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spike bullet March 2001 - Finding the Right Job for You

Finding the Right Job for You
What Do You Want?
Locating the Right Company
Most Commonly Used Search Methods
Preparing for the Interview
Tough Interview Questions & Answers
Closing the Interview
Negotiating an Offer
Staying Focused
Sample: Affirmations, Vision Statement
Resources (Links, articles, books, humor, Interview Questions)

spike bullet Finding the Right Job for You

Last month's topic talked about Hiring the Right People.  This month we talk about the other side - finding a job.  

No matter why you are looking for another job, it is an activity that few people enjoy and can be somewhat stressful.   Minimizing the stress and maximizing the results are the goal of this article.

There are many resources available to job seekers, some of which we list in the Resources section.

spike bullet What Do You Want?

Defining your ideal job is one of the most important aspects of any job search, yet is often ignored.  Why?  Because many people simply search for a job like the last one they had.  

If you left because you weren't happy there or you are now thinking of leaving, it's time to spend some time defining what you want in your next job.  Even if you were laid off, fired or out of work for some other reason, spending some time thinking about what you want is helpful in focusing your time and efforts. 

An excellent resource is the book, What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles.  This book give lots of exercises that help identify your interests and what types of jobs use those interests.  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) described in David Kiersey's book, Please Understand Me II, provides useful information on personality temperaments.  Our Personality Game provides another look at personality.  A new tool is the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham that includes an Internet test to identify your unique talents and strengths.  There are many other useful and helpful personality systems that may work for you.

Some tips for getting started:

  1. Knowing your personality and your own interests, make a list of how you would like to spend your day or an average week in your new job.  
  2. Identify the types of activities you would like to be involved with in your new job.  
  3. Make a calendar or list the percent of time you would like to have in the various activities that interest to you.
  4. Make a list of the types of people would you like to work with.  
    • For example, do you want to work with people who need to be supervised or do you like people who manage themselves.  
    • Do you like people who talk a lot or people who are quiet, etc.
    • Do you like to socialize with people at work or not.
  5. What type of peers do you want in your new job?
  6. What type of boss and executives do you want in your new job?
  7. What corporate values and ethics are important to you in your new job?
  8. What size company do you like - small, medium, large, international, with everyone working in one office, working in the regional office of a larger company, etc.?
  9. What type of office environment is important to you.  
    • Is a private office important to you or do you like to be in thick of things?  
    • Do you like downtown high-rise buildings or would you rather work in an old house or in a corporate campus atmosphere?
    • Do you like lots of windows and sunlight or closed in offices?
  10. List the job titles that fit what you want in your next job.
  11. Write a job description that describes your ideal job or write a couple different job descriptions that interest you.
  12. Make a list of potential industries that might have the type of job you want.
  13. Identify how far you are willing to commute to your new job if that is an issue for you. 
  14. If you are relocating to another area of the country, you will have those issues to consider as well. 

spike bullet Locating a Company 

Now comes the more difficult part - finding a company right for you (assuming you want to move to a different company).  

From the exercise above, you have identified the types of jobs, the values of the companies where you want to work and potential industries.

You next task is to search out companies and jobs that fit what you want.  The Internet is an invaluable resource tool for this effort as most large companies have at least a website.  The challenge is trimming down the millions of possibilities into a useful pool of target companies.

You might start by searching the various job posting boards available to see what companies have jobs that fit your job description.  Then, as you identify potential companies, visit their website to learn more about them.  

Keep your ideal job description and your answers from the first section in front of you as you search out possibilities.  

Some tips on locating companies:

  1. Contact companies who list open jobs.  Visit their website or contact their Human Resources Department. 
  2. Register on the job websites appropriate for your interests and industry.  See Resources for the top sites. 
  3. In addition to Internet research, ask friends, relatives and business associates for suggestions on possible opportunities.  
  4. Use the daily and weekly newspaper for job listings.  
  5. Go to your library for company directories in your desired industry.
  6. Read articles in trade magazines or newspapers that identify companies in your area or in your desired industry.
  7. Check for job listing with your state Employment Development Department (or whatever it is called in your area).
  8. Join a job club or local networking group in your industry.  Many professional organizations have job listings, groups or resources to help people connect.  Some churches, volunteer and community organizations also have job listings or resources. 
  9. Check with the Chamber of Commerce to see if they have business directories or resources for identifying companies that fit your criteria. 
  10. Check with recruiting agencies and executive recruiters for current open positions. 
  11. If you are an executive or high-level manager, be sure to read the book, Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+, for additional tips. 

