk
through the list provided above.