Interview 29: Who Was Your Best/Worst Boss?

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

This question can easily trip you up in an interview, as it can be a tough thing to answer on the fly. Managers will ask this question to see how you respond to authority, and if you can criticize someone fairly. This question should be answered keeping in mind that supervisors may ask this question to determine how you might speak about them to other people.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Who was your best boss?
  • Who was your worst boss?
  • Write down three reasons for each of these qualifications

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Points to Emphasize

As you put together your answer, remember these points to help you get organized.

  • Discuss the manager’s approach or performance in ways that highlight how they shaped yours.
  • Remember to focus on objectively or measurably positive aspects of their leadership.
  • Put them in context within their organization, so that your discussion also highlights their contribution to the overall culture.

The hiring manager is looking for you in this, so connect your favorite manager to your skills in multiple ways.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • How has a good boss made a good impact on your? Did you learn any valuable skills or lessons from them?
  • If you did learn something from a good boss, how might you translate these skills into this potential job?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

These missteps can be distracting, and they can pull focus from the important parts of your answer.

  • Don’t make it personal. Sometimes you get to be friends with your supervisor, but that’s not a great reason to hold them out as a role model.
  • Avoid discussing perks or preferences, unless you’re highlighting the way they use incentives and rewards for everyone.
  • Remember that maverick techniques have their place, but that you need to show how they balance those techniques. Lauding someone for ignoring the rules won’t go over well.

Avoid anecdotes if at all possible, it will make the answer go long and it misses the big-picture nature of the question.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Think about the organization that your least favourite boss worked within. What factors may have contributed to their behaviour? Does it make you empathize more with them?
  • Decide on one or two qualities from each bad and good boss that would sound professional and fair
  • Supervisors generally like to hear that you will work well within a hierarchy. How does this factor in to your answer?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

Here is one way to reply that emphasizes just the right parts.

“My favorite manager was the owner of the grocery store where I had my first job. He used his role in the community to provide work to people who didn’t get a lot of chances elsewhere, and he focused on skill-building. It wasn’t just for kids working in the stockroom, either. A number of women who went back to work after their kids went to school started with us and went on to manage their own retail spaces after a couple of years with Andy. He had a way of getting everyone to look at the big picture, even if your main job was taking out the trash.”

Look for the answer that shows who you are as a leader, and you’ll be on the right track.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.

Interview 28: How Do you Evaluate Success?

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

Think deeper about what the interview question you are asked really means. There is usually some hidden meaning that they are trying to get to. If you are able to understand this hidden meaning, your answer can focus on it specifically, which strengthens your answer.

The question, “How do you determine or evaluate success?” has some hidden meaning. You should not focus so much on your definition of success, but rather how this definition shapes your work ethic. The interviewer is interested in what qualities will allow you to succeed. They want to be confident that you are self-motivated and dedicated to your work.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • What do you think ‘evaluating success means’?
  • Think of three ways that you evaluate your own success.
  • Think of three ways that you evaluate the success of others. Do these lists differ from each other? In which way?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Points to Emphasize

Figure out which qualities they are trying to find in you and focus on them. These may vary with the specific job, but they should be, more or less, consistent.

  • Even though you are focusing on your attributes, remember to answer the question. Start by defining success.
  • You should probably include going above expectations in your answer. This is the most common goal for this question. Do you consider yourself successful when you meet the minimum expectations, or when you do the job right?
  • If you are interviewing for a management position, their expectations for your answer may be different. Instead, you might focus on what your expectations for employees under you are.

Be confident, without being prideful.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Consider the job that you are applying for. What kinds of ‘success’ might you encounter in this job? (ex. successfully completing a task, or successfully problem solving)
  • How have you demonstrated success in these areas?
  • How would apply this to the potential job?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

If you follow the above points to emphasize, and avoid the following pitfalls, your answer should be very strong.

  • Do not spend the entire answer determining success. Even though that is what they literally asked you, you should move on to explaining your positive qualities.
  • Do not lose your focus. Success is a vague idea, but you should choose one or two attributes that are relevant. Including too many weakens the strength of all of them.
  • You should avoid talking about how you are completely successful. No matter how capable you are, being able to improve will be appealing to employers.

