Interview Questions Deeper Now?

DFN: I have had a fair amount of interviewing experience in the last eight years; I don’t know that the questions today (2009) and ‘deeper’ than the questions in 2002-03. I think the issue is that if you haven’t been in the job market ‘hunting’ recently, being interviewed / interrogated can be an ordeal. The ‘best’ thing you can do is to is to try to have informational interviews, or faux interviews with fellow job seekers. Get some experience interviewing, before you go into a ‘real’ interview.

Posted: Nov. 3, 2009
Interview questions deeper now

If you’re mulling such questions as "What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?" and "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" you’re not going to be ready for the type of questioning used by as many as half of the Fortune 500 employers, says Phillip Kovacs, a senior consultant in human resource training and development for the state of Michigan. Since 1998, he’s trained managers and supervisors on how to conduct behavior-based interviewing, an antidote to questions that are vague, open-ended and hypothetical.

"Behavior-based interviewing is based on the logic that what a person has done in the past is the most reliable predictor of how they are likely to perform in the future," said Kovacs.
Interview questions "are posed in a way to elicit specific examples of what a candidate did, how they did it, and what the result was," he said. Human resources professionals believe this reveals the most qualified candidates.

Here are some examples, courtesy of Kovacs.

• From time to time, all of us make decisions we regret. Tell me about a time you made a decision and what you would do differently now if you could. (This reflects a job candidate’s method for making decisions and learning from mistakes.)

• What do you do when your plans or schedule are interrupted? Give an example of a time that happened. (This will help an employer gauge how a job candidate manages work flows and flexibility.)

• Tell me about a time you had to work on completing an assignment with a team member who was not cooperative. What did you do? (The answer illustrates whether there’s an ability to build strategic working relationships.)
If you’ve got an interview coming up, the job description can give you a road map to what an interviewer wants in an employee.

Let’s say a job description seeks an employee who is adaptable, anticipates change and prepares for it. Get interview-ready by finding instances in your background where you can demonstrate how you planned for, confronted and implemented change.

Kovacs will give interviewing tips 8-8:45 a.m. Wednesday at the "Putting America Back to Work" Job Fair. Kovacs’ talk is free if you pre-register for the job fair, which is 9-1:30 p.m. at Burton Manor, 27777 Schoolcraft, Livonia. Pre-register at, then click on "job fairs."

Got a column idea, question or problem at work? Contact PATRICIA MONTEMURRI: 313-223-4538 or pmontemurri


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