Monday, June 09, 2008

Successfully Answer Behavioral Questions in Your Job Interview


Many employers are now doing "behavioral interviews". Rather than focusing on your resume and reviewing your accomplishments as you have written them on paper, the "behavioral" interviewer will ask you open-ended questions that will cause you to describe real circumstances and your responses to them.

General answers about behavior are not what the employer is looking for. You must describe in detail a particular event, project, or experience and you dealt with the situation, and what the outcome was. The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations.

Although it will be more difficult to prepare concrete answers in advance to these interviews (as opposed to traditional ones), you can and should take some time to review your understanding of yourself, your past successes and concrete examples of your accomplishments. Work on honesty, sincerity and candidness. When you start to tell a behavioral story, the interviewer may try to sort out the details by understanding your behaviors.

The interviewer will probe for more depth, detail or understanding with questions like: “What were you thinking at that point?” or “Tell me more about what you discussed with that person.”

If you’ve told a story that’s anything but totally honest, your response will not hold up through these probes.

If you have a spouse or friend that can pose as an interviewer for you, it can be helpful for you to practice answering open-ended questions, such as the following. Have your friend probe further:

  • Tell me about a time that you demonstrated initiative?

  • Describe a situation when have you motivated yourself to complete an assignment or task that you did not want to do?

  • Think about a difficult boss, professor or other person. What made him or her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person?

  • Think about a complex project or assignment that you have been assigned. What approach did you take to complete it?

  • Tell me about the riskiest decision that you have made. What were your considerations in making that particular decision.

  • Can you tell me about an occasion where you needed to work with a group to get a job done? What were the challenges and difficulties and how did you face these?

  • Describe a situation when you or a group that you were a part of were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?

  • Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently from you. How did you get the job done? Would you work with that person again if given the choice?

  • Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date.

  • Tell me about a situation when you had to learn something new in a short time. How did you proceed?

  • Can you tell me about a complex problem that you solved? Describe the process you utilized.

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.

  • Give me an example of a bad decision that you made and what you learned from that mistake?

  • Tell me about a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed. What did you learn from that failure?

  • Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem. What did you learn from that mistake?

  • Tell me about a challenge that you successfully met.

  • Describe a situation when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

  • Please tell me about one or two unpopular decisions you have made. What were the positive and negative outcomes of those decisions?

  • What leadership positions have you held? Describe your leadership style. What aspects of your leadership style have you changed or deleted once you learned that these aspects were not successful?

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

  • Summarize a situation where you successfully persuaded others to do something or to see your point of view. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.

  • Give an example of when your persistence had the biggest payoff.

  • How have you most constructively dealt with disappointment and turned it into a learning experience? Please give me a concrete example in your life.

  • Tell me of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.

  • Describe a situation in which you effectively developed a solution to a problem by combining different perspectives or approaches.

When answering "behavioral questions", do try to steer clear of the pat answers that interviewers are adept at spotting. For example, don't try to portray yourself as a person that never makes mistakes. Or as a person whose only failings are that you work too much, are too dedicated, too loyal, etc.

Be honest about your mistakes since the experienced interviewer will be looking for "progress" and "growth", not perfection. But, do give an example of how you learned from your mistake and how that experience has benefited you in the long run.

Be succinct and concise! In all behavioral answers, the interviewer wants to hear:

  • A brief description of the problem, challenge or situation.

  • What your action was & how you decided that action.

  • A brief description of the result of your action and your assessment of its result.

