A resume helper disguised as an interview guide

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101 Interview QsI can’t tell you how many books on job search, leadership, management and general workplace issues come across my desk every week. Rachel, Anthony and I receive so many, it’s difficult to keep up with them all, and I do a purge of our bookshelf about twice a year. (I think we need a bigger bookshelf but the books are donated to charity so maybe we should hold off on that.)

But I digress … I’m here to talk about one book in particular. While I would love to tell you (again) about CareerBuilder’s job search handbook “Career Building,” I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about this particular gem I found called “101 Toughest Interview Questions … and Answers That Win the Job!” by Daniel Porot and Frances Bolles Haynes. It’s not your typical dry interview book. This book is compact and comes in a flashcard-like format and arms you with the answers that interviewers really want to hear.

The book is divided into four sections which address employers’ main concerns when hiring a new employee – 1) Can you do the job? 2) Who are you? 3) Will you fit in at the company? 4) What will you cost us? — and supply potential interview questions that will answer those matters.

Porot and Haynes cover questions from the most standard (“What are your greatest achievements?” and “Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?”) to the most challenging (“So?” and “Have you approached any other organizations?” and “Would you like to sit in my chair one day?”) and give suggestions and fill-in-the blank options of how you might answer each.

For example, the authors give five sample answers that you can adapt to your situation and personality to the question, “Why do you think you have the potential for this job?”

  • I know my potential, and I can tell you that I plan to enrich the company in two areas. (Mention two areas in which you are 100 percent sure you can add value.)
  • I can answer that positively for two reasons. (Mention two examples or facts as proof.)
  • My three strongest qualifications for this job are ______, ______ and ______.
  • Based on the information you have shared with me today, I can say that I have the potential as well as the enthusiasm and persistence that you would expect from someone working for your company.
  • I have encountered situations and challenges in my previous jobs that are similar to those involved with this position and I have a successful track record. (Elaborate on one.)

But I don’t think you should read this book before your interview. I think you should read it before you even apply to jobs. “Why?” you ask? If you review all the questions as a job search exercise, the information you discover and the answers you craft can be used in your cover letters and help you discover holes in your resume. All that in a purse- or backpack-friendly size.

There is one question that I take issue with: “What is your favorite Web site and why?” This wordsmith and bibliophile whould have liked the question to read: “What is your favorite book and/or Web site and why?” (Hint to anyone who ever interviews for a job with me.) Otherwise, as Chelsea Handler would say, I give this book … my blessing.

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