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Interview Exercises

1. Newspaper style interviewing

Purpose: To learn how to answer open-ended questions using a newspaper style answer.

How to do this Drill: Do this drill with a friend or family member, who will act as the interviewer and time your response. Practice answering each question in two minutes or less using Newspaper Style (see Secret # 5). You must first state a quick summary, tag on a few details, and then shut up and wait for the next question.

You may want to tape record yourself and listen to it later.

Practice questions (not typical interview questions):

  1. Tell me about your college years and what you got out of them?
  2. How did you get your spouse to marry you?
  3. What two cars you've owned have been the biggest headaches?
  4. What have you done for your children that your parents didn't do for you?
  5. What's your philosophy of life and how does it differ from most others.
  6. What three characteristics do you look for in a friend...and why?
  7. What could be done to improve service at your bank?
  8. How did your two favorite teachers or professors help you most?
  9. Why do you eat out as often or as little as you do?
  10. If you had to be an animal in the zoo, which would it be and why?
  11. If you could do one nice thing for 20 strangers, what would it be?
  12. If forced to take a government job, what would it be and why?
  13. How could the postal office be improved?
  14. Explain the two things you like most about your spouse?
  15. What did you learn as a teenager that you'd like other kids to learn?
  16. Tell me the dishes you prepare best and your main cooking secret.
  17. Why do you keep returning to the restaurant you like the best?
  18. Which American politician have you respected most and why?
  19. Tell me about the two happiest days of your life.
  20. Tell me about another house you'd prefer to the one you have.

2. Develop your personal sales pitch

How to do this drill: Using your resume as a guide, explain your career highlights and skills to a friend or family member. Take as much time as you wish.

Once you feel comfortable with your pitch, divide it into several 2 minute or less newspaper style capsules. Practice giving these to a friend or to the mirror.

3. Real interview questions

Purpose: To practice typical interview questions.

How to do this Drill: Do this drill with a friend or family member, who will act as the interviewer. Use the skills that you practiced in Drills # 1 and 2. Make sure that you keep your answers short and to the point. Use newspaper style answers.

You may want to tape record yourself and listen to it later.

Typical Interview Questions

  1. What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? When and why did you establish these goals, and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
  2. What professional goals have you established for yourself for the next 10 years?
  3. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  4. What would you like most of all to accomplish in your career?
  5. What are your long-range career objectives?
  6. How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
  7. What are the most important rewards you expect in your business career?
  8. What do you expect to be earning in five years?
  9. Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
  10. Which is more important to you, the money or the type of Job?
  11. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  12. How would you describe yourself?
  13. How do you think a friend or professor who knows you well would describe you?
  14. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  15. How has your college experience prepared you for a business career?
  16. Why should I hire you?
  17. What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful?
  18. How do you determine or evaluate success?
  19. What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?
  20. In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?

4. Putting it all together

Purpose: To master all 7 Secrets To Successful Interviewing

How to do this drill: This is your dry run at interviewing. Do this drill over and over until you feel completely comfortable with the whole interviewing process. It is best to utilize several different practice interviewers so that you get comfortable with different interviewing styles.

  1. Select a sample company and job that you want to interview for.
  2. Do your homework on this company. Look up their web site and find out what you can about them. If you know someone that works there, ask them to describe the company and its culture.
  3. Have a friend play your recruiter. Get him to tell you all about the job. Make sure you find out about the "must haves, like to haves and added bonuses". Get a map and directions to the interview.
  4. Dress as you would for the interview. Have your friend check your clothes against the guidelines in Secret # 1. This is best done by someone experienced in the job market, preferably a manager that has hiring responsibilities.
  5. Arrive at your pretend interview 15 minutes early.
  6. Practice an interview for the job with a friend. Make sure you have mastered the following skills:
    1. Showing that you are a fine person and would be easy to work with.
    2. Showcasing your skills and convincing the interviewer that you can do the job.
    3. Have a give and take in the conversation
    4. Use Newspaper style answers. Keep your answers short and to the point
    5. Ask about the job and the company. Convince yourself that this is a job that you would like.
    6. Handle questions about salary.
    7. Ask for an offer

Extra Credit

There are many excellent books about job changes and interviews in the bookstore and the library. Take the time to read some of these publications. Two books that we recommend are Rites of Passage and Executive Job-Changing Workbook, both by John Lucht. These books were written for executive job changing, but much of the material applies to any professional job change. Secret # 5 is from these books, as are the questions used in the drills.

That's it!

    The Seven Secrets of a Successful Job Interview
  1. How you look affects how they see you
  2. You will interview best if you are prepared and have done your homework
  3. The interviewing process is really a sales call
  4. Don't monopolize the conversation
  5. Make your interview read like a newspaper
  6. Interviewing is a two-way street
  7. Use your recruiter to negotiate your best salary

    Practice the Seven Secrets with these Job Interview Exercises
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