spike bullet Most Commonly Used Job-search Methods

Percent of Total Jobseekers Using the Method Method Effectiveness Rate *
66.0% Applied directly to employer  47.7%
50.8 Asked friends about jobs where they work 22.1
41.8 Asked friends about jobs elsewhere 11.9
28.4 Asked relatives about jobs where they work 19.3
27.3 Asked relatives about jobs elsewhere 7.4
45.9 Answered local newspaper ads 23.9
21.0 Private employment agency 24.2
12.5  School placement office 21.4
15.3 Civil Service test 12.5
10.4 Asked teacher or professor  12.1
1.6  Placed ad in local newspaper  12.9
6.0  Union hiring hall  22.2

* A percentage obtained by dividing the number of jobseekers who actually found work using the method, by the total number of jobseekers who tried to use that method, whether successfully or not.   Source: US Dept of Labor, 1996 

According another survey of how people found a job where we are shows:

Source Percent 
Employment Agencies  9% 
Want Ads 10%
Trade/Professional Associations   7% 
Networking 74% 

spike bullet Preparing for the Interview

The most important trait for interviewing is your Attitude.  A positive attitude comes across in your bearing, your dress, your voice and your enthusiasm.  

If you have not interviewed for a while, work with a friend or associate to practice answering the standard interview questions.

In addition, we recommend that you write out your answers to all the questions in the resource section of this article.  There are more than 90 questions listed.  If you do this, you should be prepared to answer any question that might be asked.  The more prepared you are, the move confident you will be when you interview.  

On the day of the interview, dress carefully and be there early.  When you get to the company, before you get out of your car, take a few minutes to review your resume and your description of your ideal job.  Take a few minutes to meditate or to calm the butterflies in your stomach.  It is natural to be nervous.  However, if you are well prepared, you will do well.

Be confident, energetic and enthusiastic.  Be honest and sincere.  Most of all, be the best you can be.  Be pleasant with everyone you meet.  People who see you walking across the parking lot may form an initial impression of who you are without you being aware of them.  You may see someone in the hallway that turns out later to be the president of the company or the person you are interviewing with.  

Tough Questions 

Keep your responses to 2-3 minutes at most for each question, then turn control back to your interviewer.  If they want more details, they will ask for them.  If you are not sure what they are asking, be sure to clarify the question before answering.  

Some of the tough questions you are likely to encounter are:

1. Tell me about yourself

This open-ended question is a favorite of interviewers.  It forces you to be organized in your answer and it allows you to express who you are and your accomplishments.

Do not tell your life history.  Keep your response directed toward your professional career as they relate to the job your interviewing for.  Describe major accomplishments and how they apply to the position you seek.  Identify a couple jobs with accomplishments then ask the interviewer if they want to delve into more details.

2. Why are you leaving your current position (or why did you leave your last position)?

This is a crucial question.  You must be prepared with a good answer without "bad-mouthing" your current (or former) company, your current (or former) boss or your current (or former) co-workers.   If there is a buy-out, shut-down, down-sizing or merger those are the easiest to explain.  

If you feel stifled in your present position, explain it in a way that shows you are not being disloyal or unappreciative of your current (or former) company by looking elsewhere.  If you have previously discussed the situation with your boss and they cannot offer you any hope of advancement within the company, tell your interviewer that. 

If you are relocating to another area, explain your reasons for moving to the new area, why you plan to stay there and ways that you will be productive quickly. 

3. What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?

This is another very crucial question and could be what gets you the job you seek.  Allow your enthusiasm to show as you describe how you solved a problem or met a significant challenge.  

Give insights into how your skills, talents and abilities were used to do something beneficial for your company.  If there were financial benefits associated with what you did, identify them.  If you managed a team of people, also give the team credit and show your pride in your management ability for helping them accomplish something rewarding.  

4. Why do you believe you are qualified for this position?

This is a tough question that shows you understand the job that is being filled and how you will fit into it.  If you are interviewing at a new company, you will need to demonstrate insight into the new job and company in order to answer it "correctly" from the interviewer's perspective.  

