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How to prepare for tough interview questions

Rich Hein | May 9, 2014
We spoke with industry experts to get the advice that will help you craft better answers to what are some of the most common, and difficult, interview questions.

The all too common answers like "I want to grow," "I am looking for new challenges," and "I am seeking new opportunities in this industry" are all well and good but what's more important than that according to Harvey Batra is the follow-up question. Here is some food for thought:

Example - I want to grow. "Can you explain why you couldn't find these growth opportunities in your existing/previous role?" asks Batra.

Example - I am looking for new challenges. "Does your current or previous environment lack challenges?" asks Batra.

Example - I am seeking new opportunities in this industry. "Why this industry, why not another one? Can you explain?" asks Batra.

One possible answer might go something like, "I was with Planet Express for ten years and I worked my way up to IT director. My goal has always been to be a CIO in the shipping industry and there is no other more senior role for me to advance to in my current organization. So in order to continue to move my career forward I have been looking for external opportunities."

Question # 6 - If you were leading a development project and the project was tanking what would you do?"
The interviewer is attempting to gain insight into your problem solving abilities, strategic-thinking and how you handle adversity. "The key management principles that you want to convey is that you remain calm under pressure, that you are able to triage the issues that pose the highest risk to the project, and that there are periods of adversity in all projects," says Saccal.

Harvey Batra offers this as one possible answer, "Leading a project is very similar to leading an army to war; if you know you are going to lose then why would you do it. Pause, Regroup and Reassess the situation. Finding the root cause is always key, but accepting and correcting the cause is even more important."

Question #7 - Are you a job hopper?
With the tech jobs and business markets being what they are, it's not uncommon to be in the workforce for a number of years with one or two short stretches at a company. However you need to have solid and sound reasons for leaving each job and be able to effectively communicate them to potential employers. Most people in technology understand that if you're not staying current with technologies you're going to get passed, so there's a certain amount of appreciation for leaving a job when things get stale and problems are no longer interesting. That said, if you veer too far in that direction, companies will view you as lacking loyalty. "Once you fall into a category of being perceived as a job hopper, it's hard to overcome that. The line of what constitutes a job hopper is subjective; therefore you want to make sure you're thoughtful about any job changes you make," says Stagno.


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