Facing Interviews Phase - 3






101. Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was the topic? What journals did you read?
Sample excellent response:
In my academic career I have had to write several research papers. The most recent one I wrote was on whether zero-tolerance policies about drugs and weapons in high schools are reasonable. To answer this question, I went to several high schools and interviewed their principal or top-level employees. I also interviewed students and parents. I visited the Health Department to gather data. Finally, I conducted the remainder of my research on the Internet. As a result, I was able to get perspective from every group this topic would effect.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


102. Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?
Sample excellent response:
Another manager became upset with me since some projects were not being completed. Without discussing the situation with me first, she criticized me in front of one of the employees I directly supervised. I was upset that she made me look bad in front of my workers, but I remained calm and asked her to step into the office so that we could talk about it in more detail. We discussed the problem, and she learned that the non-completion of the tasks was not my fault. Another manager did not receive his instructions telling him the tasks he needed to complete. After that I learned not to jump to conclusions when dealing with others that I work and that sometimes a miscommunication can lead to a much larger problem. I've learned to get the complete facts.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


103. Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result?
Sample excellent response:
Last summer, I wanted to help organize a summer camp for local low-income children. My supervisor knew the demand would be there but feared we would not have enough staff. I convinced her that since I went to the facility daily, I could network with acquaintances and convince them of the importance of this camp. My supervisor trusted me. We had hundreds of children sign up for the program, and I had reached so many people that we were able fully staff the camp, as well as have a backup supply of people who were willing to volunteer their time and services to the organization.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.



104. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused?
Sample excellent response:
I keep an electronic hand-held organizer that I synchronize with a schedule on my computer. I keep track of each task in order of priority and due date. I use an electronic organizer because it is very portable and has an alarm to remind me of about what is due so I don't have to waste time by looking at my organizer every hour. I start with the projects with the closest due date and the highest priority. I take these tasks and then schedule times in my calendar for me to work on them to ensure I meet deadlines. I stay focused by going over my organizer each night before bed so I know immediately what I have accomplished and where I need to start the next day. Here let me show you...



105. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organization was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play?
Sample excellent response:
The trucks at Wal-Mart come loaded by personnel at by a distribution center, box-by-box. After receiving a few trucks, I noticed that my employees were unloading broken merchandise that took a lot of time to clean up before the rest of the truck could be finished. The broken glass, paint, or whatever material it was prevented the employees from preceding farther into the truck, causing more person-hours than normal. I noticed that the merchandise was broken because heavier boxes were on top of lighter boxes. After a couple of days of this situation, productivity decreasing, I learned that the rest of the stores in my district faced the same problem. As a result, I asked each store to take pictures of the mess so the distribution centers could see exactly what was happening. I also asked each one to write down how many additional person-hours it took to clean up the mess. After we gathered this information for a four-week period, we had a pretty a good estimate of how much the company was losing, approximately $9.50 per person-hour...an average of $125 per store times 15 stores times 30 nights a month amounted to a substantial sum. We took the information as a group to our district manager. Once he realized how much money his district was losing each month because of broken merchandise in the trucks, he contacted his regional manager, and the trucks after that were loaded more carefully. The district made our Profit and Loss the next month by a 9 percent increase.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.



106. Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome?
Sample excellent response:
When I was working as a receptionist at an apartment complex, a tenant argued that he had turned in his rent payment the day it was due. He stated that he had slipped it under the door because our office was closed for the day. I decided to consult my manager because I realized that maybe the office needed a sign that stated that we did not accept rent money that is slipped under the door. My boss agreed, and we posted the sign. We never again had a problem with tenants who claimed they'd paid their rent that way.



107. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?
Sample excellent response:
When I worked for a law firm, my co-workers and I had a huge mailing to complete. We had the choice of working more efficiently as a team -- or individually in a much more time-consuming manner. My two co-workers did not care for each other and they wanted to complete the mail-out on an individual level. When I presented them with the evidence that we would finish at least an hour earlier by working together, they decided that working together was the right path to take. As a result, we finished the mail-out in a short period of time and could work on other tasks that day.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.



108. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn?
Sample excellent response:
I recently failed to meet a deadline in my communications course with a project I had to do on the Internet. I did not meet the deadline because I underestimated the amount of time the assignment would take me to complete. Therefore, the assignment was incomplete when I turned it in. As a result I lost points on my final grade.I learned the importance of examining tasks more carefully so I can better estimate the amount of time required to complete them. I also learned to build some flex time into projects so that if my estimates are wrong, I'll still have time to complete the tasks.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


109. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist him or her? What was the result?
Sample excellent response:
I was studying right before a major finance test. As the class came into the classroom a couple of students indicated that did not understand a concept that I did. Although there was a small section of material that I had not completely mastered, I realized that I knew enough about that section that I could perform well enough to earn a good grade. I knew that the section that the other students did not understand was a major portion of the exam since the professor had an interest in this particular subject. I stopped what I was doing to explain to the small group about the Multiplier Effect of Bank Reserves on the overall supply of money. Those students learned enough from what I taught them that they did well on the exam. I missed a few points on the section of material that I had not mastered, but I did well enough to get an A, and the satisfaction I got from teaching others the concept made me feel proud.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


110. Give two examples of things you've done in previous jobs or school that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.
Sample excellent response:
The day we had inventory at Best Buy, I worked a 13-hour day. I did this because I knew we were understaffed and that a lot of the lower-level employees who would be working with the inventory team were very nervous about being in charge of the inventory when many of them had never done it before. Conveniently, I used to work for the inventory company that was handling our store, so I still had a fairly deep understanding of their processes and methods. I typically work 8-9 hour shifts, but I stayed longer after my shift to ensure that our lower-level employees felt comfortable and that the inventory got started on time and that it took off in the right direction. I met with a few of the the lower-level employees, and I told them a few tips on how to solve problems they may encounter, and it worked; they all seemed to feel a little more comfortable. Then I walked the store and made sure that it was presentable for our guests and in case we got a surprise visit from headquarters. I couldn't stay for the inventory myself because I had class in the morning, and it would've put me over my 40 hours for the week, but I was glad I could stay long enough to make everyone feel a little more comfortable, and that I had time to make them all feel appreciated.
Another example of something that merited a lot of effort on my behalf was my marketing research paper. I enjoy group projects because I enjoy learning about the perspectives of others; however, sometimes the burdens appear to outweigh the benefits. Having a group project such as this one with 5-6 team members was a difficult task when most of us had school and jobs to juggle. We created an online survey and sent it to everyone on our contact list. We were doing research for a museum, and they had a contact list of award-winning artists whose perspectives they wanted us to use in our project. Anyone whose email didn't work or who didn't fill out the survey we tried to contact over the phone. Then we ran all of that data through SPSS and started to create our paper -- in completion our paper was 120 pages. The project was an amazing experience and I am so proud to say I've done it, I love having the opportunity to talk about what I have accomplished, but it merited a great deal of effort and a lot of learning along the way. My group was good; they were a solid group of people who were smart and willing to put in the time, and we got the highest grade in the class.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


