Here Are The Right & Wrong Answers To The Quiz "Could You Pass This Job Interview"
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The right & wrong answers to this quiz are based on Leadership IQ's groundbreaking research into Hiring for Attitude.
Interview Question #1: Could you tell me about a time you were given an assignment and you lacked the necessary skills or knowledge?
I’m very experienced and so don’t really find myself in that position. If I did, I guess the first thing I would do would be some research about the topic, whatever it was, in order to get a basic understanding of the issue.
WHY IT’S WRONG: High performers actively look to go outside their comfort zone and learn new things. Also, avoiding giving specifics (the question was: Could you tell me about a time…) may signal that you are covering a bad attitude and/or lack any real experience with this important real-life work situation.
Many of the roles I took at my last job were new to the company. I tried a lot of different things. For example, I kept myself up to date with industry news and happenings so I was better prepared for new challenges.
WHY IT’S RIGHT: Potential high Performers share details that make them sound like an attitudinal match for the high performers the organization currently employs. This response would be even better if you gave even more specifics and explained how you applied that new learning to overcome an actual work challenge.
I didn’t get enough training at my last job and it made me fall short of my capabilities, especially when I delivered my first few customer interactions. After a while you catch on, but it seemed pretty unfair.
WHY IT’S WRONG: Even if the organization was stingy in offering training, blame is an attitudinal red flag to most interviewers. High performers are self-directed learners so next time share any ways you looked to improve yourself professionally (online classes, reading books, working with colleagues) even without the organization’s help.
Interview Question #2: Could you tell me about a time you experienced professional growth?
Absolutely. Professional growth is paramount to me. I have a very clear plan for where I want my career to go and I set very specific goals. And as long as I am given ample guidance I fully expect to be able to grow throughout my career.
WHY IT’S WRONG: Qualifier alert! Low performers who are trying to dodge admitting they have no real experience with a work situation, or who want to hide something (like a bad attitude), often use absolutes and adverbs (instead of specifics) as filler and distraction. Drop these excess words and instead share the specifics about a time you actually experienced professional growth that highlights your high-performer capabilities as a self-directed learner.
I once managed a high-needs client. I regularly tweaked how I communicated so they knew I was building our mutual success. The regular adjustments meant I inevitably slipped up from time-to-time, but I learned from my mistakes.
WHY IT’S RIGHT: Everyone makes mistakes and good for you for admitting yours and for so clearly explaining how you used the experience to grow and develop yourself professionally. This would be even better if you brought in specifics about how you turned some of those client conversations around.
I experience professional growth every day. There are just so many examples. I am always highly invested in learning new things and in growing. It’s a priority for me, really.
WHY IT’S WRONG: It’s great you are so invested in learning new things, but your interviewer really wants to hear the specifics about a particular instance or two where you really did experience professional growth. Give it another shot and focus on the details.
Interview Question #3: Could you tell me about a time you worked as part of a team?
I helped build our professional services with a team of peers. We wholeheartedly provided our thoughts and ideas and shared our professional experience. I clearly remember us process mapping with a big whiteboard, in free-flowing, brainstorming way.
WHY IT’S RIGHT: Great recall of an actual time you worked as part of a team. This would be even better if you showed what you looked like as a team member in action by sharing some details of a challenge the team faced and what your role looked like within that team.
I imagine my best team experience would be one where we could walk through a project schedule, get on the same page, talk through issues and roadblocks, and set a plan of action. That would be an incredible experience.
WHY IT’S WRONG: Sounds great, but did it really happen? Your interviewer is looking for high performer specifics of a time you really did work as part of a team, not your hypothetical vision of what a great team experience would be like.
The new product launch would be one of the best examples of teamwork that I saw at my last job. They established good camaraderie, learned from each other, and discussed how to continue to be successful working with other departments in the company.
WHY IT’S WRONG: Great answer, but if only you had been part of that team! Instead, share a team experience of your own. Or, if you really don’t have one, admit it and express your openness about learning and how you observed the great teams at your last job and learned from that.
Interview Question #4: Could you tell me about a time you got tough feedback from a supervisor or boss?
I received feedback that I had been a little short with a client. The feedback was handled very professionally. I understood exactly what, when and why it happened. It hurt to hear, I gladly accepted it and made sure it never happened again.
WHY IT’S RIGHT: Great response. We all need feedback to grow and develop, and while it can sting a bit, when we’re open to hearing tough feedback, and responding positively to it, it shows we have the right high performer attitude most organizations want.
I was told several times that my contributions to the team were positively recognized and appreciated. I was very happy for this information as I wasn't really feeling like I was contributing as much as I could have.
WHY IT’S WRONG: The interviewer is looking for an example of a time you got tough feedback, not an example of positive reinforcement. Plus, admitting that you waited for feedback to find out if you were contributing as much as you could doesn’t position you in the self- directed learning ranks of the high performers most organizations want.
The best example was the time I was reprimanded for a goal that had not been met for the quarter due to another individual being a road block for me getting the task done. I was pretty angry as I had told my manager about the problem several times.
WHY IT’S WRONG: Your honesty is on target, but ditch the anger and blame and instead share the specifics on how you tried to overcome the challenges of that goal to show that you are a problem solver and not a problem bringer.
This article written by Mark Murphy, Founder of Leadership IQ
Mark Murphy is a New York Times bestselling author, contributor to Forbes & CNBC, ranked as a Top 30 Leadership Guru, and the Founder of Leadership IQ.
Mark Murphy has created some of the biggest ideas in leadership and his work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Time, CNN, The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes and hundreds more.
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