A: This is my dream job and that's why I approached you about it in the first place. I am excited about the prospect of helping your promotion agency upgrade and fine tune your loyalty programs.
Q: What do you view as your risks and disadvantages with the position we are interviewing you for?
A: I think that with the home office located halfway across the globe, there is a very small risk that one might not have the chance to interact with the key decision makers as often as might be ideal. On the other hand, teleconferencing, email, faxing, and having a 24/7 work ethic will go a long way towards bridging the gap.
A: ENEN is a great company, and thanks in part to my team's contributions, they are doing very well these days. But that wasn't always the case.
During the first two years that I worked there, people were being fired left and right, and just hanging onto my job was a feat.
Once the company began to turn around, [my boss] was offered a terrific job at a rival organization and it took ENEN six months to replace him and when they did, the new boss was eager to bring in his own people. Once again, I tenaciously hung on to my job, and, even though I was long overdue for a promotion, I really didn't think that the timing was right for me to broach it. No one from the old staff was there to even vouch for my performance!
Q: Does a company need B players? Or is it better off only having A players on staff, and why?
A: I believe that a company needs both A and B players. When you're pitching new business, you want the A players on the front line. But behind the A players, you need the B players who can hammer out the details of the projects and stick with them on a day-to-day basis. Having too many A players on the team leads to ego clashes and a disorganized, anarchical way of doing business.
Q: Let's discuss a time when you missed a significant deadline.
A: I would absolutely love to, but honestly, it's never happened.
Q: How many hours a week do you usually work, and why?
A: I work pretty long hours most of the time. With the extra time, I try to find ways to "add value" to each assignment, both my own and the firm's. When our clients read our reports, I want them to think that no one else could have possibly written them, except for our company.
Q: If you were running a company that produces X and the market was tanking for that product, what would you do?
A: I would search for new markets for the product while I spurred the engineers to change the product to make it more marketable to its original core audience.
Q: From your resume, it looks like you were fired twice. How did that make you feel?
A: After I recuperated from the shock both times, it made me feel stronger. It's true that I was fired twice, but I managed to bounce back both times and land jobs that gave me more responsibility, paid me more money, and were at better firms.
Q: You majored in philosophy. How did that prepare you for this career?
A: Philosophy didn't prepare me for a career in architecture at all. But it did force me to become philosophical about my prospects. After two years of trying to figure out what to do with my life, I visited Chicago one weekend, and was absolutely spellbound by the gorgeous architecture all around me.
I came home, applied to architecture schools all over the country, and was accepted by one of the best. I've never looked back . ..this is definitely the career that I was meant to be in.
Q: What are the biggest risks you've taken in recent years? Which ones worked out the best, and which ones failed?
A: I used to work at a large, global PR firm where life was sleepy, but comfortable. It was a “white-shoe” organization; people left every night at 6 p.m. and our clients were big biotechnology companies that really trusted the top management of our firm. After a couple of years went by, I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new, and I confess that I began to feel bored. I thought that if I took a job at a smaller PR firm, I would feel more challenged.
I joined a small PR boutique that had only been in business for five years. This turned out to be a colossal mistake. The top management was terribly unprofessional, plus they didn’t have the contacts with newspapers, TV, and cable stations that we really needed to service our clients properly. I canvassed my own contacts, of course, but I was the only person in the entire firm who had any contacts! Promises were made to clients that couldn’t be kept. It was a fiasco.
After six months, I called up the large, global PR firm and begged for my old job back. Fortunately, they hadn’t replaced me. They slapped by wrist for being disloyal, but they happily rehired me. I’ve been working there ever since, grateful, but bored ... which is why I’m meeting with you today.
Q: How many skis are rented each year?
A: There are 250 million people in the U.S. Let's suppose that the number of skis is 15% of that, or 37,500,000. Of those, let's figure that 21,175,000 of them own skis, leaving the number who rent at 9,325,000. Then let's add the number of tourists who ski, say, 1 million. So the grand total of renters would be 10,325,000.
Now let's assume that the renters who live here take three trips a year, so three times 9,325,000 is 27,975,000 and add that with1 million is 28,975,000.
Q: From your resume, I notice that you interned at a small investment banking boutique. Did you pursue a full-time job offer with them? What happened?
A: Yes, I did very well at my internship, and I had originally assumed that I would come on staff once I graduated from college. However, BB&L drastically cut back the number of new hires they were planning. As fate would have it, they will not be hiring any of the interns they had last summer.
I love working at BB&L, and I brought some references with me today to show you that my job performance there was stellar. Still, in some ways, I consider this new turn of events to be a lucky break for me, believe it or not.
Q: We love women at this company, but our clients are from [xyz country] and so we were thinking of hiring a man for this particular job.
A: Why is that, exactly? It seems to me that I am probably more qualified to handle this position than anyone, man or woman.
My father's career as a diplomat took our family around the world seven times, and I even spent my junior year abroad in the Far East. I would need far less training than an American man who grew up here and has never worked outside our borders.
Q: Why did you take so much time off from work, and why do you wish to get a job now?
A: When I first had the twins, my husband was working 24/7, and I really needed to be there to raise the kids. But during that time, I really missed working.
Fortunately, I kept my hand in the business during those years by consulting for several of my ex-clients.