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The 150 Typical Job Interview Questions


  1. How would you describe yourself?
  2. What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for your life?
  3. How has your college experience prepared you for a business career?
  4. Please describe the ideal job for you following graduation.
  5. What influenced you to choose this career?
  6. At what point did you choose this career?
  7. What specific goals have you established for your career?
  8. What will it take to attain your goals, and what steps have you taken toward attaining them?
  9. What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?
  10. How do you determine or evaluate success? Give me an example of one of your successful accomplishments.
  11. Do you have the qualifications and personal characteristics necessary for success in your chosen career?
  12. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
  13. If you could do so, how would you plan your college career differently?
  14. Are you more energized by working with data or by collaborating with other individuals?
  15. How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as a member of a team?
  16. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  17. Given the investment our company will make in hiring and training you, can you give us a reason to hire you?
  18. Would you describe yourself as goal-driven?
  19. Describe what you've accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself.
  20. What short-term goals and objectives have you established for yourself?
  21. Can you describe your long-range goals and objectives?
  22. What do you expect to be doing in five years?
  23. What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
  24. How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
  25. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or instructor? How did you resolve the conflict?
  26. Tell me about a major problem you recently handled. Were you successful in resolving it?
  27. Would you say that you can easily deal with high-pressure situations?
  28. What quality or attribute do you feel will most contribute to your career success?
  29. What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty in school or on the job?
  30. What were your reasons for selecting your college or university?
  31. If you could change or improve anything about your college, what would it be?
  32. How will the academic program and coursework you've taken benefit your career?
  33. Which college classes or subjects did you like best? Why?
  34. Are you the type of student for whom conducting independent research has been a positive experience?
  35. Describe the type of professor that has created the most beneficial learning experience for you.
  36. Do you think that your grades are a indication of your academic achievement?
  37. What plans do you have for continued study? An advanced degree?
  38. Before you can make a productive contribution to the company, what degree of training do you feel you will require?
  39. Describe the characteristics of a successful manager.
  40. Why did you decide to seek a position in this field?
  41. Tell me what you know about our company.
  42. Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
  43. Do you have a geographic preference?
  44. Why do you think you might like to live in the community in which our company is located?
  45. Would it be a problem for you to relocate?
  46. To what extent would you be willing to travel for the job?
  47. Which is more important to you, the job itself or your salary?
  48. What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?
  49. Tell me about the salary range you're seeking.
  50. What are the most important rewards you expect to gain from your career?
  51. How would you define "success" for someone in your chosen career?
  52. What qualifications do you have that will make you successful in this company?
  53. What skills have you acquired from your work experience?
  54. What have you learned from your experiences outside the classroom or workplace?
  55. What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?
  56. If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  57. How would you describe your leadership skills?
  58. Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
  59. How has college changed you as a person?
  60. What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
  61. What was the toughest challenge you've ever faced?
  62. What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  63. Some people work best as part of a group -- others prefer the role of individual contributor. How would you describe yourself?
  64. When given an important assignment, how do you approach it?
  65. If there were one area you've always wanted to improve upon, what would that be?
  66. When you have been made aware of, or have discovered for yourself, a problem in your school or work performance, what was your course of action?
  67. What kinds of things have you done at school or on the job that were beyond expectations?
  68. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships?
  69. What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?
  70. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way?
  71. Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
  72. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  73. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
  74. Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  75. Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  76. Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across.
  77. Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
  78. Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
  79. Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete.
  80. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  81. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
  82. Sometimes it's easy to get in "over your head." Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment.
  83. Give an example of how you applied knowledge from previous coursework to a project in another class.
  84. Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
  85. Describe a situation in which you found that your results were not up to your professor's or supervisor's expectations. What happened? What action did you take?
  86. Tell of a time when you worked with a colleague who was not completing his or her share of the work. Who, if anyone, did you tell or talk to about it? Did the manager take any steps to correct your colleague? Did you agree or disagree with the manager's actions?
  87. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.
  88. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision.
  89. We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Give an example(s) of how you have done this.
  90. In a supervisory or group leader role, have you ever had to discipline or counsel an employee or group member? What was the nature of the discipline? What steps did you take? How did that make you feel? How did you prepare yourself?
  91. Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose. What was the nature of the problem? How did you handle that situation? How did that make you feel?
  92. Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance?
  93. What was the most complex assignment you have had? What was your role?
  94. How was your transition from high school to college? Did you face any particular problems?
  95. Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?
  96. Compare and contrast the times when you did work which was above the standard with times your work was below the standard.
  97. Describe some times when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it?
  98. What are your standards of success in school? What have you done to meet these standards?
  99. How have you differed from your professors in evaluating your performance? How did you handle the situation?
  100. Give examples of your experiences at school or in a job that were satisfying. Give examples of your experiences that were dissatisfying.
  101. What kind of supervisor do you work best for? Provide examples.
  102. Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts.
  103. Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
  104. Have you found any ways to make school or a job easier or more rewarding or to make yourself more effective?
  105. How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples.
  106. Tell of a time when your active listening skills really paid off for you -- maybe a time when other people missed the key idea being expressed.
  107. What has been your experience in giving presentations? What has been your most successful experience in speech making?
  108. Tell of the most difficult customer service experience that you have ever had to handle -- perhaps an angry or irate customer. Be specific and tell what you did and what was the outcome.
  109. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person?
  110. Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didn't like you. How did you handle it?
  111. Give me a specific example of something you did that helped build enthusiasm in others.
  112. Tell me about a difficult situation when it was desirable for you to keep a positive attitude. What did you do?
  113. Give me an example of a time you had to make an important decision. How did you make the decision? How does it affect you today?
  114. Give me an example of a time you had to persuade other people to take action. Were you successful?
  115. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person. How did you handle the situation?
  116. Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities. How did you organize the work you needed to do?
  117. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision, but didn't have all the information you needed.
  118. What suggestions do you have for our organization?
  119. What is the most significant contribution you made to the company during a past job or internship?
  120. What is the biggest mistake you've made?
  121. Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was the topic? What journals did you read?
  122. Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?
  123. Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result?
  124. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused?
  125. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organization was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play?
  126. Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome?
  127. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?
  128. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn?
  129. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist him or her? What was the result?
  130. Give two examples of things you've done in previous jobs or school that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.
  131. Describe the last time that you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
  132. What is the most competitive work or school situation you have experienced? How did you handle it? What was the result?
  133. Describe a project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities.
  134. Give an example of when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
  135. Tell about a time when you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.
  136. Some people consider themselves to be "big picture people" and others are detail oriented. Which are you? Give an example that illustrates your preference.
  137. Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
  138. Describe a time when you took personal accountability for a conflict and initiated contact with the individual(s) involved to explain your actions.
  139. Give me an example of when you were able to meet the personal and professional (or academic) demands in your life yet still maintained a healthy balance.
  140. Everyone has made some poor decisions or has done something that just did not turn out right. Give an example of when this has happened to you.
  141. What do you do when you are faced with an obstacle to an important project? Give an example.
  142. Tell about the most difficult or frustrating individual that you've ever had to work with, and how you managed to work with that person.
  143. Tell about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
  144. Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the actions of others.
  145. Tell about a recent job or campus experience that you would describe as a real learning experience? What did you learn from the job or experience?
  146. Describe a team experience you found disappointing. What could you have done to prevent it?
  147. Recall a situation in which communications were poor. How did you handle it?
  148. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult choice between your personal and professional (or academic) life.
  149. On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace or in school. Tell about such an occurrence and how you handled it.
  150. What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?

