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301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Best New Job Hunters Guide!

This is the best new job hunters resource to come around in years! Vicky Oliver is smart and funny in the answers she gives you and has every possible situation a job hunter can expect in mind. Every college graduate should be issued this book with their diploma!

posted by Anonymous on November 18, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Get the book for its questions, not its answers (3.5 stars)

Yes, there are 301 answers in Vicky Oliver's book. Actually, there are slightly more than that because a few of the 301 questions have more than one answer. Each of the book's 12 chapters contain an interviewer's questions and an interviewee's answers on issues or c...
Yes, there are 301 answers in Vicky Oliver's book. Actually, there are slightly more than that because a few of the 301 questions have more than one answer. Each of the book's 12 chapters contain an interviewer's questions and an interviewee's answers on issues or challenges that could emerge in a job interview. Two examples: Chapter 2 is 'Give Us One Reason Not to Hire You', and Chapter 5 is 'How to Ace the Personality Test'. Throughout the chapters are supporting graphics and discussion sidebars that are generally very good tips, instructions, etc. As examples, Chapter 1 has a sidebar 'How to Pack for Your Interviews' (i.e., what to take or not take with you to an interview), and Chapter 7 has one called 'Games Interviewers Play'. Each chapter ends with a discussion or summary called 'That's a Wrap'. The best aspect of the book is its list of questions. If a job interviewee studies, and is prepared for as many of these questions as possible, he or she should end up with a job offer. The book's weakest aspect is the hypothetical answers to those 301 questions. The reader will have to take many of Ms. Oliver's proposed answers with a large grain of salt, because so many of the answers just won't apply to most job candidates. Pages 77-78 provide the most glaring example. The hypothetical interviewee is a cum laude graduate who speaks 4 languages fluently and has a parent in the diplomatic corps. Not very many people fit this description, and those who do probably won't need this book. Which is unfortunate, because those people who aren't in such elite company are the ones who could benefit from this book's concept. Ms. Oliver also has a tendency to engage in hyperbole. Some examples: 'super busy', 'extremely diligent', 'absolutely brilliant', 'absolutely phenomenal', 'unbelievably thorough', and 'unbelievably dedicated'. Enthusiasm is one thing, but these descriptions tend to push credibility a little too hard, because they raise the possibility, for example, that an interviewee could be a mere 'somewhat phenomenal', or, even worse, just an ordinary run-of-the-mill 'phenomenal'. Ms. Oliver's use of the term 'dream job' is another form of hyperbole that could get an interviewee into trouble. A dream job is a goal that we should all be working towards. But the harsh reality is that, for most people most of the time, the job they're applying for falls somewhere short of that ideal. So, if they use the term dream job in an interview, they'll need to be able to prove such a statement if they're serious about getting the job. For most of us, the honest statement we can, and should make is that we'd genuinely like to have the job we're applying for. On a few occasions, Ms. Oliver proposes offering to work as a free-lance in a sort of probationary or trial period. In many industries, this isn't a common practice and is probably non-existent in some. But the idea might be worth a try in the right circumstances. (Be sure it's only short-term and that you don't price yourself too low. Assume that, as an independent contractor, fully half of your gross income will go for taxes, expenses, etc.) The book has an odd mistake. On page 326, the sentence says, 'Even interviewing proteges have occasionally flubbed a particularly tough question.' Apparently, the author was trying to say 'interviewing prodigies'. Conclusion: For most readers, the book's questions will be much more useful than its proposed answers to those questions. But that's probably the way it should be, because each reader/interviewee will ultimately have to devise his or her own set of answers, anyway. Buy the book for its questions, not its answers.

posted by Anonymous on January 22, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    Get the book for its questions, not its answers (3.5 stars)

    Yes, there are 301 answers in Vicky Oliver's book. Actually, there are slightly more than that because a few of the 301 questions have more than one answer. Each of the book's 12 chapters contain an interviewer's questions and an interviewee's answers on issues or challenges that could emerge in a job interview. Two examples: Chapter 2 is 'Give Us One Reason Not to Hire You', and Chapter 5 is 'How to Ace the Personality Test'. Throughout the chapters are supporting graphics and discussion sidebars that are generally very good tips, instructions, etc. As examples, Chapter 1 has a sidebar 'How to Pack for Your Interviews' (i.e., what to take or not take with you to an interview), and Chapter 7 has one called 'Games Interviewers Play'. Each chapter ends with a discussion or summary called 'That's a Wrap'. The best aspect of the book is its list of questions. If a job interviewee studies, and is prepared for as many of these questions as possible, he or she should end up with a job offer. The book's weakest aspect is the hypothetical answers to those 301 questions. The reader will have to take many of Ms. Oliver's proposed answers with a large grain of salt, because so many of the answers just won't apply to most job candidates. Pages 77-78 provide the most glaring example. The hypothetical interviewee is a cum laude graduate who speaks 4 languages fluently and has a parent in the diplomatic corps. Not very many people fit this description, and those who do probably won't need this book. Which is unfortunate, because those people who aren't in such elite company are the ones who could benefit from this book's concept. Ms. Oliver also has a tendency to engage in hyperbole. Some examples: 'super busy', 'extremely diligent', 'absolutely brilliant', 'absolutely phenomenal', 'unbelievably thorough', and 'unbelievably dedicated'. Enthusiasm is one thing, but these descriptions tend to push credibility a little too hard, because they raise the possibility, for example, that an interviewee could be a mere 'somewhat phenomenal', or, even worse, just an ordinary run-of-the-mill 'phenomenal'. Ms. Oliver's use of the term 'dream job' is another form of hyperbole that could get an interviewee into trouble. A dream job is a goal that we should all be working towards. But the harsh reality is that, for most people most of the time, the job they're applying for falls somewhere short of that ideal. So, if they use the term dream job in an interview, they'll need to be able to prove such a statement if they're serious about getting the job. For most of us, the honest statement we can, and should make is that we'd genuinely like to have the job we're applying for. On a few occasions, Ms. Oliver proposes offering to work as a free-lance in a sort of probationary or trial period. In many industries, this isn't a common practice and is probably non-existent in some. But the idea might be worth a try in the right circumstances. (Be sure it's only short-term and that you don't price yourself too low. Assume that, as an independent contractor, fully half of your gross income will go for taxes, expenses, etc.) The book has an odd mistake. On page 326, the sentence says, 'Even interviewing proteges have occasionally flubbed a particularly tough question.' Apparently, the author was trying to say 'interviewing prodigies'. Conclusion: For most readers, the book's questions will be much more useful than its proposed answers to those questions. But that's probably the way it should be, because each reader/interviewee will ultimately have to devise his or her own set of answers, anyway. Buy the book for its questions, not its answers.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 14, 2013

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    Posted January 30, 2012

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