111. Describe the last time that you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
Sample excellent response:
During my internship with World Market, we were asked to pick an area or a problem and create a way to improve World Market process. I noticed that our food vendors were not really pulling their weight -- with the economic downturn and the price of gas especially, our sales are down right now, which often means decreased payroll -- so at this juncture it was critical that our vendors perform up to par so we don't have to waste our payroll hours doing their work. Initially I just wanted to change our vendor survey. The survey had 4 questions for each vendor, who got rated green (good) or red (bad) on each question -- that was it. So I turned it into 10 questions that each fell under the categories of one of the initial 4 questions. I also changed the rating scale to a 1-5 scale, 1-2 were red, 3-4 were yellow, and 5 was green. I did a Likert scale rather than a simple red, yellow, green concept because I wanted to be better able to track improvement. This didn't seem like enough to me; I decided there were so many other ways I could tweak the process. So then I created a new vendor scorecard (their feedback -- this shows them their weekly ratings in each area) and a new Vendor notes card (this is where any comments go and shows them any specific dates we had problems with their products, like spoiled milk, for example). I also created a new vendor expectations guide that was a little more professional and attuned to be consistent with the changed I made to the survey. Finally I created an idea for development, putting the survey on a hand-held scanning device so the Team Leader in charge of that area of the store could take the scanner around with her as she did the survey, increasing its accuracy. The survey would also show the vendors' scorecard history (last month, quarterly average, biannual average, and annual average) so we could determine whether or not the vendor was improving.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.



112.What is the most competitive work or school situation you have experienced? How did you handle it? What was the result?
Sample excellent response:
I worked at a retail store, where we had a competition to win an extra discount at the store. Our task was to get more credit-card applications than any other employee. I handled this task by presenting the customer with the benefits of signing up for the credit card and taking the time to explain to them what exactly they were getting into. This seemed to be a great way to deal with this task because people appreciated the honesty and were happy to get the card because of the benefits. I did very well with this task and ended up wining the contest.
[contributed by Keri]


113. Describe a project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities.
Sample excellent response:
During my Marketing Research course, we were assigned a group project to do marketing research for a local business. After we collected all of the data, we had to analyze the data in a meaningful way for the business and report the results. It turned out that I had the strongest analytical abilities in the group, so I led the rest of the group in analyzing the data. Because of my analytical skills, we found that the business had been targeting the wrong market all along and were able to show the owner the market segment that the business should be targeting.
[contributed by M. Kearney]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


114. Give an example of when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
Sample excellent response:
When I decided to study abroad in the spring of 2007, I had to weigh the pros and cons of the decision. People who study abroad typically get worse grades abroad than at home because of the educational and cultural differences, so I had to consider the risk to my GPA. I also had to consider how expensive it would be to live abroad without being allowed to have a job, so there was a financial risk as well. On top of this, when studying abroad at this particular university, because of the difference in education, I was allowed to take only 3 courses, which was significant to me because I already was on a strict schedule from switching majors so late in my college career. So I also had to consider the risk of cramming my schedule with difficult classes in my senior year. But I knew that this was going to be a life-changing experience that I may never get to participate in again. So I took the risk and studied abroad. Now, I have that experience, and it has made me a better candidate for places in my career. It shows that I can overcome great challenges and have been immersed into foreign culture, which is important in my career in the art industry.
[contributed by M. Kearney]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


115. Tell about a time when you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.
Sample excellent response:
While managing a high-end mall jewelry store in which the clientele are usually quite well-mannered and soft-spoken, I returned from a lunch break to find one of our newer sales associates struggling with an irate and somewhat irrational customer. Voices were escalating, with the customer spewing negative comments that could be heard from within the mall. While maintaining good relationships with our customers is a hallmark of our company, this particular situation was not ordinary by any means. I could tell the sales associate was in over his head with this encounter, so I quickly walked into the conversation -- argument -- and proceeded to ask the customer several key questions so that I could both calm her down while also discovering more about her situation so that I could then defuse the confrontation and restore order in the store. In the process of talking with her, I found we had a common love of dogs and were able to talk about our dogs -- sharing some funny stories -- before getting back to her specific problem with the store. In the end, it turns out the company that handles our credit card had been double-billing her account, and I was able to make a phone call and solve her problem.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


116. Some people consider themselves to be "big picture people" and others are detail oriented. Which are you? Give an example hat illustrates your preference.
Sample excellent response:
I believe that to be successful, you have to be both a big-picture person and detail oriented. You can't get caught up in just the details or you will lose sight of the long-term goals. And you can't get caught up in just looking at the big picture, or you will fail because of the lack of detail. As the group leader of a project for my marketing class, I definitely had to be both a big-picture person and detail oriented. I had to make sure that everyone was doing their part and working toward the goal of the project while, at the same time, checking every piece of the paper to make sure even the minuscule parts of the paper were correct and in place. Through using both skills, we earned an A on the project.
[contributed by M. Kearney]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


117. Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
Sample excellent response:
Recently I had a situation where I was giving a presentation to a company and one of the upper managers had to step out during my presentation. He returned after I was done and was taking down my setup, and he asked if he could ask a question, I jokingly replied "no more questions" and then offered, "yes, of course, I would be happy to answer a question for you." Despite the fact that he had laughed at my initial joke, it was clear to me that it had not been received well. I then made certain that I went up to him and apologized and made it clear that I meant no disrespect and that sometimes I just become comfortable with people very quickly. He told me that I needed to be aware of my audience. This is something I have always known, but I believe the sting of this specific event has really brought it to light for me.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


118. Describe a time when you took personal accountability for a conflict and initiated contact with the individual(s) involved to explain your actions.
Sample excellent response:
As a member of the executive board of my fraternity, I was involved in decisions with where to do our community-service projects at times. At one point, the community-service chairman asked me where I thought he should make the next event. I told him we should do an event at the Boys and Girls Club. Some fraternity members complained to the community-service chairman for the decision because they wanted an easier event. I took responsibility for the choice and spoke to the individuals about my reasoning. I told them that I felt the event would make more of a difference in the community than cleaning up a road as we usually do since it would allow us to be mentors to troubled youth as well as provide them with a cleaner building to use. It was better than simply doing manual labor and ended up being a successful event that everyone plans on doing again in the future.
[contributed by M. Kearney]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


119. Give me an example of when you were able to meet the personal and professional (or academic) demands in your life yet still maintained a healthy balance.
Sample excellent response:
My sophomore summer I studied abroad in Europe for six weeks with a program through my university. We were in Innsbruck, Austria, and I loved everything about the town and its surroundings, as well as every place I traveled to on the weekends. There was always something to see or do that was more fun and exciting than class, but I also knew that I couldn't make bad grades that would lower my GPA. To get the most time out of my weekend travels and weekdays in Innsbruck, I always did homework on the train on the weekends and for a few hours every day after class. I ended my summer abroad with many new friends, good grades, and great stories to tell of the cities I saw and adventures I went on.
[contributed by Carly Watson]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


120. Everyone has made some poor decisions or has done something that just did not turn out right. Give an example of when this has happened to you.
Sample excellent response:
In my freshman psychology class, we had to do a group project and presentation, and we got to pick our group members. I was a freshman, and inexperienced with group projects, so I picked two of my friends, even though I knew that they were not hard workers and didn't care about their grades. At the time, I didn't care that they weren't good students, I just wanted to be comfortable with the people I was working with. I ended up doing most of the project very last minute and by myself because I couldn't get them to work on it with me. The project and presentation were both really bad, and all three of our final grades were almost 10 points lower because of it. Needless to say, I never picked a friend as a group member, again, unless I knew they were diligent in school. I learned to be more strategic about team members and also how to motivate people who are not as enthusiastic as I am.
[contributed by Carly Watson]


121. What do you do when you are faced with an obstacle to an important project? Give an example.
Sample excellent response:
When faced with an obstacle to an important project, I always find a way to complete the project in the best manner possible. As an intern at the insurance company I worked for last summer, I was responsible for designing the marketing materials that are handed out at the conventions and to insurance agents to keep the company on top of their minds. Since I was unfamiliar with the materials and the designing software, it took me a little while to get a grasp on it. By the end of the workday on the deadline, I did not have all of the materials completed. So I spoke to my supervisor and tried to work something out. She told me that I was not allowed to do more than a certain number of hours in a week and that the materials needed to be done to turn in to production early the next morning. So I suggested that I stay after work that day to complete the project without hourly compensation. After a little persuasion, she allowed it, and I had the materials completed for the next morning successfully.
[contributed by M. Kearney]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