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STAR Interviewing Technique


Situation or Task

Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

Action you took
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.

Results you achieved

What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

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Preparation for the Potential Behavioral Interview


What’s the best way to prepare? It’s important to remember that you won’t know what type of interview will take place until you are sitting in the interview room. So, prepare answers to traditional interview questions.

Then, since you don’t know exactly what situations you will be asked about if it’s a behavioral interview, refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. You may be able to use them to help frame responses. Prepare stories that illustrate times when you have successfully solved problems or performed memorably. The stories will be useful to help you respond meaningfully in a behavioral interview.

Finally, review the job description, if you have it, or the job posting or ad. You may be able to get a sense of what skills and behavioral characteristics the employer is seeking from reading the job description and position requirements. Take a look at what employers are advised about developing the job posting for a behavioral interview on the About Human Resources site.
During the Behavioral Interview

During the interview, if you are not sure how to answer the question, ask for clarification. Then be sure to include these points in your answer:

* A specific situation
* The tasks that needed to be done
* The action you took
* The results i.e. what happened

It’s important to keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to understand how you behaved in a given situation. How you respond will determine if there is a fit between your skills and the position the company is seeking to fill. So, listen carefully, be clear and detailed when you respond and, most importantly, be honest. If your answers aren’t what the interviewer is looking for, this position may not be the best job for you anyway.

