Possible answer to “How would your boss and coworkers describe you?”
“Actually, in my most recent performance review in April, my direct supervisor described me as someone who takes initiative and doesn’t shy away from hard problems. My role involves a lot of on-site implementation, and when things go wrong, it’s usually up to me to fix it. Rather than punting the problem back to the team, I always try to do what I can first. I know she appreciates that about me.”
1 Can you explain why you changed career paths?
Don’t be thrown off by this question—just take a deep breath and explain to the hiring manager why you’ve made the career decisions you have. More importantly, give a few examples of how your past experience is transferable to the new role. This doesn’t have to be a direct connection; in fact, it’s often more impressive when a candidate can show how seemingly irrelevant experience is very relevant to the role.
Possible answer to “What’s your work style?”
“I tend to do my best work when I’m collaborating with colleagues and we’re working together toward a common goal. I was that rare student who loved group projects and now I still get a rush of excitement when I’m planning marketing campaigns with a team and bringing new and different voices into the fold. When I was working at XYZ Agency, I made it a habit to extend invitations to folks in different departments to join certain brainstorming and feedback sessions. Some of our most successful campaigns grew out of the ideas we generated together with coworkers in IT, HR, product, and customer success. That’s why I was so excited to learn that this role would have me working closely with the product and sales teams as well as with a talented marketing team. The other thing I find is crucial to making these collaborations successful is organization and documentation, so I’m also really big on creating one central home for all materials related to a project, including meeting notes, action items, drafts of campaign copy and visuals, and timelines.”
The best managers are strong but flexible, and that’s exactly what you want to show off in your answer. (Think something like, “While every situation and every team member requires a bit of a different strategy, I tend to approach my employee relationships as a coach…”) Then share a couple of your best managerial moments, like when you grew your team from five to 15 or coached an underperforming employee to become the company’s top salesperson.
Walk me through your resume.
Like “Tell me about yourself,” this question is a common interview opener. But instead of framing your answer around what qualities and skills make you best for the position, your answer should group your qualifications by your past jobs and tell your career story. You might choose to tell this story chronologically, especially if there’s a great anecdote about what set you on this path. Or, as with “Tell me about yourself,” you can begin with your present job then talk about what brought you here and where you’re going next. But regardless, when you speak about your “past” and “present,” highlight your most relevant experiences and accomplishments for this job and wrap up by talking about the future, i.e. connect your past and present together to show why this job should be the next one you add to your resume.