122. Tell about the most difficult or frustrating individual that you've ever had to work with, and how you managed to work with that person.
Sample excellent response:
I had a boss who would micro-manage every single project, often causing missed deadlines and frustration throughout the department. We all worried about our department's reputation within the organization, but since he was our boss, we felt helpless to try and change anything. It was indeed frustrating knowing you could complete a project on time, only to have your boss need to stop you and question what you were doing and suggest changes. But I got the idea that maybe if I talked with the boss and showed him that we could get more done as a department if we all worked together to have better communications and to trust each other to ask for help and direction when we needed it. Since we worked together, rather than against each other, the boss gained confidence in us to do our jobs, and we were able to do our jobs and also regain the reputation of the department.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


123. Tell about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
Sample excellent response:
For my public-relations course, we had to do a group project to make a public-relations campaign for an organization. At the same time, I had three other group projects and six classes that were becoming extremely challenging to juggle. Some of the group members knew this, so they expressed their concern and some doubt after I offered to take a significant portion of the project upon myself. I persuaded them to trust me and told them about the many things I am able to successfully juggle. I asked them to let me prove it to them, so in the end I completed my part early and we earned a high grade on the project.
[contributed by M. Kearney]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


124. Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the actions of others.
Sample excellent response:
Last semester my organization raised more than $1,500 for a local organization, The Children's Home Society. It was a last-minute fundraiser. We did this over the course of a week, and it was right before the holiday season. There were 16 children who we were looking to help, and the goal of our campus was to raise $200 per child. Ultimately the campus just took the total amount raised and divided it by the number of children; it came out to about $179/child. This money was to help get these underprivileged kids who came from broken homes a good holiday season. What the math comes out to is that we made this happen for approximately 9 children. I was the one who took on this challenge and made and distributed fliers to the business-school faculty. I orchestrated the event, and I like to think that everyone in our organization feels as good about it as I do. I get goose bumps talking about it because it is one of the things of which I am most proud -- I really feel like I had a positive impact on a few lives, and that is what I live for -- I hope I made others in my organization feel the same. I am fairly certain I did.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


125. Tell about a recent job or campus experience that you would describe as a real learning experience? What did you learn from the job or experience?
Sample excellent response:
My recent internship would be the greatest learning experience I have had lately. The format of the internship is to work in each of the varying departments for a few days to get the lay of the land,. We were supposed to spend the rest of our 10 weeks working on our projects and running the store (acting as manager). I learned a lot about the processes of this specific organization and how they all work together, but I also learned a lot about applying management techniques. We had multiple training sessions that honed my leadership skills, but the application was where I really learned. I learned a lot about how to effectively interact with people. I made sure that before I would coach a team member on how to do something correctly, according to brand, that I knew exactly why that was the way we chose to do it, because I wanted them to understand. I learned that understanding is the key to implementing -- I guess that's why I've always liked math, if I understand why I need to do a formula a certain way, then I will remember it and even appreciate it.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


126. Describe a team experience you found disappointing. What could you have done to prevent it?
Sample excellent response:
I recently worked on a project where we had to make a film, a documentary of sorts, on any topic we wanted -- it was really just about the medium of film. My team picked the project of exploring Diet Fad trends through the decades; we thought it would be amusing to see the crazy things people have done for a better body image over the years. Although the project turned out very well, and I am pleased with the end result, I was disappointed in the communication, or lack thereof. Because of everything else I had going on this semester, I had opted not to be the group leader and thus the main communicator -- which was good for me. I like taking on the leadership role but once in a while I sit back and make sure somebody else does it so I still know how to be a supportive follower. Regardless, some of the group members did not turn in their research at the deadline, and our leader did not follow up with them on it. After it was a week overdue I had to jump in and map out a timeline for our team so we could get the project done. I had wanted to make sure we did not put it off because I knew film editing would be much more time consuming than we would anticipate. We got everything done with time to spare but most of our work ended up being during the busiest week of the semester for me and for some of the other members, so I wish the communications had been more thorough earlier on in the project. To improve the situation I could have jumped in earlier and been in touch with the leader about following up with the rest of the team, but I wasn't certain she hadn't followed up with them until I brought it up in class and they all asked, "wasn't that due last week?" The lesson I learned was to ensure that I am a consistently active participant even when I am not the leader; that way I am still maximizing my relationships with the group and working to improve my skills as well as those of the people working with me.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