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The Behavioral Interview - What to Expect


Author: Julia Penny

The Behavioral Interview is increasingly used by companies for employment selection. Although it is a more demanding type of interview from the candidate’s point of view, it should be welcomed by candidates as an opportunity to effectively demonstrate why they are suitable job candidates.

Why the Behavioral Interview Works

Have you ever heard an interviewer saying that they know straight away on meeting a candidate if they are suitable or not, that they go on “gut feel” when deciding on the right job applicant? Fortunately this sort of haphazard approach to job interviews is seen less and less as companies take a much more structured and systematic approach to selecting employees.

Organizations are under increasing pressure to achieve accuracy in predicting an applicant’s job performance. The escalating costs of a hiring mistake (generally calculated at being about 50 percent of the position’s annual remuneration) and the negative impact of the wrong person in the job on both existing employees and customers mean that employers need an effective selection process that accurately identifies the right person for the job. The system used for selection also needs to be consistent to give every candidate a fair and equal opportunity of being selected for it to be considered legally defensible.

Behavioral (sometimes referred to as Competency-Based) Interviews offer a solution to the problem of an accurate and equitable selection system. The fairness and accuracy of the Behavioral Interview is based on the fact that the candidate is providing real, factual information about their past behavior and how it relates to the present required job competencies. The questions asked are designed to gain information on the candidate’s ability in the competencies that have been identified as necessary for successful job performance. All information gathered during the Behavioral Interview is relevant to the position and company being interviewed for. All candidates are asked the same type of questions, the interview is standardized which makes it a fair selection process.

The Behavioral Interview Process

The job is profiled and competencies required for job performance identified. Examples of job competencies include attention to detail, leadership, teamwork, initiative and adaptability among many others.


Questions are prepared to elicit information on the candidate’s previous experience as it relates to these competencies. The Behavioral Interview is based on the premise that past behavior predicts future behavior.

The candidate is asked to provide a specific example of when they previously displayed the desired competency. The candidate then describes a previous situation or instance when they were required to demonstrate the competency, the actions they took and the outcome.

The Behavioral Interview Question

“Adaptability” is an identified competency for the vacancy. The interviewer prepares the following question to ask all candidates : “Tell me about a time you had to change your approach when dealing with a customer”

The candidate then provides a specific example of how he or she adapted their approach to effectively manage the customer. The interviewer may need to ask a number of probing questions such as “Tell me more about that” in order to get enough detail from the candidate.

The question should result in a clear example of the candidate’s competence in adapting to the situation or individual. The interviewer can then rate the candidate on this particular competency.

The factual evidence generated by the behavioral questions provides a solid basis for evaluating the candidate’s suitability for the position. Too often an interviewer uses the following type of question in the job interview “Tell me how you would handle a difficult customer.” This requires a hypothetical-type response that only gives information on how the candidate thinks they would deal with a difficult customer rather than hard factual evidence of how they actually have done so in the past.

You can see the value in asking behavioral interview questions to determine the real suitability of a candidate.

The Behavioral Interview can be intimidating for the candidate as often it is difficult to think of specific examples in the limited time constraints of the interview. Preparing properly for the Behavioral Interview beforehand by thinking about examples of competencies that your position may require helps set you up for success. The Behavioral Interview provides an easy to use guide to managing the behavioral interview, including sample behavioral interview questions and answers.

