The 20 most difficult questions you'll be asked on a job interview

Being prepared the Interview.

If you are one of those executive types unhappy at your present job and embarking on a New Year's resolution to find an another one, here's a helping hand. The job interview is considered to be the most critical part of every expedition that brings you to fac-to-face with the future boss.

1. Tell us about yourself.

Since this is often the opening question in an interview, be very careful what you say about yourself. Keep your answers to point to point no extra talking. Cover four topics: early years, education, work history, and recent career experience.

2. How much you know about our organization?

You should have a appropriate knowledge of products or services, revenues, reputation, image, goals, problems, management style, people, history and philosophy. But don't act as if you know everything. Let your answer show that you have taken the time to do some research, but don't overwhelm the interviewer, and make it clear that you wish to learn more.

You might start your answer in this manner: "In my job search, I've investigated a number of companies.

Yours is one of the few that interests me, for these reasons..."

Give your answer a positive tone. Don't say, "Well, everyone tells me that you're in all sorts of trouble, and that's why I'm here", even if that is why you're there.

3. Work for us WHY?

The deadliest answer you can give is "Because I like people." What else would you like-animals?

Here, and throughout the interview, a good answer comes from having done your homework so that you can speak in terms of the company's needs. You might say that your research has shown that the company is doing things you would like to be involved with, and that it's doing them in ways that greatly interest you. For example, if the organization is known for strong management, your answer should mention that fact and show that you would like to be a part of that team. If the company places a great deal of emphasis on research and development emphasizes the fact that you want to create new things and that you know this is a place in which such activity is encouraged. If the organization stresses financial controls, your answer should mention a reverence for numbers.

Your homework should include learning enough about the company to avoid approaching places where you wouldn't be able -or wouldn't want- to function. Since most of us are poor liars, it's difficult to con anyone in an interview. But even if you should succeed at it, your prize is a job you don't really want.

4. What can you achieve for us that someone else can't?

Here you have every right, and perhaps an obligation, to toot your own horn and be a bit egotistical. Talk about your record of getting things done, and mention specifics from your resume or list of career accomplishments. Say that your skills and interests, combined with this history of getting results, make you valuable.

5. What do you find most interesting about this position? What seems least interesting about it?

List two or three attractive factors of the job, and mention a single, minor, unattractive item.

6. Why should we consider hiring you?

Create your answer by thinking in terms of your ability, your experience, and your energy. (See question 4.)

7. What do you intend to look for in a job?

Keep your answer oriented to opportunities at this organization. Talk about your desire to perform and be recognized for your contributions. Make your answer oriented toward opportunity rather than personal security.

8. Please define your opinion of [the position for which you are being interviewed for].

Keep your answer brief and task oriented. Think in terms of responsibilities and accountability. Make sure that you really do understand what the position involves before you attempt an answer. If you are not certain. Ask the interviewer; he or she may answer the question for you.

9. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution?

Be realistic. Say that, while you would expect to meet pressing demands and pull your own weight from the first day, it might take six months to a year before you could expect to know the organization and its needs well enough to make a major contribution.

10. How long would you stay with us?

Say that you are interested in a career with the organization, but admit that you would have to continue to feel challenged to remain with any organization.

11. Your resume tells that your Highly-qualified with years of experienced which is a little over for this position. What's your opinion?

Emphasize your interest in establishing a long-term association with the organization and say that you assume that if you perform well in his job, new opportunities will come and open up for you.

12. What is your management style?

You should know enough about the company's style to know that your management style will complement it. Possible styles include: task oriented (I'll enjoy problem-solving identifying what's wrong, choosing a solution and implementing it"), results-oriented ("Every management decision I make is determined by how it will affect the bottom line"), or even paternalistic ("I'm committed to taking care of my subordinates and pointing them in the right direction").

13. Are you a good manager? Can you give me some examples? Do you feel that you have top managerial potential?

Keep your answer achievement and ask-oriented.

14. When hiring people what do your look for ?

Think in terms of skills. Initiative and the adaptability to be able to work comfortably and effectively with others. Mention that you like to hire people who appear capable of moving up in the organization.

15. Have you ever had to fire an employee? What were the reasons, and how did you handle it?

Admit that the situation was not easy, but say that it worked out well, both for the company and, you think, for the individual. Show that, like anyone else, you don't enjoy unpleasant tasks but that you can resolve them efficiently and -in the case of firing someone- humanely.

16. What do you thing about being a manager or executive?

Mention planning, execution, and cost-control. The most difficult task is to motivate and manage employess to get something planned and completed on time and within the budget.

17. What do you think of your seniors?

Be as positive as you can. A potential boss is likely to wonder if you might talk about him in similar terms at some point in the future.

18. Why aren't you earning more at your age?

Say that this is one reason that you are conducting this job search. Don't be defensive.

19. What is your pay expectation from this position?

Salary is a delicate topic. We suggest that you defer tying yourself to a precise figure for as long as you can do so politely. You might say, "I understand that the range for this job is between (Your Country Currency)______ and (Your Country Currency)______. That seems appropriate for the job as I understand it." You might answer the question with a question: "Perhaps you can help me on this one. Can you tell me if there is a range for similar jobs in the organization?"

Don't sell yourself short, but continue to stress the fact that the job itself is the most important thing in your mind. The interviewer may be trying to determine just how much you want the job. Don't leave the impression that money is the only thing that is important to you. Link questions of salary to the work itself.

But whenever possible, say as little as you can about salary until you reach the "final" stage of the interview process. At that point, you know that the company is genuinely interested in you and that it is likely to be flexible in salary negotiations.

20. How successful you have been so far?

Say that, all-in-all, you're happy with the way your career has progressed so far. Given the normal ups and downs of life, you feel that you've done quite well and have no complaints.