127. Recall a situation in which communications were poor. How did you handle it?
Sample excellent response:
I worked on a team with several members, and while we worked in the same building, we often used email to communicate with each other. One of the members was not as comfortable with email as the rest of the team, and would always slow the team process down by repeatedly asking people to repeat or rephrase their emails -- always reading way too much into whatever was written in the emails. At one point, after an agonizing day of emails back and forth trying to explain a critical part of the work, I decided I simply needed to go to her office and talk with her about the problem. We met, and I listened to her issues, and together we worked out a solution in which the team still did most of its communications via email, but whenever this team member did not understand something, instead of sending a confusing collection of emails, she would either pick up the phone or walk to the other person's office and solve the miscommunication quickly and efficiently.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


128. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult choice between your personal and professional (or academic) life.
Sample excellent response:
At the very beginning of my senior year of college, my best friend from home passed away. Classes hadn't even been in session for a week when I heard of the car wreck on Saturday night; at first the news wasn't very bad, but as days went on her condition got worse, and by Tuesday, the doctors declared that she would be brain dead forever. I was the mediator between her family and our friends, so when they made the difficult decision to let her go, I was the first to know and had to keep everyone else informed. I was in total shock in the beginning, so I immediately told my professors the situation and that I might be going home for the rest of the week. After getting upset and dealing with the pain that Tuesday afternoon, I realized that I couldn't skip a whole week of classes to go home because I would be way too far behind, and I didn't want to start my senior year like that. Even though I really wanted to be home with my family and friends during that whole week, the funeral wasn't until that Saturday, I didn't have Friday classes, and it was Labor Day weekend, so there was no class on Monday. I ended up finishing the week at school and still got to have a nice, long weekend at home to mourn over my great loss.


129. On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace or in school. Tell about such an occurrence and how you handled it.
Sample excellent response:
I worked for a magazine that had two main competitors, and at the time I worked there, the economy was a bit slow, and the competition for readers and advertiser among these three publications was fierce. We had just finished a market-research study that showed that our audience was just a bit larger and more attractive (better educated, higher incomes) than our competition. We sent the good news to our publisher, who called us in for a meeting to tell us he wanted to combine some numbers to make our position appear even stronger -- and then put those numbers in an ad campaign touting how much better we were than our competition. We told the publisher that he was mistaken and that you could not combine the numbers the way he suggested, but he replied he knew that, but no one else would, and it would strengthen our position in a bad market. It took a lot of courage, but after the meeting, I went back and talked with him one-on-one so as not to embarrass him in front of my colleagues, and told him that what he was doing was dishonest -- and could get us all fired. I knew I risked getting fired for even talking to him this way, but I felt pretty sure he was not dishonest at heart. He did not decide right then, bit he did call back the next day to say he decided not to run the ad.
Also, remember the S-A-R (situation-action-result) technique and see a sample S-A-R story.


130. What are the most important rewards you expect to gain from your career?
Sample excellent response:
I expect to be challenged and grow as a result of my career. I would like to improve myself as a person and as an asset to this company and this industry. I am confident that this position is one that will hone my leadership skills, improve my knowledge of the industry, and challenge me such that I continue to grow and improve within the company.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]


131. How would you define "success" for someone in your chosen career?
Sample excellent response:
Success is being able to attract new patients and physicians while ensuring the happiness of those who are current. It is the ability to brand the company effectively toward a target market to ensure continued customer loyalty.
[contributed by Jessica S.]