Choose two or three main factors about the job from the job announcement or from the interviewer's description that match your experience and talents.  Select a specific technical skill, management skill or personal success to emphasize your accomplishments.  

5. Have you ever accomplished anything that you did not think you could?

This question asks about how goal-oriented you are and how persistent you are in the face of adversity.   Provide an example of something you have done that required you to overcome numerous difficulties to succeed.  Demonstrate that you don't give up when something is important or demonstrate how you overcame failure.

6. What do you like/dislike most about your current/last position?

This question gets to how compatible you are with the new position.  Be careful how you answer this one!  The exercises you did about what you want will really come into play here.  If you really need lots of freedom and autonomy in your job and you are interviewing for a government job with lots of bureaucracy, you probably won't fit the mold they are looking for.  If what you need to be successful fits the company culture where you are interviewing, it should reveal itself through your answers to this question.

7. How do you handle pressure?  Do you like or dislike pressure situations?

High achievers usually like pressure and respond well to it.  How you explain yourself and what you say about such situations will let the interviewer know whether you can handle a high-pressure job.  The question could also be a clue that the job is pressure packed or out of control.  If so, be careful to learn what the expectations are and whether you want to have a job with high pressure all the time. 

If you do perform well under pressure, provide some detailed examples of situations where you have been successful.  

8. The sign of a good employee is the ability to take initiative.  Describe some situations where you took initiative.

A person who demonstrates initiative does not need to told how to perform, and is one of the hallmarks of a successful career.  Give some short examples when you took the initiative in a situation and the results.  Describe one situation in more detail that helps the interview understand how you approach the challenge.

9. What is the worst or most embarrassing aspect of your career?  Looking back, how would you have done things differently?

Be candid and explain what you learned from your mistakes.  Don't be afraid to talk about your failures.  Every successful person has them.  Learning from mistakes is what makes high-quality managers and executives stand out from people who pretend they are perfect or keep making the same mistakes over and over.

10. How have you changed in during the past few years?

Demonstrating how you have progressed gives an indication of how you will perform in the future.  Give examples of the progress you have made by broadening your management responsibilities, gaining new insights into managing people or learning new aspects of your industry.  If you have gotten additional education, traveled to other countries, tackled new types of projects or expanded your view of the corporate world, explain how that has helped you in your work.  Your answer shows maturity and your enthusiasm for your own personal growth shows that you will continue to be interested in your development in the future.     

11. What do you consider your major strengths?  ... your major weaknesses?

For strengths, know your key strengths.  Be able to discuss them easily with specific examples of how you used each one in your current or recent position.  Be sure that they fit with the job you are interviewing for.

For weaknesses, describe one or two that you acknowledge and what you are doing to overcome them.  Explain how this weakness hurt you and how you have managed to improve it or minimize it.  For example, if you are too detail oriented, you might explain that you have asked others to check your work so you don't spend so much time on it.  Or, if you are impatient, explain how you have learned to be more calm under pressure.  Or, if you talk too much, explain how you have learned to listen more. 

12. What do you think of your boss?  How was he/she to work for?

You don't want to "bad mouth" your boss or discuss confidential aspects of your relationship.  Explain the major positive attributes of your boss and how you were successful in working together.  If you had differences, explain how you were able to maintain a good working relationship in spite of them.  Don't go into details about what you disagree about because that would violate their right to privacy.

One thing my mother used to say is a good rule of thumb here: "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all."

The last thing you want is for your interviewer to think that you will spread gossip about the people you work with.  Or, worse, find out that your boss and your interviewer are best friends. 

13. How do you handle deadlines, onerous people and silly rules that make a job difficult?

Since most companies have these situations, you must be able to deal with them in order to be effective - especially in management or executive positions.  The more experience you have in being successful in spite of the common corporate challenges, the stronger you will appear.

Explain how your diplomatic skills, perseverance and sense of humor have helped you overcome these problems.  Give an example or two of how you have used them in other situations.  

14. One of our biggest problems is < fill in the blanks >.  What has been your experience with this?  How would you deal with it?

This is one of the questions we especially recommend to interviewers because it gives them a chance to see how well you think on your feet, your creativity in solving problems and your initiative in developing strategies on the spot. 

If necessary, ask for more details so that you are sure you know what problem they want you to solve.  If you have similar experience, describe that.  If not, explain how you would approach the problem and what process you would use to come to an appropriate course of action.

