Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job

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Overview

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just walk into an employer's office, sit down, relax, answer questions honestly—in short, "just be yourself"—and instantly get the job? Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work like that. With people switching careers more and more often and the competition fierce for every position that becomes available, you've got to be primed for any question an interviewer may throw at you.

Packed with more than 450 sample questions, Acing the Interview ...

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Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job

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Overview

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just walk into an employer's office, sit down, relax, answer questions honestly—in short, "just be yourself"—and instantly get the job? Unfortunately, the real world doesn't work like that. With people switching careers more and more often and the competition fierce for every position that becomes available, you've got to be primed for any question an interviewer may throw at you.

Packed with more than 450 sample questions, Acing the Interview gives you candid advice on answering even the trickiest and most unexpected interview questions. Written by the employment expert Dr. Phil called “the best of the best," this unique and powerful book helps you take charge of any interview situation. Having heard just about every conceivable interview question and answer since joining the placement and recruitment field in 1973, Tony Beshara knows firsthand what responses will get you hired. In this book, he arms you with the surefire answers that will keep you from getting weeded out from the large pool of eager applicants.

Acing the Interview helps prepare you for difficult—and sometimes even deceptively simple— questions, including:

You really don’t have as much experience as we would like—why should we hire you?
• How many hours in your previous jobs did you have to work each week to get everything done?
• What do you consider most valuable—a high salary, job recognition, or advancement?

In addition, the book also arms you with many questions to ask prospective employers that could prevent you making a big job mistake, such as:

What would you say are the worst parts of this job?
• What are the major problems facing the company and this department?
• Why aren't you promoting from within?

Acing the Interview takes you through the entire process, from the initial interview to evaluating a job offer, and even into salary negotiation. It's a must-have guide that will enable you to get the job of your dreams.

Tony Beshara has been in the placement and recruitment profession since 1973 and is the owner of Babich and Associates, the oldest placement and recruitment firm in the Southwest. He has appeared numerous times on the nationally syndicated Dr. Phil Show. He is the author of The Job Search Solution. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The excellent book... includes a wealth of suggestions on how to walk out of an interview with a best offer." -Joyce Lain Kennedy, syndicated career columnist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814401613
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 1/23/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 332,718
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Beshara (Dallas, TX) is a 30-year veteran of the placement and recruitment field, and owner of Babich and Associates, a job placement firm. He has appeared numerous times on the nationally syndicated Dr. Phil Show. He is the author of The Job Search Solution (978-0-8144-7332-0).

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

What Today’s Job Seekers Need to Know About Themselves and Their Competition

This book is about how to answer and ask questions in the interviewing process so that you, the candidate, can get the best job possible. In order to answer questions correctly so that you can get a job offer, as well as ask questions so that you can evaluate a job offer, you need to be aware of your condition, so to speak, as a job candidate.

The emphasis of this book is not just to know how to answer and ask questions skillfully, but to put into context those answers and questions so that you can not only get a job offer, but choose the right one. Over the last few years, the context—that is, the market, the rules, the situation, etc.—of being a job applicant has drastically changed. The job search market is always erratic and highly volatile, and the past few years have been no exception.

There is a phenomenal amount of paradox in the context of being a job candidate today. On one hand, the U.S. economy has been adding over 110,000 new jobs every month for about the past two years. Unemployment has held at about 4.5% of the working population—close to a six-year low and a far cry from 6% to 6.3% in the early 2000s. But, even though the economy, on paper, is expanding, there is a phenomenal amount of erraticism with businesses in the United States.

We will discuss the context of the average U.S. company (if there is such a thing as “average” in today’s markeplace) and the hiring authorities in those firms in the next chapter. In this chapter, I’m going to describe the context of today’s job seeker. If you understand this context, answering and asking questions in the interviewing process is going to be a lot easier. You will understand better how to get the best possible job.

Gone are the days of looking for a job and at the same time seeking a “career path” within that same firm. If, as a job candidate today, you ask a hiring authority what the career path with the company will be, you will either get a big lie or, if the hiring authority is honest, you’ll get a blank stare, a pregnant pause, and a truthful answer of, “I really don’t know.”

Keep in mind that my perspective comes from personally working with thousands of hiring managers since 1973. I am personally on the front lines of dealing with hiring on a daily basis and have been since I began in this profession. Our firm deals with hundreds of companies on a monthly basis and thousands on a yearly basis.

This book is going to relate to you the context of real, in the trenches, frontline U.S. businesses and hiring in this country. Keep in mind that the vast majority of businesses in the United States employ fewer than 100 people. I will get into it further in the next chapter, but suffice it to say, most businesses do not, contrary to popular belief, operate with common sense and distinct business acumen. The sad truth is that many businesses in this country lack common sense and can be greedy and ignorant (often reflecting the people who run them). In spite of these negative factors, the U.S. business climate is still the most successful in the world and it will continue to be.