132. What qualifications do you have that will make you successful in this company?
Sample excellent response:
I began as an intern for Atlanta Medical System in August of 2007 and have been working as the Public Relations Assistant since January 2008. Because of this experience, I have a comprehensive understanding of the hospital itself and the Tenet Healthcare System. I also earned by marketing degree from Georgia Tech in May of 2008 and throughout my college career participated in numerous organizations that gave me the opportunity to have hands-on event-planning and management experience. I planned the first annual Alpha Delta Pi Big Catch fishing tournament at the Georgia Tech that raised more than $4,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and I was the Marketing and Public Relations Chair for the Student Alumni Association at my university and handled all Homecoming promotions, as well as promotions for other events.
[contributed by Jessica S.]


133. What skills have you acquired from your work experience/internships and part-time jobs?
Sample excellent response:
As part of my internship with Target, I completed various training courses ranging in subject area from ways to work with employees and coaching them on how to improve, to creating my own individual development plan fostering my current and future growth. I was also put in the role of Leader on Duty, where I was the acting store manager, as early as my second week with the company. My internship with Quintessential Careers taught me a great deal about working with a smaller, family business. I took the initiative to plan and implement our big events. My internship with Siemens made my experiences all inclusive as it gave me the opportunity to be one of the central components of such a large company and I was able to truly understand the impact of the political and legal systems on this industry's competitive environment.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]


134. What have you learned from your experiences outside the workplace/classroom?
Sample excellent response:
I have learned that the real world is much different from what you learn in the classroom, that some things you learn are similar to what you were taught, but that for the most part learning is achieved through the process of doing. In the world of health-care marketing, things happen at a fast pace, and you must take everything one day at a time while still keeping an eye on the future.
[contributed by Jessica S.]


135. What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?
Sample excellent response:
I want to work for a small company, preferably a family business like yours. I want a company that has similar values like honesty, individual development, and broadmindedness.
[contributed by Renee Poulin]


136. If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for (in a new college grad)?
Sample excellent response:
I would be looking for someone who has great communications skills, who can communicate with a variety of stakeholder groups, always keeping on message. I would also want someone who had a good mix of teamwork and leadership skills. I would seek a graduate who had a strong blend of academic success and industry experience. Finally, I would want someone who is ambitious, but also willing to learn from others within the organization.
Interestingly, I would want a college grad who had the same experiences and skills sets that I bring to you.


137. How would you describe your leadership skills?
Sample excellent response:
I am a leader who likes to give the people I am leading the ability to shine. I think it is important to take everyone's opinion into consideration and be willing to listen to what they have to say. I think my job as a leader is to organize things and keep them in order. Being the leader does not mean I know everything there is to know because I can not possibly know more than everyone else about every topic. It is just not plausible.
[contributed by Keri]


138. Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
Sample excellent response:
I think that the key is a balance between the two, with efficiency being the most important. You could have an extremely creative piece, but if the message of the piece is not clear then it is not efficient and a waste of resources.
[contributed by Jessica S.]


139. How has college changed you as a person?
Sample excellent response:
I have grown up during my college years. I am able to communicate better, think strategically, and multitask more than ever before. I can handle an appropriate level of stress and still get things done.
[contributed by Renee Poulin]


140. What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
Sample excellent response:
A 120-hour internship while going to school full-time. I juggled the two effectively, completing my internship and classes with all A's. I was also able to apply the things I learned in each one to the other.
[contributed by Renee Poulin]


141. What was the toughest challenge you've ever faced?
Sample excellent response:
The day after I turned 15 I had to get a job to help support my Mom and myself as my Mom struggled to find employment. During my sophomore year of high school I worked two jobs, approximately 45 hours a week, to help pay the bills. It was tough managing homework, six extracurricular organizations, and two jobs, but in the end I learned a valuable lesson about hard work and the value of a dollar.
[contributed by Jessica S.]