A genuine and sincere undertone will be very effective. Do not exaggerate or stretch the truth.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • What are those one or two ways in which you determine success?
  • How do you think they best determine success?
  • Bring the focus back to you if possible; how do you think that you have lived up to your own expectations of success?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

The context of the question you are asked may require other specifics that are not covered here. Be sure to adjust your answer to the job you are applying for. Generally, however, your answer might look something like this:

“I determine success as getting the job done properly. Even if the expectations are lower, I will not consider myself successful unless I met all of my own personal requirements. Of course, I’m always trying to push my personal requirements higher and higher. I welcome opportunities to improve.”

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.

Interview 27: Describe Your Supervisor’s Management Style

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

When an interviewer asks you about your last or current supervisor’s management style, they’re trying to get a sense of how you fit within the chain of command. For example, by responding that your supervisor is a micromanager and a stickler, it could appear that you don’t enjoy being monitored or having your work scrutinized.

Recognizing that your supervisor is fair, proactive, or detail-oriented not only shows a team-oriented mindset, it shows that you’re a good observer. Those who can follow the examples of managers and supervisors are often the best candidates for those positions in the future.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • What traits do you especially value in a boss?
  • How have bosses impacted the way you operate in an office?
  • Think about good supervisors that you have had in the past. What has made them effective leaders?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Points to Emphasize

Although it’s necessary to keep the tone positive, painting a complete, honest picture is acceptable. Being an astute observer means seeing both the good and the bad.

  • Recall specifics when applicable, but focus on the bigger picture of your supervisor’s habits.
  • Start and end with positive notes, just as you would if delivering criticism directly to the individual.
  • Strive for balance. It’s okay to mention that your detail-oriented supervisor sometimes loses track of the big picture.
  • Talk about how you’ve been positively influenced by supervisors in the workplace.

Unless you’re at the top of the food chain, it’s always your job to support your higher-ups. Keep the conversation upbeat for best results.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write down five things that your current boss does well
  • Write down five areas were you feel your boss could improve
  • Compare both lists and try to highlight thing that would impress an employer

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Undercutting a supervisor isn’t an effective way to elevate your own knowledge or talent. Make sure you keep perspective and stay professional:

  • Never talk down about a supervisor, current or past. Employers might assume it’s a natural behavior.
  • Don’t lead in or end with negative statements. Start and finish on good notes.
  • Have something to say. Lack of awareness of one’s supervisor gives the impression that it’s not a job you’re interested in securing one day.
  • Don’t be influenced by emotion. When discussing someone you don’t see eye-to-eye with personally, focus on professional qualities.

Mature individuals are aware of how to offer criticism without making personal attacks. Make sure you come across as such in your interview.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Try to remember an instance where a boss did something that really impressed you in a professional setting.
  • Bring the focus back to you: Did this boss make the workplace better? Did it change the way you worked?
  • Make sure to keep emotions out of your response. Review your answer with a tutor to make sure you aren’t allowing bias in your answer.

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

It’s a good idea to reflect on a range of interactions to get an accurate overall picture when answering this question. An example response:

“My last supervisor was a major influence on me professionally. He made effort to check-in with the team frequently without being overbearing. He also had a big personality, but he knew when to keep things light and when to stay serious. Above all, I think he was great about seeing the big picture without losing sight of the details.”

Stay focused on the supervisor’s consistent behaviors; try to avoid anecdotes or responses which illustrate supervisors in a chummy kind of light.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.

Interview 26: What Makes You Uncomfortable

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

When in an interview, it is important that you know what is actually being asked. Many questions have hidden meaning, but if you are able to recognize what they are getting at, your answer will be even more impressive.

Being asked what makes you uncomfortable is one of the most difficult questions to deal with. You walk a thin line between not answering the question and hurting your chances of being hired. The interviewer wants to know what could potentially affect your performance. This means it is okay to admit that certain things make you uncomfortable, while emphasizing how you are able to function despite discomfort.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Review the job description and think about which tasks will make you feel most comfortable.
  • Which tasks will make you feel the most uncomfortable?
  • Are there any discomforts you have that may cast you as unfit for the job? (ex. if the position requires leading others, it may not be a good idea to highlight your fear of public speaking)

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Points to Emphasize

It is difficult to tackle this question, but if you choose your words carefully, you can appear as a very calm and reasonable person.