As a candidate, however, when you go to answer or ask questions in the interviewing process, you need to be aware that the vast majority of U.S. businesses and U.S. business people do not operate with pristine theory or foolproof business acumen. Complaining about it won’t do any good. You just have to deal with it.

Putting Yourself in Context

In order to perform well in the questioning of the interviewing process, you need to recognize a little bit about yourself and your peers looking for a job in today’s market. If you understand your own context, as well as the context of the people you are interviewing with, successful interviewing will be easy.

As mentioned above, the idea of going to work for an organization and building a career path for any reasonable length of time simply isn’t realistic. This is the reality of the context of today’s job candidate.

Highlights from a recent study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor showed that:
• Persons born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 10.2 jobs from the ages of 18 to 38. These baby boomers held an average of 4.4 jobs while ages 18 to 22. The average fell to 3.3 jobs while ages 23 to 27, 2.6 jobs while ages 28 to 32, and 2.5 jobs from ages 33 to 38.

• These baby boomers continue to have large numbers of short duration jobs even as they approach middle age. Among jobs started by workers when they were ages 33 to 38, 39% ended the job in less than a year and 70% ended in fewer than five years.

• The average person was employed 76% of the weeks from age 18 to 38. Generally, men spent a larger percent of weeks employed than did women (84% vs. 69%). Women spent much more time out of the labor force (26% of weeks) than did men (11% of weeks).

• This group also experienced an average of 4.8 spells of unemployment.Business Briefings recently reported that a 40-year-old average U.S. worker has changed jobs ten times.

The average 40-year-old worker in the United States changes jobs every two years. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics has never attempted to estimate the number of times people change careers in the course of their working lives, my sense is that the older we get, the more stable we become in our jobs. In fact, a Department of Labor statistic bears this out. The DOL showed that the median tenure of workers aged 55 to 64 was 9.6 years—more than three times that of the younger workers. The worker at age 55 to 64, however, as we will analyze, sees the world differently then the 28- or 29-year-old worker. My sense is that the stability factor of these older workers isn’t as much a reflection of today’s business as it is a reflection of the values that were established when they first entered the work force thirty-five or forty-five years ago.

One challenge to compiling labor statistics is that there is no consensus as to what, exactly, constitutes a career change. For instance, if a person is promoted in an organization from a sales position to a sales manager’s position or from an accounting position to an accounting manager’s position, has his or her career changed from sales and accounting to a career of management? It would depend on how you define it as a career change. If a web designer was laid off and then took a job as a production supervisor for six months, then went back into web design, has he or she changed careers? There is no way of having a consistent definition of what “changing careers” means.

As a friend of mine, Paul Hawkinson, who is the editor of The Fordyce Letter (February 2007, p. 6), the foremost U.S. publication for the recruiting industry, writes that:

It seems that we’re becoming a nation of “itinerant fruit pickers” where almost all jobs are impermanent. When CEOs are playing “musical chairs” with increasing frequency and most other senior executive level jobs are just transitory in nature, it’s no wonder that America’s work force has adopted a similar mindset. Especially since employers are no longer keeping “retirement watches” in their inventory because so few of their employees are kept on board long enough to get them. Loyalty is a two-way street and that street is full of potholes these days.

Let’s face it; life on this earth is temporary, anyhow!

With this in mind, your approach to the interviewing process is going to be different. Your “career” will likely be a string of two-and-a-half- to three-year stints for at least the first 75% of your working life.

The Uncertain Attitude of the U.S. Worker

Although the economy is expanding and unemployment is lower than it’s been since the late 1990s, the perceptions of risk and insecurity on the part of the U.S. worker do not match this reality. Although people think the economy is better, they aren’t sure if they are actually better off as individuals. The average U.S. worker feels insecure about both job and future employment.

As stated above, the United States added an average of about 175,000 new jobs every month in 2006, and more than 110,000 every month in 2007, and we’ve gone from 6.3% unemployment in 2003 to between 4.7% and 4.5% today. The average income in the United States was up 6.5% in 2006 over 2005. Salaries were up 6.9% in 2006 over 2005. U.S. households’ net worth recently hit $52 trillion, which is a record high, and corporate profits also are up. As a country and as individuals, we should be encouraged if not elated.

But in spite of all of the positive signs, we as individuals are pessimistic, uncertain, and, to say the least, vulnerable. Countless corporate restructurings and layoffs have destroyed the concept of career-long employment that for too long sustained the U.S. workers’ confidence.

Lifelong employment is a thing of the past. Louis Uchitelle, who wrote The Disposable American (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), notes that, between 1981 and 2003, some 30 million U.S. workers were displaced due to layoffs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A modern form of contracting the workforce began with “layoffs.”