142. What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
Sample excellent response:
I want to be happy. I want to work in a job that I am passionate about, and for a company that respects and rewards my contributions. I want to have co-workers whom I like and respect. I think these things all work together for a positive work environment -- which increases productivity -- resulting in happy employees and a happy employer.
I also seek fulfillment. I don't want to work in a job that I feel is below what I am capable of doing. I seek a job that will challenge me to perform at the highest levels and seek ongoing professional development so that I can be even better at my job, making an even stronger contribution to my employer. From everything I've researched and seen, this job that I'm interviewing for meets all my criteria.


143. Some people work best as part of a group -- others prefer the role of individual contributor. How would you describe yourself?
Sample excellent response:
I like a mix of both. I like to work in a group and get group input. I think a lot of good ideas come from talking things out with other people. I also like to work by myself on some projects because I think there are some projects that are just done better if one person is working on them.
[contributed by Keri]


144. When given an important assignment, how do you approach it?
Sample excellent response:
I like to make a list, a timeline of how and by when things need to be done. I really like to get started on the assignment immediately because I've found that once I get started on a project I tend to get gradually more excited about it and involved in it, and I want to expand the project more and more as I go on. By getting started earlier, I can get the most out of the project and maximize it as much as possible while providing time to give it that extra review.


145. If there were one area you've always wanted to improve upon, what would that be?
Sample excellent response:
Sometimes I have trouble admitting to people that I am not understanding something they want me to do or am struggling with a certain task, I can be reluctant to ask others for help. This is something that I want to improve on and am taking steps toward becoming better at asking those around me for help when I need it.
[contributed by Lauren Spalding]


146. When you have been made aware of, or have discovered for yourself, a problem in your school or work performance, what was your course of action?
Sample excellent response:
I realized my freshman year that my writing was not up to par. I struggled not only in my first-year English courses, but in other courses that required writing papers. I used the university's
writing lab as much as possible, but toward the end of that first year, I knew I needed to do more to overcome my deficiencies. My solution was taking two additional writing courses over the summer between my freshman and sophomore years to truly grasp the fundamentals of writing, but then to also take my writing to the next level. Some of my proudest moments later in college have been when professors have noted on my papers that they were impressed with my writing abilities.


147. What kinds of things have you done at school or on the job that were beyond expectations?
Sample excellent response:
When I received a research grant, the requirement was to present our information at some sort of poster contest. Instead of doing this, however, I was involved with a professional organization and presented my findings to faculty around the country at its annual conference. I was the only student presenter at the conference, and my presentation was one of the most highly attended. It was made clear to me that I went above and beyond by presenting at this convention as opposed to a poster competition.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]


148. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships?
Sample excellent response:
Communication is the key ingredient to guiding and maintaining successful business
relationships. Being able to clearly communicate your ideas to others allows you to build and maintain a relationship with others. It is also very important to be an active listener and address any concerns or questions the other party might have. Also, to maintain a successful business relationship, you have to be able to compromise and do what is best for both parties involved.
[contributed by Lauren Spalding]


149. What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?
Sample excellent response:
I have experience in multiple fields and under very different circumstances. I have obtained internships that were very diverse so I could get the most out of each experience and feel like I am well versed in the areas of management and marketing. I have taken myriad classes at my university that have helped prepare me for a successful career in business. Further, my participation in our co-ed professional business fraternity has given me the opportunity to interact with other businesses and develop myself further personally and professionally.
[contributed by Cynthia Buenger]


150. What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?

Sample excellent response:
Fortunately, I am highly self-motivated and do not require a great deal of external motivation on projects and jobs. I have an extremely strong work ethic, and I am not really capable of doing anything less than going the extra mile. I enjoy the satisfaction of completing a a project that goes above and beyond expectations. Sure, I like to be praised for my work as much as the next person does, but the real reward comes in seeing an outstanding finished project, knowing my role in accomplishing the project, and realizing that I put more than my best effort into it. 


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