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Interview Questions

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Technical / Behavioral 1
 What are "Behavioral Interview Questions?"

When you hear the term "Behavioral Interview," you might imagine me arriving in a lab coat and counting the beads of sweat on your forehead. Rest assured: behavioral interview questions aren’t suspicious psychological clap-trap. Instead, they give the prepared interviewee (that's you) a great chance to showcase your skills and accomplishments. If you are prepared, you will have a major opportunity to outshine your competitors.

 Behavioral interviewing questions ask you for specific examples of what you have actually done (i.e. how you have behaved in the past).

The fundamental theory of Behavioral Interview Questions: Your past behavior is an excellent predictor of future behavior. If the job requires excellent time management skills, the interviewer will therefore ask you for examples of where you had to use this skill in the past.

Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interviewing questions usually contain the following phrases:

"Tell me about a time when you…."

"Give me an example of when you had to…

 Here are a few sample behavioral interview questions for you to practice on:

"Tell me about a time when your time management skills came to your rescue."

"Tell me about a tough customer you had to win over."

"Sometimes co-workers are just annoying. Tell me about the worst co-worker you’ve had to try to work with?" Follow-up question: "What did you do about the annoyances?"

"Tell me about the most complicated project you’ve had to manage."

I have listed a few behavioral interview questions and answers here on the Sample Interview Questions page.

 How you preparing to ACE behavioral interviews?

While it’s tough to teach you everything I know about how to answer Behavioral Interviewing questions in one sitting, I do have a few tips that will help.
Be familiar with your accomplishments. Behavioral interviewing is all about showcasing your skills and bragging about what you have accomplished. It’s urgent that you re-familiarize yourself with your accomplishments. Try these basic steps:

  1. Pull out your old performance reviews and read them. Remember your major accomplishments and defeats.
  2. Read your old resumes
  3. Review old projects and memos you wrote and sweated over. Get the major successes and roadblocks in mind.
  4. Recall the major customers you served. Who were your bosses? Who were the most challenging customers or clients? Remember the best and worst of the people you worked with.

Practice, practice, practice!
I can’t emphasize this one enough. If you go into an interview and decide to just "wing it," you and and I will both come away disappointed. I recommend that you enlist a friend to help you practice or hire a professional interview coach.

 Typical Interview Questions
 Why are man hole covers round?

I call these interview questions "Smart" or "Problem Solving" questions. While it seems like a silly question to be asking in a job interview, this style of questioning is growing in popularity among professional interviewers.
Popularized by Microsoft, the "Smart" or "Problem Solving" question is designed give the interviewer a sample of your mental horsepower, ability to think on your feet, and flexibility and creativity.
You are not supposed to actually know the answer. The interview question is to see if you can come up with a credible answer and back that answer up with some kind of logic, calculation, or reasoned analysis.
Don’t throw your hands up in frustration and whine, "I don’t know!" You will be judged as inflexible and easily frustrated by out-of-the-box ideas. You don’t want to give that impression in a job interview situation.
Do act intrigued by the question (even if you’re not). Show that you are willing to engage in an off-beat exercise. Have some fun with it. Relax.
Do puzzle your way to an answer, even if you know it’s probably wrong. Think out loud. Let the interviewer know how you are going to try to get to your best answer.
Do ask clarifying questions of the interviewer if you need more information to get to the answer. Interviewers like to see some give and take during these questions.
Don’t get carried away and ask too many detailed questions that delay the interview. It’s not important to be right. You just have to come up with a credible answer that you can back up with a credible analysis of some kind. It is possible to be too detail oriented and lose sight of the goal of the question. Don't fall into this trap.
Do feel comfortable making assumptions, but be careful to state them to the interviewer.
If these kinds of questions are difficult for you, buy yourself a mental exercise puzzle book and practice-practice-practice until you become more comfortable. You can try making up your own questions, or have a friend make up a few, and go to town on them.
Case interviews are more in-depth, but are very similar. Practice case interviews would seriously help you answer these questions also. Consider Vault's Guide to the Case Interview as a resource I can confidently recommend.

Sample Answer:

"Hmmm… Wow. Interesting question. Well, I suppose there might be several reasons for that. I’m not sure I know the true answer, but let me take some educated guesses.
"They might be round because they are heavy. It would be easier for one person to lift and roll around. If they were square, you couldn’t roll them, and it would take two to lift one.
"Maybe they are round because they are expensive to make, and a round cover would use less materials than a square cover because the volume of a circle is less than a square.
"They might also be round for safety reasons. Maybe the corners could warp and come up into the street and punch holes in tires over time.
Not sure I got it, but those are at least a few ideas on why they might be round."


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