  • Be honest. Denying that anything makes you uncomfortable only makes it seem like you are dodging the question.
  • Be sensitive. It is okay to admit that certain things make you uncomfortable, but you should portray yourself as open-minded and considerate of others’ situations.
  • Be confident. After answering the question, confirm that being uncomfortable never interferes with your work.
  • Be reasonable. There are reasonable things to be uncomfortable about, and there are unreasonable things to be uncomfortable about.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Think about a time when you have felt uncomfortable in the past.
  • How were you able to overcome this feeling? Write down three concrete steps you took to do this.
  • Try to turn the conversation around into how something you are made uncomfortable by is actually an asset.

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

There are many pitfalls you can fall into, especially for this question. The aspects you should avoid are more important than the points you should emphasize.

  • Do not get upset. If a story or example clearly affects you emotionally, the interviewer will question whether you are able to work with discomforts.
  • Avoid complete denial. It is best to admit that something makes you uncomfortable, even if it is a minor annoyance.
  • Do not go on too long. The interviewer will be concerned if the list of uncomfortable things is too long.
  • Do not be too serious. Having a good humor about what makes you uncomfortable instills confidence that you will perform well in the workplace.

Always try to remain positive and collected. Remember, they are not looking for someone completely unaffected by their surroundings. They want someone that has a healthy relationship with their situation.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • What is one way you could answer this question in a humorous way?
  • Write down three techniques you use to avoid becoming uncomfortable. How will these techniques improve the workplace?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

A reasonable response to the question will be similar to this:

“At my previous job, several employees seemed like they worked different amounts. It was a little uncomfortable to see one person work weekends, while another coworker was leaving early most days. It never interfered with my work, but it was slightly concerning. A manager finally addressed it, so it did not have any long-term consequences.”

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.

Interview 25: What Do You Like to Do Outside of Work?

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

“What are your hobbies?” is an interview question that can provide insight into how you’ll fit in with other members of the team; it can also provide insight into your personal priorities. Another purpose of this question, however, may be to gauge how you would react to the unexpected.

Interviewers often ask questions which seem out of left-field (questions like “what are your hobbies?”) in order to evaluate your ability to think on your feet when a conversation takes an unexpected turn. The answer you provide, and the manner in which you provide it, will typically provide a peek into your personality and how you handle stress.

As with a more typical interview question (and resume and cover letter writing, too), candor and confidence are your tickets to success when answering “What are your hobbies?”

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • What is the interviewer trying to find out with this question?
  • How could details about your hobbies reveal insight into how you would work as an employee?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

The Best Approach

  • Take it in stride—treat this like any other question that you might expect to hear in an interview.
  • Be comfortable. You’re just talking about the things you enjoy doing, so speak along the lines of casual conversation.
  • Mentioning hobbies that relate to your work can be helpful (for example, tell them about your love of golf and baseball if you’re applying to work in a sporting goods store).
  • Keep it professional. Stay focused on the types of hobbies which would be appropriate to talk about if you were an actual employee.
  • Be consistent with what you are sharing/listing on social media, because there’s a good chance your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts have been reviewed by the interviewers.
  • Understand that the hobby you mention as a job candidate will be remembered when you are an employee. In fact, it could be mentioned in a company-wide email that introduces you, so be prepared to discuss it later.
  • Have a little fun and show a bit of personality with questions like these—it’s a great way to put your confidence on display.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Think about your hobbies; what are three things that you like to do in your spare time.
  • Think about the qualities you are trying to convey in this interview. Do you want to appear committed, ambitious, a team-player?
  • Match each hobby to one of the professional qualities that you are trying to convey. How does each hobby reflect the chosen quality?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Preparation

A hobby is something you enjoy doing in your leisure time. If a hobby doesn’t immediately spring to mind when you’re fielding this question, take some time to consider things you do in your spare time that could qualify as a hobby. Answer the question in a manner similar to this one: “What do you do in your spare time?” And here’s some additional info on what constitutes a hobby:

  • Something that relaxes you, or brings you pleasure.
  • Something you do for fun on a frequent basis.
  • Something you would do more often if you had more time for it!
  • Watching TV and searching the Internet are not hobbies, unless, for example:
    • You watch cooking shows and scour the Internet for recipes in order to up your chef game—this could translate to cooking being your hobby.
    • You watch Antiques Road Show, check out consignment stores for unique knick-knacks and artwork, and buy and sell vintage goods on eBay. This could translate to antiquing or thrifting being your hobby.
  • Volunteering, taking classes, and simply reading books are often unrecognized hobbies. Keep that in mind!

Don’t worry if you can’t directly connect your hobbies to the job or industry. Your hobbies can demonstrate other skills or strengths that an interviewer might find interesting or unique or even humorous.

But do try to connect your hobbies to the job or industry, if possible—doing so sends a strong indication of the depth of your interest in the field.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Do your chosen hobbies reflect a wide array of interests? Try to have one hobby from different areas (i.e. a volunteer position, an indoor activity, an outdoor activity). This can help you appear more well-rounded.
  • Why is it important to portray yourself as having a variety of interests?
  • What are 3 ways that your hobbies provide a reflection of your professional goals?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Make sure your filter is in place when discussing your personal life. Be forthright but keep yourself in check.

  • Telling an interviewer you have no hobbies can make you appear reluctant to talk about yourself. Talk family, pets, community, leisure activities, club and association memberships, etc. Definitely don’t decline to answer the question!
  • Avoid discussing hobbies that might paint you in a negative or irresponsible light, like gambling.
  • Don’t trap yourself by trying to relate your answer solely to work—be honest and share a bit about yourself.
  • Don’t appear frazzled or confused by the question. Expected the unexpected in any job interview. While this question is not an everyday one, it’s also rather light. Relax and have some fun when answering!
  • Don’t create a non-existent hobby. If you land the job, your hobbies (or lack of) may become visible, and no one likes a liar.

Avoid sharing too much information. This is not a question that requires a 10-minute answer. If follow-up questions are asked, answer them, but try not to go on and on forever. You don’t need to provide a full biography—just enough to show your interviewer that you’re a real person with real interests, and that you’re at ease when it comes to thinking on your feet.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write a sample answer of your list of hobbies. Review it with a Cambly tutor if necessary.
  • Write how these hobbies make you stand out from others.
  • What are the obstacles you think may arise when answering this question? Write the steps you will take to prevent this mistake from occurring.

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

The following answers to the question “what are your hobbies?” come from completely different directions and provide you with an idea of how to structure your answer to this question. But each answer reflects an actual hobby.

Going to the beach or the park with your family can qualify as a hobby, as this example displays an acceptable approach:

“Work and family accounts for a lot of my time, but on the weekends, we like to get out and enjoy nature. We take the kids camping at least four times a year and try to get out to the beach or the park every weekend. It’s a good way us to refresh and reset before tackling the work week, and a great way to get exercise.”

This response maintains a focus on work and family while providing an honest and thorough answer to the actual question.

Perhaps reading is your hobby. Then, you might explain it like this:

“I love reading mystery novels. I got hooked on the genre through Miss Marple and Sherlock on PBS, but almost fully transitioned to books after discovering how quickly I turn pages when actually reading mysteries. I’m so immersed that I’m actually considering taking a writing class so I can write my own.”

This is something you do all by yourself, but it is a hobby when you do it repeatedly, and for pleasure and intellectual stimulation.

Perhaps you’re an animal lover who enjoys working with dogs.

“I love animals and helping people. A couple of years ago I adopted a labradoodle named Billie, and began visiting an elderly shut-in neighbor with her. My neighbor loved her, and it was clear from the start how much joy she brought him. This gave me the idea of devoting some time each week to training therapy dogs at my local shelter. I’m now a certified dog trainer, and currently spend four hours every weekend training therapy dogs. I also occasionally get to take them to local nursing homes for resident visits.”

Hopefully this article has provided you with great insight into how to answer the interview question “What are your hobbies?” For guidance on additional questions, check out the resources below.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.