Basic HR/Behavioral Type Questions

With no internet, and no discussions with anyone how many McDonald's are there across the world?

This question and questions like it are meant to simply test your ability to think through a  problem and come up with a solution.

Answer:  While there isn't a right way or a wrong answer with a question like this, the best approach is to relax, breath and think of ways you would go about figuring the out how many McDonald's there are in the world.

Suggestion: Think of concentric circles start small and get progressively wider.

How many McDonalds are in your neighborhood (inner most circle)
Next in your city
Next in a few other cities that border each other
Next in your state
Next in your country
Next in a few countries

Remember the interviewer is not asking for a "real" answer, he or she simply wants to test your ability to think through a  problem and come up with a solution.

Tell me about yourself

If you are asked "Tell me about yourself" your only response should be "Where would you like me to begin?"  Reason:  Maybe they want to know about you as a person, maybe they want to get to the nuts and bolts of your professional experience - this response gives you the direction to take. The best way to approach this is to only discuss what your interests are relating to the job and why your background makes you a great candidate.


What are your strengths and weaknesses

Never talk about a real weakness unless it’s something you’ve defeated. “Many hiring managers are hip to the overused responses, such as, ‘Well, my biggest weakness is that I work too hard so I need try to take it easy once in a while.’ The best answer is to discuss a weakness that you’ve turned around, such as, you used to come in late to work a lot but after your supervisor explained why it was necessary for you to come in on time, you were never late again.”


Where do you see yourself in 5 years

What employers are really asking is, ‘Is this job even close to your presumed career path? Are you just applying to this job because you need something? Are your long-term career plans similar to what we see for this role? How realistic are your expectations for your career? Have you even thought about your career long-term? Are you going to quit after a year or two?’” Show them that you’ve done some self-assessment and career planning. Let them know that you hope to develop professionally and take on additional responsibilities at that particular company. “Don’t say something ridiculous like, ‘I don’t know,’ or “I want your job,” she says


Why should I hire you?

A hiring manager may not ask you this question directly but every question you answer in the interview should contribute to helping them understand why you’re the best person for the job. “Stay focused on why your background makes you an ideal candidate and tell them how you are going to contribute to that department and that company,” Teach says. “Let the interviewer know that one of your goals is to make their job easier by taking on as much responsibility as possible and that you will be excited about this job starting on day one.”

Salpeter suggests you print and highlight the job description, looking for the top three or four most important details. “Do they include terms such as, ‘cross-functional team,’ ‘team work,’ and ‘team player’ several times?” If so, your answer to, “Why should we hire you?” (asked directly or as an underlying question) should mention and focus on your abilities as they relate to teams.


Take Notes when the job/position is being described to you.  Reason:  when the interviewer has finished you can respond point-by-point.  "That's great because as you can see from my resume I have..."  You are letting them know you have exactly what they are looking for.  You might want to think about some projects that you've used the technologies they're looking for (SQL 2000/2005/2008 DBA experience, production experience, application support experience, VBscripting experience, security, clustering, mirroring, replication, high availability, etc.) and be prepared to give examples of how you used each technology.


Yes and/or No questions

When/if you are asked if you have a particular skill set make sure to elaborate.  FOR EXAMPLE: "Do you have SCOM experience?  "Yes, and since I've used it extensively for more than 4 years I feel it is one of my strongest skills"  "Do you have experience with SQL Profiler?" No, but I've used tools that are similar such as..." or "No, but .Net has been used on my projects."



Think of two professional achievements and two challenges that you've had and be prepared to talk about them - how you were able to achieve them and overcome the challenges.  If you can, think of projects you've had that have used the same technologies the client company uses.  Caution:  Be well-rounded not one-sided.  Think of examples where you worked independently AND within a team.  You don't want to portray that you work best independently or that you can't work independently.  Same with teamwork.


Questions - Have some prepared!!  Here are some suggestions.


1.  Based upon what you know of me so far, how do you see me fitting in?  Again, the interviewer will be visualizing you in the chair and at the desk.

2.  What are the goals of the team/department?  When you get the answer be prepared to answer (for example), "Great!  I believe my experience/background will be valuable in helping you achieve those goals." or, "Great! You will find that I'm the kind of person that will do what it takes and is valuable in reaching goals on time!"