The top ten generic most stupid – and not so stupid – questions that you will be asked during most interviews whether you are making $50,000 or $550,000.

The MOST STUPID TOP 10 generic questions that the novice interviewer will ask or an interviewer who has not taken time to read your resume. Unfortunately you will encounter this situation so you might as well be prepared.

Tell me about yourself?
“I am not sure what part of who I am you would like to know about. Where would you like me to start?"  No matter what response you give, keep it Short and to the Point.

What do you believe are your strengthens?
We all have them. The trick is to relate them to the position you are interviewing for. If the position calls for a micro-manager. one of your strengths will be that you are detail oriented. Again, understand the context of the position and describe your strengths in that context.

What are your weaknesses?
Again we all have them. Make sure you turn a weakness into a good quality. For example, you are overly candid with your co-workers about the time a project will take, which sometimes causes a bit of pressure on those co-workers, but you effectively manage expectations as a result.

Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 15 years from now?
There is only one good answer. I see myself working HERE! Say, I am flexible about my progression and title but want to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they become available within the organization. You can expand upon this answer but remember to keep your response Short and to the Point.

Tell me what your long term career goal is?
Let me start by saying that I am a driven person, and by that I mean I want to move forward. What I am not is a title motivated person, so career progression for me is measured by responsibility, nNot Title focused.

If you were a __________ (fill in the blank with one of the following: an animal, a vegetable or some type of consumer product) what would you be?
Who cares and really what do you learn that is relevant? Nonetheless, have your answer ready and why you chose that answer. Everyone is different so you need to think this one over for yourself. Again, no right or wrong answer, just come up with a meaningful answer that you can support with a sincere response.

Describe the perfect job for yourself?
The perfect job is not what they want, they want to know if you are interested in their job. So tell them that you are interested in the position which you are interviewing for and why.

Do you work well under pressure and time constraints?
 The epitome of a stupid question – what are you going to say? NO?  nswer the question with a BIG YES and before the interviewer can ask another question give him or her an example they can digest.

What would your peers say about you?
Note only the good things and come up with two or three examples.

Do you remember when you took your last IQ test?  What were your results?
Unless you are one of the few that just took your IQ test, then there is really only one answer, and the truth is always the best answer. Frankly I don’t remember and I am not one who will just make something up in an interview to answer a question. I would rather be honest with you.

With respect to compensation, what are your expectations?
Never, and I repeat NEVER, give a number. Simply restate your current compensation and tell the employer that you are “open” to a reasonable offer.

 

The Top 10 generic questions that an astute interviewer will ask you to determine if you are truly a qualified candidate who should move on to a second round.

Why do you believe our company is the right fit for you?
Did you do your research? If you did this will be an easy question to answer. If you did not, then go and do it or you will not be getting an offer from this company. The most obvious response should be around their company’s culture. Again, do your homework.

Based on the content of the position as you know it, what leads you to believe that you are a qualified candidate for this position?
Think about the position. See yourself in the position. Now solve their business problem. When they can see you in the position as you see yourself you will get the offer. You are now communicating with them on a much higher level.

With respect to your last position, describe how your role impacted the company.   
You should have examples ready about the specific things YOU did for your employer, and you should be able to quantify your examples – meaning $$$ to the bottom line. Do not answer this type of question in a WE did this and THEY did that manner. Only answer in I did this and I did that. This is very important.

Tell me the reason you left “ABC” company to join XYZ company?
I will be very clear here. If you cannot answer this question you will not get an offer. If you are a “problem child” then you have to get your house in order and explain things in a favorable manner. Remember everyone you interview with is going to ask this question, so answer it the same for everyone (it is not ok to say I just answered this question). If the same person asks this question more than once they either do not believe you, or you did a poor job the first time explaining.

Describe the culture of the last company you worked for, including what you liked most about that culture and what you liked least.
You should know your current organization very well. When answering do not say or lean toward negativity about your employer, it will have a boomerang effect on how they view you. What you should do is draw similarities between the culture of your current employer and the company you are interviewing with.

Explain in detail what metrics you use to manage those that report directly to you? To the extent those individuals are not meeting those metrics, what action(s) have you taken to help get individuals back on track?
Remember that metrics, or measurements, can be function specific, so make sure that you address this in your answer. If you aren’t interviewing for a management position, this question may address your performance individually, meaning how to you measure your own performance? Be ready with a short and to the point response. 

Reflecting back on your most recent position, tell me what you did in the first 90 days to make a difference?
Your thinking should follow this track. You arrive at your employer. You are given a desk a phone and a laptop. Now go make your job HAPPEN! Outline your first 30 days, then 60 days, then 90 days. Give specific examples of your achievements, keep it short and to the point. Emphasize your success in meeting the challenges to the interviewer and you will be on track for the OFFER!

In order to achieve success it is said that one must know themselves, call it self awareness.  What one or two things come to mind that you feel you need to work on that will continue to move you forward in your professional career?
You must have an answer to this question otherwise you will appear arrogant, but here is the secret... just like the political spin doctors out there your mission is to take your answer and find a way to spin it into a positive response!

In terms of compensation, in your last position what was your base salary; your target bonus potential and was there any type of equity component (i.e. stock options, restricted stock units, performance shares). Regarding your last bonus, when was it received and what was the actual bonus payout? 
Know your package and be able to describe it in detail. Do not indicate what your salary expectations are. If they ask for supporting documentation be prepared to provide it. Do not under any circumstances say “This is confidential." If you make that statement, you may as well leave now. EVERYONE has to be honest with each other, how else can a future employer create a competitive compensation package for you if they don’t have accurate information to begin with?

What have we not addressed about you that you would like for me to know that would help convince me that you are right for our culture and qualified for this position?
Be prepared and know who you are. If you are not prepared then this is a tough one for you, but do have an answer of substance, and keep it short and to the point. Be confident in your answer and get ready for the OFFER!

 

REMEMBER

This should have taken no more then 5 minutes to read. Your answers to any of the above questions should be no longer than 3 minutes (maximum).mAfter 3 minutes ask the interviewer if they would care for you to elaborate. 

Another secret here for you to be aware of is that the attention span of an interviewer is worse than that of an adolescent. Many times they are not even in the same room with you mentally, they are thinking about what they need to do next. 

Here is a way for you to relate to what I am teaching you and again it is easy to remember...

The interview needs to be more like a short distance race, like the 100 yard dash, you need to hold the interviewers interest, and to do that you need the interview to move like a tennis ball moves in a tennis match – back and forth – this way the interviewer can not mentally escape since they are mentally jousting with you. If you choose to answer a question with the mindset of a Marathon Runner, then pack your bags and walk out of the interview, you just lost the job. That’s right you lost it and you did not listen to me!

Remember the #1 rule in everything that you do when you are looking for a job and remember I told you to put this on your 3 x 5 card... Keep it Short and to the Point!