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 1.        Arrive fifteen minutes early to the interview.

 2.        Fill out all applications neatly and completely. Write “negotiable” in the salary section.

 3.        When meeting the interviewer mirror their demeanor.

 4.        Do not answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Sell yourself by using examples and paint a clear picture of where, when, how, what, and why you did it.

 5.        Stress your achievements, records and accomplishments.

 6.        Answer all questions to the point; do not ramble on. Role-play some responses before the interview. “Practice makes perfect”!

 7.        Do not make derogatory remarks about previous or present employers.

 8.        Avoid asking questions in regard to salary, commission, bonuses or vacation.

 9.        Tell your possible employer what you are going to do for them, NOT what they can do for you.

10.       Always represent yourself honestly.



Talk to your Executive Search Consultant about specific issues that may be addressed in the interview. Learn about the interview style of those with whom you’ll be meeting from your Executive Search Consultant.


Your preparation will allow you to enter the interview relaxed and confident that you can fulfill the needs of the company and that they have an opportunity that can enhance your career.


BUT! You are only a part of the way there. During the interview you will be asked difficult questions. These questions are designed to see how you will react under pressure and unfamiliar territory. There are no “pat” answers to these questions. Interviewers ask different questions and look for different responses. However, by being familiar with the types of questions you may be asked, you will give yourself the opportunity to answer these questions comfortably and confidently. We have included a list of typical stress questions and some examples of how they might be answered.


Following is a list of typical stress questions, followed by some examples of how they might be answered.


  • What are your short-range objectives? Long-range objectives?

  • What do you look for in a job?

  • What is the difference between a good position and an excellent one?

  • Why are you leaving? Why did your business fail?

  • Why did you select my organization to interview with?

  • What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Do you work well under pressure, deadlines, etc.?

  • What is your philosophy of management?

  • How are you best managed?

  • How has your early career or background influenced your progression and current management

  • style?

  • How has your management style changed over the years?

  • What salary are you seeking and why?

  • What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?

  • What are your five biggest accomplishments in your present or last job?  Your career?

  • What is your biggest strength?  Weakness?

  • What business, credit or character references can you give us?

  • What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful in this business?

  • In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our firm?

  • How long would it take you to make a contribution to our firm?

  • How long would you stay with us?

  • If you could start again, what would you do differently?

  • How do you rate yourself as a professional?  As an executive?

  • What new goals or objectives have you established recently?  Why?

  • How have you changed the nature of your job?

  • What qualities have you liked or disliked in your boss?

  • What was the most difficult ethical decision you have had to make?  What was the result?

  • Why have you not obtained a job so far?

  • What features of your previous jobs have you disliked?

  • Would you describe a few situations in which your work was criticized?

  • How would you evaluate your present firm?

  • Do you generally speak to people before they speak to you?

  • How would you describe the essence of success?

  • How successful have you been?

  • What is the worst situation you have faced in your professional life?  How did you deal with it? 

  • What happened?

  • What interests you most about the position we have?  The least?

  • Do you feel that you might be better off with a different size firm than ours?

  • Are you a leader?  A good manager?  Analytical?  Give an example.

  • How do you build a team under you?

  • How would you describe your own personality?

  • Have you helped increase sales?  Profits?  Reduced costs?

  • Where do you relate best - up one level, down one level, or with your peers?

  • What do your subordinates think of you?

  • How do you evaluate your subordinates?

  • Have you had to let people go? Lay off? Terminate? When and why?


As we indicated earlier, there are no “pat” answers to these questions.


Review the questions and your responses. While some of the questions seem difficult, the keys to answering effectively are to be direct, truthful, positive and succinct!


Some examples:


Why are you leaving your present firm?


I have enjoyed working there and think they have some good people in management. It is a good company, but I am ready to handle additional responsibilities now, and the opportunities do not exist in my present position.


How long would it take you to make a contribution to our firm?


I would want to be sure that I understood the operating environment and the personnel, but I feel that I have the skills and experience to make a contribution in a very short time. What do you feel will be the main focus of the position for the first six months?


Why are you leaving your present position?


I enjoy my work, but I am anxious to expand my knowledge and take on more responsibility. Frankly, these opportunities do not exist in my present position.


***      If you are interested in the position, ask for it, or ask for the next interview. If you want this job, say this:  “I am very interested in your company. I am confident I can do an excellent job for you. What is the next step in your hiring process?”

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