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Boost Your Interview IQ 2/E

Boost Your Interview IQ 2/E

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by Carole Martin

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The ultimate guide to acing any interview — revised and updated to give you the edge in today’s competitive job market

Job interviews aren’t discussions; they’re oral exams—and the candidate with all the right answers gets the job. Boost Your Interview IQ, Second Edition, helps you ace that big test with


The ultimate guide to acing any interview — revised and updated to give you the edge in today’s competitive job market

Job interviews aren’t discussions; they’re oral exams—and the candidate with all the right answers gets the job. Boost Your Interview IQ, Second Edition, helps you ace that big test with skill-building exercises, an in-depth “Interview IQ” test, and other resources to let you craft winning answers to the most important questions interviewers ask.

In these pages, you’ll discover ways to present your experiences in a compelling narrative that showcases your skills, knowledge, and personality—and you’ll learn the right way to answer tricky “behavioral” questions like a pro. Plus you’ll get interview strategies custom tailored to the needs of management/executive-level candidates, new graduates, career changers, and people reentering the market.

In today’s tough job market, the best-prepared candidate wins—and in this economy you’re going to need every advantage to set you apart from the pack. Boost Your Interview IQ is the book that delivers the right tools to do the job of GETTING the job.

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By Carole Martin

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2012Carole Martin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-179747-4



IQ The Interview IQ Test Test Your Interview IQ—Questions and Answers

Take the Test and Rate Your Interviewing Ability

If you take the Interview IQ Test, you will have a measure of how you size up when answering some of the most frequently asked interview questions.

Whether you are new to interviewing or have had a lot of interviewing experience, the Interview IQ Test will give you a deeper understanding of what is involved in the questions from the interviewer's perspective. Even if you are "interview savvy," reading through the test will give you an updated perspective on current interviewing practices.

As in any book on interviewing, the answers provided should not be memorized and recited at an interview, resulting in canned-or robotic-sounding answers. You will have far more successful interviews if you answer the questions in a sincere and natural manner, giving the interviewer an opportunity to get to know you and hear how you work best. Use the answers as a guide in writing your own personal stories.

Canned answers are easy for an interviewer to spot because they sound like something anyone could say. For example:

Interviewer's Question. "What are you looking for in your next job?"

Canned Answer. "I want to work for a growth-oriented company where I can utilize my skills and learn and develop new skills."

Not using canned answers does not mean going into the interview and winging it. It means being prepared with your own answers that will make you feel confident and able to present what you have to offer in a succinct manner—with confidence.

IQ Test Instructions

After each Interviewer's Question, there are three possible answers to choose from: [A], [B], and [C]. It is your task to select the answer you think would be most effective in an interview situation. Choose the answer you think is the strongest. As you read through the choices, think the way the interviewer might think. Which answer provides an in-depth look at the candidate's skills and experiences?

When you've completed the test, check the answers that follow and assign yourself the points indicated next to your choice. The next step is to total your points and check your Interview Ability Rating.

Regardless of how you rate, take the test a second time and see if you can boost your Interview IQ score. By reading the examples several times, you will become comfortable with the types of questions you may encounter and get an idea of the strongest answers to those questions. Use the scorecard at the end of Part 1 every time you take the Interview IQ Test.

When you feel satisfied that you have the hang of the technique and that your score is as high as you want it to be, you will be ready to start preparing your own stories. For instructions on creating your own answers, turn to Part 2 to learn the secrets of the trade and get an in-depth look at storytelling that will make it easier for you to write your own focused and concise stories.

The Test: Frequently Asked Interview Questions

The First 50 Questions

The following interview questions have been divided into general questions and behavioral questions. When you read through the questions and answers, you will get a sense of what differentiates a question as behavioral and what techniques are needed to answer this type of question. You will find that there are no right or wrong answers, but you will begin to see how some answers are stronger and more effective than others.

The Next 30 Questions

These questions have been divided into groups—Management and Executives (Part 3), Career Changers and Reentry (Part 4), and Students and New Graduates (Part 5). These questions are a combination of general and behavioral.

General Interview Questions

General questions are the questions most commonly used in interviews. There are no guarantees that these will be the specific questions asked in an interview, but if you are able to answer these basic questions, you will be able to answer most other questions with greater ease. These are "getting to know you" questions. This is where the interviewer gets to know your skills, strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and style. These questions also include information about what motivates you and when you have been satisfied in your work. In other words, they ask, "Who are you?" "What are you looking for?" and "How would you fit in here?"

Turn the page for the general section of the Interview IQ Test.

The Interview IQ Test: General Questions


[1] "Tell me about yourself."

Select the strongest answer

[A] I started my career as an associate accountant for a small firm after graduating from college. I then left that firm and was hired as an accountant for a larger firm, where I spent two years. After reaching a level where there was no further growth in that company, I left to take a job with a start-up company where I was the CFO. Unfortunately, financial issues started to occur in the past two years, and I was laid off.

[B] I am a high-energy person who is dependable and determined. I pride myself on my high work ethic and loyalty. Every performance appraisal I have ever received has commended me for my ability to stay focused under pressure. I am also a "people person" and know how to connect with people at all levels and build relationships. I am currently looking for a place where I will be able to grow and develop while contributing to a company's bottom line.

[C] I have experience working in the marketing and sales field for seven years. My area of expertise is my ability to use technology and social networking to reach desired customers. I was able to increase our customer base by 15 percent in my last job. My strength is my analytical ability combined with my people skills to build strong teams and networks. Anyone who has worked with me would tell you that I have a high work ethic and a great sense of humor that has gotten me through some tough times.


The Strongest Answer

[C] This is the strongest answer because it actually gives an answer to the question. It addresses the question the interviewer is asking—tell me about "you." Although the interviewer wants to know about your background, he or she is attempting to know the person behind the résumé. This answer is a summary of who you are—your background, your expertise, your strength, and your skills.

The Mediocre Answer

[B] The problem with this answer is that it walks the interviewer through the résumé. The question was not "Walk me through your résumé." The question was "Tell me about yourself." These are two different questions. There is another problem with this answer even if the interviewer had asked to be walked through the résumé. The answer starts at the bottom of the résumé and moves up. When you answer the question starting back 3, 5, or even 10 years ago, it drags on; and by the time you have reached the information at the top of the résumé, the interviewer may have lost interest.

The Weakest Answer

[A] This answer is the least effective of the three because it offers very general information focusing primarily on traits rather than skills. Being a "people person" is a great trait, but the interviewer is looking for a combination o

Excerpted from BOOST YOUR INTERVIEW IQ by Carole Martin. Copyright © 2012 by Carole Martin. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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Meet the Author

Carole Martin is a professional interviewing expert, columnist, and the celebrated author of Boost Your Interview IQ and Perfect Phrases for the Perfect Interview. She is a sought-after speaker who has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and numerous national magazines.

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Boost Your Interview IQ 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was extremely helpful to me. It gave me a logical step-by-step layout of how to answer any interview question that I would ever be asked.
jmmbd More than 1 year ago
This book did make me think about possible interview questions and remember to make my answers as positive as possible. It did a good job in preparing me for interviews, but it also made me see that a good interview really takes two. The interviewer has to ask the right questions in order to receive the right answers. In many of the interviews I had, the interviewer didn't ask me the right questions or even questions that provided an opening to give a good answer or highlight a skill. Nevertheless, it helped me learn a few things that enhanced my interviewing skills. I still think there still has to be a connection with the interviewer for everything to work out right.