15. How do you compare your technical skills to your management skills?

Many managers try to minimize their technical skills.  For many jobs, some hands-on knowledge and skill is required or expected.  If you have (or had) technical skills, describe them honestly.  If some of your technical skills are rusty or are not current, admit that.  

Don't ignore your management skills in answering this question if you are a manager or interviewing for a management position.  

16. How has your technical ability been important in getting results?

This question probably indicates that technical ability is important in this position.  

Most managers were in technical positions at some time in their career.  If you have used your technical skills to solve a management problem, describe a situation where you were able to use your skills in spite of them not being current.  Or, if you had to beef up or refresh your technical skills for some reason, explain that. 

17. How would you handle a situation with tight deadlines, low morale and inadequate resources?

Such situations are typical in many companies and most managers have had to face them at one time or another.  How strong your management skills are will be determined by your answers to this question.  Describe your toughest management challenge even if it doesn't meet all of the points asked and how you were able to deal with it.  If you have performed in turn-around situations, that should be described for this one. 

Good answers to this question will demonstrate your strong management skills, prioritization skills, creative problem-solving skills, leadership skills, communication skills, teamwork skills, problem anticipation/planning skills and budget management skills.  

18. Are you satisfied with your career to date?  What would you change if you could?

Be honest when answering this one.  Your own motivation to keep your career is important to explain. If you overcame challenges, explain how those contributed to your success.  

Most interviewers are not looking for someone who is completely happy to let life take its course without guidance.  Nor are they looking for someone who is constantly jumping to the next job for immediate rewards.  They usually are looking for someone who has an idea where they want to go and will work on making sure they don't get too far off course while being willing to look at reasonable opportunities as they appear. 

19. What are your career goals?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ... in 10 years?

This is a tough question for many people.  Especially in the early years of a management career, it's hard to imagine yourself as president of the company in a few years.  If you can see the next step or two up the career ladder from where you are, that's probably the best answer for the time being.   If you are already a vice president, a presidency is a reasonable goal.  

Part of your answer, of course, depends on what is available at the company where you are interviewing.  There's nothing wrong with stating that in your answer. 

20. Why should we hire you for this position?  How long do you expect to be with us?  What kind of contribution would you make?  How long would it take for you to be successful?

Usually these are the last questions asked.  Here, you want to summarize everything you have learned about the position and how your experience and skills match the job.  

Restate the major problems the job will face and how you see yourself solving them.  Don't assume you already have the position but explain that you will have to get more details before jumping in too fast.  Be confident in your abilities but not arrogant or cocky.

Emphasize how well you feel you will fit with the company's culture (if that is true) and that you plan to stay as long as you can contribute positively.  

If you have been a quick-start person in the past, emphasize that.  If you have had long-term success, emphasize that.  Demonstrate with your answers that you will be a positive asset to the company and can expect to make strong contributions to whatever challenges arise. 

spike bullet Closing the Interview Process

You've finished all the interviewer's questions and are breathing a sigh of relief!   

Your interviewer may ask if you have more questions.  Be ready with them!  In your interview preparation, you should have researched the company.  

If your mind goes blank, ask about their plans for the future, new products or services on the horizon, their history, why they changed industries or any other questions based on your research.

Before you leave, be sure to ask about the time frame for choosing a candidate to fill the position.  Restate your desire to work for the company in the position you interviewed for.  Ask if you can call in a few days to follow-up. You may be told that successful candidates will be called back for additional interviews.  

Most management positions require multiple interviews or intensive interviews with many people, so you will have to temper your questions to fit these situations.  

DO NOT ask about salary or benefits until the position is offered to you and you start negotiations.  Several articles in the resources section address this topic. 

If it is clear to you that this position is not right for you or you sense that the interviewer is not happy with your answers, it is better to know this and discuss it before you leave.  Sometimes, it is just not a good fit for whatever reason.  Don't drag out the process if you are clear that you don't want the job. 

Following the interview, send a 1-page follow-up letter recapping your experience, the highlights of your strengths and your interest in the position.  Make sure you get a business card or the correct name and address of the person you interview with.

spike bullet Negotiating an Offer

Salary and benefit negotiations are a very sticky issue since each situation is different.  If you have researched your industry and similar jobs, you know what the job should pay.  

