Learn How to Answer Interview Questions
Learning how to answer interview questions effectively requires you to cover a lot of ground.
Clearly, in any one interview, you're likely to face only a handful of questions. Hiring managers
at most companies are not even trained in interviewing. But, like you, they may find their
questions to ask on the internet on a site just like ours.
Thinking through how to answer interview questions like the ones we're presenting, using
your own situation, will get you ready to respond to virtually any interview situation
you encounter. Have a question that has you stumped that
you don't find here? Ask us. We're ready to help. Ask your question on our
Tough Interview Questions visitor page
and we'll respond quickly. Put us to the test. Like you, we'll be ready!
HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO WORKED UNDER YOU HAVE
QUIT IN THE LAST 5 YEARS? HOW MANY HAVE YOU
FIRED? PROMOTED? WHY?
This is a tough question to dodge and is best answered
honestly and directly. If you've had a turnover problem
on your team, you're going to need to explain it -- and
chances are, this will be something that dogs you through
the hiring process. The nagging question will be whether
it's you -- or the company -- that causes people to move
Some turnover is expected. When deciding how to answer interview questions like this,
make sure that you answer in context. If you had a staff of 30,
and lost 5 in 5 years that's much different than losing 5
out of 10.
Regardless of the extent of the turnover you've
experienced, you should be able to speak to patterns. You
might substantiate your comments with data from exit
interviews you conducted along the way. If you can include
people who have left on your reference list, it will suggest
that there's nothing to hide.
Firing people is fairly serious -- and if you've fired too
many, it will raise a question about your competency as
a manager, coach and mentor. Sometimes it's necessary.
How to answer interview questions like this? Again, I would answer in the context of the
rehabilitation plan, and make it clear that this was a last
resort option. Talking about the people you've promoted
is always positive. Be prepared to speak about why you
chose people for promotion and how they've fared in
their new role.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU IMPLEMENTED TO
IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR TEAM?
This question gets to creativity and innovation, and ties
these two skills directly to results. You should be able to
speak to where the team was when you arrived on the
scene versus where they are now under your leadership.
What is it that you did to make this happen? Employers
are looking for tangible results -- for example...
We were operating on average at 80% of quota. We worked to realign
territories and put in a new lead generation system that resulted in
marked improvement in results against plan. We're consistently meeting
quota today and with some fine tuning expect to be at a run rate that's
tracking at 110% of quota by year end.
Be careful about taking all the credit here...if it sounds like
a one person show, the interviewer is likely to make note
of this. Most organizations are looking for team players --
not lone rangers. And, if it sounds like you're the kind of
boss who takes total credit for what was really a team effort,
chances are you won't be a fit in most companies.
You can see that how you answer interview questions sometimes
has unintended consequences!
HOW DO YOU MANAGE A PROJECT ONCE IT
HAS BEEN DELEGATED TO SOMEONE WHO
REPORTS TO YOU?
Command and control type interview questions and answers
like this one, have an objective of understanding how you
delegate and how much responsibility and accountability
you're willing to give your team. Are you a micro-manager
who needs to know every detail-- or will you trust the team to get
the job done? I don't know anyone who's willing to admit
that they are a micro-manager. Yet, when answering a
question like this, shades of micro-management will sneak
into your answer, if that's your style.
I'm listening for someone who: sets clear goals and
objectives at the outset of the project; establishes check
points along the way; remains open to questions; lends
appropriate support where needed. If you require daily
check in and detailed project plans, it might not be a
show stopper, but I'll take note of your controlling nature.
Likewise, if you're a manager who abdicates responsibility
upon delegating to someone on your team, that's an
issue as well.