Quite a number of surveys confirm that the percentage of individuals “somewhat likely” or “likely” to be laid off or fired has steadily risen over the past decade. Layoffs are not going to go away, but they don’t have to be as numerous as they have been since the late 1990s. Uchitelle asks, “Are we going to once again be a community of people who feel obligated to take care of one another, or are we going to continue as a collection of individuals each increasingly concerned only with his or her well being? If we can band together again, as we did during the 40-year stretch that started in the Depression and ended with the Vietnam War, job security will gradually return to the United States,” according to Uchitelle. His hope couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even on the CEO level, stability is treacherous. In 2006, a U.S. company CEO departed either voluntarily or by force every six hours, double the number of CEOs who left their jobs in 2004.

Political commentator Ruy Teixeira* observed that the United States is a “nation of unhappy campers.” He cited a Hart Research Associates/AFL-CIO poll that found 54% of Americans are “worried and concerned about reaching their economic goals.” The majority of these people felt that their real wages were declining, felt that their earnings were not keeping up with prices, and worried “very or somewhat often” about the cost of living rising faster than their income. In spite of the reality of things like low unemployment and high household net worth, over 75% of Americans are both dissatisfied with the country’s economic situation and worried about achieving their economic and financial goals. The concrete facts don’t support our fearful attitude.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue vii

PART I Today’s Hiring Authority and You 1

Chapter 1 What Today’s Job Seekers Need to Know About Themselves and Their Competition 3

Chapter 2 What Today’s Job Seekers Need to Know About Today’s Hiring Authorities and Their Companies 15

Chapter 3 How and with Whom to Get an Interview 27

Chapter 4 Important Reminders About Interviews 55

Chapter 5 Acing the Initial Interview 67

Chapter 6 Supporters: Great Assets or Your Worst Nightmare 85

PART II The Four Types of Qualifying Questions 95

Chapter 7 Can You Do the Job? 97

Chapter 8 Do I/We Like You? 123

Chapter 9 Are You a Risk? 139

Chapter 10 Can We Work the Money Out? 169

Chapter 11 Illegal Questions 177

PART III Asking Your Own Questions of Yourself, Your Recruiter, and Your Potential Employer 181

Chapter 12 Questions to Ask Yourself Even Before the Interviewing Process 183

Chapter 13 Questions to Ask Before the Initial Interview 193

Chapter 14 Questions to Ask in the Initial Interview 197

Chapter 15 Questions to Ask Yourself After Each Interview 211

Chapter 16 Questions to Ask in Interviews Beyond the Initial Interview 215

Chapter 17 Questions You Can Ask at the Time of an Offer 227

Chapter 18 Questions You Must Ask Yourself When You Get an Offer 249

Chapter 19 Reference Checking Your Next Employer 255

Epilogue 259

Appendix Some Important Lists for Job Hunters 261

Index 271

About the Author 279

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Whatever you do, DO NOT get the audio book version. It is read b

    Whatever you do, DO NOT get the audio book version. It is read by the author who seems WAY too focused on reading from the book. The pauses and intonation is horribly distracting. I feel a great let down that he couldn't bear to hire a voice-actor. 

    That being said, he actually does have some good advice, so I'm getting the Nook version to avoid having to listen to the audio book again.
    I'm donating the audio book to the library, hoping that someone else could get some benefit from it. Horribly, horribly painful...
    No, I cannot get over audio book, but I'm still giving the book 3 stars because I appreciated the advice in the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Good source for interview prep with large corporate firms

    This book can't provide all the answers for you but the questions are right on. Many of the questions I was asked in an interview with a Dallas firm in January 2010 could have been taken directly from this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Definitely prepares you to take on and nail the interview.

    Well organized material. Excellent source for getting the interview and preparing for interview questions that you may be asked. Also, one of the few good sources around for questions that you should ask a potential employer as well as when is the appropriate time to ask the question. As all good career coaches will tell you, if you don't have questions for the interviewer during the interview, you will not be seriously considered for the position.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Handy guide to handling job interviews

    You got fired. How do you handle that during a job interview? Or you only spent a year at each of your last two jobs. How do you convince a prospective employer that you will last? You work for a firm with a great reputation, but you're not happy. What do you say when an interviewer asks why you want to leave such a respected outfit? Job placement and recruitment expert Tony Beshara provides the best answers to these and other job interview questions. Plus, he explains the questions you should ask before you accept a job offer. TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw calls Beshara "the number one career placement guy" in the U.S. If you're job hunting, he's the right source for valuable job interview insights and information. Here, he lists more than 450 typical job interview questions and suggested answers. getAbstract recommends his savvy, comprehensive and helpful book. Job seekers and interviewers alike will appreciate it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Very helpful

    The book reenforced what I already new. However, it was written in 2007 and an update would be helpful

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