Some companies will make a very attractive offer the first time.  Others will attempt to offer less and expect to negotiate the rest.  How you deal with such situations depends on your own needs, your personality and your situation.

If the company offers something less than you are willing to accept, you must be ready with a counter-offer.  You may land somewhere in between or they may accept your counter.  The result will depend on many variables, including bonuses, stock options and other benefits.  The higher you are in the corporate hierarchy, the more negotiable the salary and compensation package becomes.    

We highly recommend the book by John Lucht for in-depth discussion of negotiating points.  The articles included in "Negotiating Job Offers" and "Job Offer Negotiation Strategies" as well as others listed on the Resources page provide many good suggestions.    

spike bullet Staying Focused

A job search can be stressful at times.  Remember to keep your goals clear and your list of what you want in front of you at all times as a reminder.  Know that the perfect job is searching for you just as you are searching for it.

If you are comfortable using affirmations, create a Vision of Your Perfect Job and affirmations to go along with it.  

Trust that you will find what you are looking for.  If you need help, join a support group or ask some friends to be available.

spike bullet Affirmations for Perfect Employment (samples)

I visualize my perfect working place, knowing it is already mine.
I feel the perfect working environment for me, see my working area, visualize my daily activities, and know that I am happy and productive in my perfect employment.
I am confident and enthusiastic each day in my perfect job.
My work efforts are a reflection of my inner self, always expressing who I am.
I always have more resources than I need.
My perfect employment is already created and is mine, RIGHT NOW !!
My job search is the easiest thing Iíve ever done.
Opportunities are drawn to me, effortlessly.
My perfect job is drawn to me like magic.
I am relaxed and confident, knowing that the perfect job is mine already.
I visualize my perfect company, my perfect job, my perfect office, my perfect co-workers, my perfect boss and know that it is mine, RIGHT NOW !!
I am happy and excited each day about my perfect job.

spike bullet Job/Employment Vision (sample)

Write your own to fit your ideal situation.  Read it out loud at least once each day. Check all possible jobs against your Vision Statement. 

  1. I am happy, excited and enthusiastic each day as I look forward to the dayís events.
  2. My work place is clean, attractive, and safe.  It has space, light, air and plants.  I feel like I belong here.
  3. My place of work is within 30 minutesí drive from my home.  My drive is pleasant and relaxing.
  4. My financial compensation is more than enough for my needs, with extra for my savings and enjoyment.
  5. I am in charge of my budget, my work area, my staff and my work products.
  6. I have flexibility and can be innovative and creative in meeting company goals.
  7. I have the freedom, encouragement and opportunity to take risks and to succeed or fail.
  8. I have freedom to work as few or as many hours as needed to get the job done - in the office, at home or wherever needed.
  9. The corporate culture is healthy, supportive and compatible with my own needs and my work ethic.
  10. The structure of the company is supportive of employees as well as management and contributes to their success.
  11. The goals, mission and vision of the company are clearly communicated, accepted, compatible and supported all the people involved in the company.
  12. I am able to teach others and share myself as they become motivated, more self-aware and empowered by my leadership example.
  13. I feel and know that my work is contributing to the betterment and positive transformation of the planet.
  14. I like and deeply respect those I work with.  Our beliefs and life philosophy are compatible.
  15. I am respected and rewarded for my work, my contributions, and my role in this work.
  16. I participate in setting and carrying out the goals of the company.

spike bullet How to Make the Most of Your Potential: 10 Core Beliefs of Peak Performers

  1. Winners are not born, they are made.
  2. The dominant force in your existence is the way you think.
  3. You CAN create your own reality.
  4. There is some benefit to be had from every adversity.
  5. Every one of your beliefs is a choice.
  6. You are never defeated until you accept defeat as a reality and stop trying.
  7. The only real limitations on what you can accomplish are those that you impose on yourself.
  8. You already possess the ability to excel in at least one key area of your life.
  9. There can no great success without great commitment.
  10. You need the support and cooperation of others to achieve any worthwhile goal.

Food for Thought:

"You have been drawn into this situation to gain experience.  This is not a test of what you know; it is a test of how you deal with what you do not know.  Invoke help in learning what you need to know" .. [Healing Lines, 4 Indiscretion, pg 38]

"If you knew the answer, you would not need to ask.  This time of inexperience forces you to grow, to gain new insights and to further develop your character" .. [I Ching Workbook, 4 Inexperience]

spike bullet Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself!
  2. Why did you leave your last position(s)?
  3. What do you consider your most significant accomplishment?
  4. Why do you believe you are qualified for this position?
  5. Have you ever accomplished something that you did not think you could?
  6. What did you like / dislike most about your last position(s)?
  7. How do you handle pressure?  Do you like or dislike pressure situations?
  8. The sign of a good employee is the ability to take the initiative. Can you describe situations like this about yourself?
  9. What is the worst or most embarrassing aspect of your career?
  10. Looking back, how would you have done things differently?
  11. How have you grown or changed in the past few years?
  12. What are your major strengths?
  13. What are your major weaknesses?
  14. What do / did you think of your boss? How was she / he to work for?
  15. Deadlines, frustrations, onerous people and silly rules can make a job difficult.  How do you handle these types of situations?
  16. One of our major problems is _________________.   What has been your experience with this?  How would you deal with it?
  17. How do you compare your technical skills to your management skills?
  18. How has your technical ability been important in getting results?
  19. How would you handle a situation with tight deadlines, low employee morale and inadequate resources?
  20. Are you satisfied with your career to date?
  21. What would you change if you could?
  22. What are your career goals?
  23. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
  24. Why should we hire you for this position?
  25. If you were I, why would you hire you?
  26. What can you do for me that someone else cannot do?
  27. Describe your top Professional Skills / Abilities.
  28. Describe your top Personal Skills / Abilities.
  29. What do you look for in a job?
  30. Why do you feel you have top management potential?
  31. Can you work under pressure with unreasonable deadlines?
  32. What is your philosophy of management?
  33. Do you prefer staff or line work? Why?
  34. What kind of supervision do you prefer?
  35. What are your five biggest accomplishments in your last job?
  36. What are your five biggest accomplishments in your career?
  37. In what type of position are you most interested?
  38. Why do you want to work for this company?
  39. What do you know about this company?
  40. How long would it take you to contribute to our firm?
  41. What other types of jobs are you considering?
  42. What companies?
  43. Why did you choose your particular field of work?
  44. If you could start again, what would you do differently?
  45. What new goals or objectives have you established recently?
  46. How have you changed the nature of your job?
  47. Why havenít you obtained a job so far?
  48. What are your short-range objectives?
  49. What do you think of your boss?
  50. What features of previous jobs have you disliked?
  51. Describe a few situations in which your work was criticized.
  52. In your past position(s), what problems have you identified that had previously been overlooked?
  53. How would you evaluate your last firm?
  54. How did your last employer treat you?
  55. Would you object if you had to work for a woman? For a minority?
  56. How do you feel about people from minority groups?
  57. What interests you most in this position?
  58. Will you be out to take your bossís job?
  59. Do you feel you might be better off in a different type of company? Different size company?
  60. What interests you about our product(s) / service(s)?
  61. Are you willing to go where the company sends you? Travel? Relocate?
  62. How do you feel about overtime work?
  63. Are you willing to take work home with you?
  64. Have you often or ever taken work home with you?
  65. Are you over-qualified (or under-qualified) for this job?
  66. In what way will this company benefit from your services?
  67. What are your personal goals?
  68. If you had your choice of jobs and companies, where would you go?
  69. What are the advantages / disadvantages of your chosen field?
  70. What qualifications do you have that make you feel that you are / will be successful in your field?
  71. How would you describe the essence of success?
  72. Do you generally speak to people before they speak to you?
  73. What are your special abilities?
  74. Are you creative? Give an example.
  75. Are you analytical? Give an example.
  76. Are you a good manager? Give an example.
  77. Are you a leader? Give an example.
  78. How would you describe your personality?
  79. Do you have any objections to a psychological test or interview?
  80. Will you take an aptitude test?
  81. Do you have any hobbies? What are they?
  82. What was the last book you read? Last movie you saw? Last sporting event you attended? Last play / musical you attended?
  83. What do you do to keep in good physical condition?
  84. Do you feel that you have a good general education?
  85. What are your ideas on salary?
  86. What kind of salary are you worth?
  87. What do you think determines a personís progress in a good company?
  88. Do you prefer working with other people or by yourself?
  89. Do you like routine work?
  90. Can you take criticism without getting upset?
  91. What types of people annoy you?
  92. How would the following people describe you? Bosses? Employees? Peer Managers? Friends? Clients / Customers?
  93. Why should someone hire you, given the wealth of talent currently available?
  94. How long do you expect to be with us?
  95. What kind of contribution would you make?
  96. How long would it take?

spike bullet Interview Restrictions - Questions That Are Now Illegal

  • Questions about race, religion, place of birth of applicant or family, memberships in organizations or participation in activities that would indicate race or creed.
  • Questions about or requests to see birth certificates or naturalization papers before employment. After employment, however, you must verify employment eligibility by examining certain documents to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) required by the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
  • Asking about applicantís willingness to work on particular religious holidays in most cases. If working on Saturday or Sunday is constantly or frequently required of all employees and the applicantís inability to work on those days would cause a serious business hardship, you may discuss this as an essential job requirement.
  • Asking about color, complexion, hairstyle or dress particular to a minority group.
  • Asking if the applicant has been arrested. You may ask about convictions, but not arrests.
  • If the applicant indicates ability to speak a foreign language, you may not ask how the language was learned. You can ask, however, if an applicant has a skill in another language, if this is an essential job requirement.
  • Questions about childcare problems cannot be asked female applicants, unless also asked of all male applicants.
  • Questions about ability to travel on business, make sales calls, etc., may not be asked of female or disabled applicants, unless also asked of all male applicants and unless travel, sales calls, etc., are essential job requirements.
  • Questions about the applicantís health.
  • Asking if applicant ever had an injury or disease. If applicant volunteers information about health, do not inquire about the nature or extent of the condition. Reply to such information by explaining your companyís commitment to equal employment opportunity.
  • Asking about any visible physical characteristics, as scars, missing limbs, use of canes, crutches, braces, etc.
  • Asking about any history of emotional illness or about consulting with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • Asking an applicant if there is a family history of any illnesses or if any acquaintance has any illnesses, such as "Do any of your friends have AIDS, drug problems, etc.?"

Interviewers should be familiar with these restrictions.  However, it is possible you will be asked them.  You can tell the interviewer that they are illegal questions or you can answer them.

World Wide Web graphic  Internet Resources

There are specialized websites about almost every conceivable job or career.  Use one of the search engines to search for your interest area in addition to the links listed here.  

See February 2001 article for more resources.

Orange County Resources

(*) May not work with Netscape browsers.  (**) Will not work with Netscape browsers.

book graphic  Books

  • What Color is Your Parachute, Richard Bolles (updated annually), Ten Speed Press; (January 2003) ISBN: 1580084605 
  • Please Understand Me II, David Kiersey.  Prometheus Nemesis Book Co; (May 1998)ISBN: 1885705026
  • When Smart People Fail, Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottleib, Penguin USA (Paper); (May 1993) 
    ISBN: 0140178112 (excellent way to re≠think 'failure' and 'success')
  • The New Perfect Resume, Tom Jackson. Main Street Books; (September 1996) 
    ISBN: 038548190X
  • Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+: Your Insiderís Lifetime Guide to Executive Job-Changing and Faster Career Progress in the 21st Century, John Lucht.  Viceroy Press; Revised and Updated edition (September 2000) ISBN: 0942785304
  • Resumes that Mean Business, David Eyler. Random House Trade Paperbacks; (May 1993) 
    ASIN: 0679746102 (80 model resumes and winning cover letters)
  • Job Interview that Mean Business, David Eyler. Random House 3rd edition (April 1999)ASIN: 0375704701
  • Transitions: Making Sense of Lifeís Changes 2nd Edition, William Bridges, Perseus Press, 1980 (excellent for anyone undergoing change ≠ which is most of us) ISBN: 0201000822
  • Surviving Corporate Transition, William Bridges, Doubleday, New York, 1988 (further expansion of his work on personal transitions) ASIN: 0385237618
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton. The Free Press. 2001. (follow-up to First, Break All The Rules) ISBN: 0743201140 
  • What the CEO Wants You to Know: How Your Company Really Works, Ram Charan.  Crown Business, New York.  2001 (a great little book for managers and executives, or those who aspire to management) ISBN: 0609608398

world wide web - articles  Articles

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side

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Page updated: June 05, 2009

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