Julia Penny is an organizational psychologist with many years experience in recruitment and hiring. She offers her expertise to candidates who want to succeed in their job interviews. Her website includes a complete and free guide to preparing for and excelling in job interviews.
http://www.best-job-interview.com

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interview Questions for Paralegals


1. What are your long and short range career goals and objectives?

2. When and how did you establish those goals?

3. How are you preparing yourself to achieve them?

4. What goals, other than those related to your legal career, have you established for yourself for the next 10 years?

5. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

6. Why did choose to go to Northeastern State University?

7. What kind of life do you want?

8. How would you describe yourself?

9. How has your college degree prepared you to work in this firm?

10. Why should I hire you?

11. What are the most important qualities of a successful legal assistant?

12. How can you contribute to our agency/firm/company?

13. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?

14. What was your most rewarding collegiate experience?

15. What legal courses did you like the best? Least?

16. Are your grades a good indication of your academic achievement?

17. What area of law appeals to you?

18. Describe your ideal working environment.

19. Why are you interested in this firm/company/agency?

20. What do you know about this firm/company/agency?

21. What two or three things are most important to you in a job?

22. What do you know about (the city in which the firm is located) ?

23. Do you have other job offers?

24. What have you learned from the other attorneys/paralegals you've spoken with today?

25. Do you have any questions I can answer?

26. Why do you want to be a paralegal?

27. Tell me about your legal experience. (Or why haven't you acquired any legal experience?)

Jeff Altman

The Big Game Hunter
Concepts in Staffing
jeffaltman@cisny.com

© 2008 all rights reserved.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, is Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, He has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is a practicing psychotherapist and is a retired certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues.

To receive a daily digest of positions emailed to you, search job openings, use his free job lead search engine, Job Search Universe. to subscribe Jeff’s free job search ezines, Head Hunt Your Next Job and/or Natural Selection (his free recruiting ezine), or to find out about his VIP Personal Search Agent service, go to http://www.jeffaltman.com.

If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff or locating consultants, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at thebiggamehunter@cisny.com (If you’re looking for a new position, include your resume).

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Interview Questions for Librarians


1. Describe your strengths and weaknesses.

2. Considering your education and work experience, why do you feel you are qualified for this job?

3. What do you see as the value of belonging to professional organizations?

4. Why did you apply for this job?

5. What is your philosophy of collection development?

6. Do you like working with people?

7. Do you have any experience with audio-visual materials?

8. Do you have any experience in setting up displays?

9. How do you feel that your education has prepared you for this job?

10. Where do you expect to be professionally in five years?

11. How would you handle a person who objects to a sex education book on the shelf?

12. How would you handle a question over the phone that you canít answer immediately?

13. Is there any time that you would refuse to answer a patronís request?

14. If we ask your present supervisor what your present strengths are, what would he/she say?

15. Why should we hire you?

16. Name two books you have read within the past two months and describe one of them as though you were recommending it to a patron to read. Why would they want to read it?

17. What qualities do you think we should look for in a prospective reference librarian?

18. Considering your working career, tell about the most stressful event you ever faced, and how you coped with it.

19. Picture this: It is 5:00 PM and you are relieving the day shift. You are the only reference librarian on the desk and the following are waiting for help. In what order would you answer them and why?

a. A young child with a homework assignment

b. A trivia question; the contest is on now. c. A woman who has just read Jannette Daileyís latest book and wants a recommendation for a similar book. d. An elderly couple wanting advice on how to do their genealogy.

e. The city managerís office is on the telephone.

20. What did you do to prepare for this interview?

21. What is your style of leadership?

22. Describe your ideal job.

23. What was your most challenging supervisory experience?

24. What do you like most about archival work?

25. Describe differences among patrons in a public library, an academic library, and a special library.

26. If you were assisting a person at the reference desk and the telephone rang, what would you do?

27. After you have eliminated the backlog, how do you see this job as challenging to you? What will motivate you to come to work?

28. Why did you elect to attend the University of South Carolina?

29. Why did you choose librarianship as a career?

30. Can you tell us about a particularly tense or chaotic situation at the reference desk and how you handled the incident?

31. What would you do if you heard a staff member provide a patron with an incorrect answer?

32. Tell us about a team or group project you have worked on and how you have contributed to it.

33. Tell us about your experience with information technology.

34. Why are you interested in this particular career?

35. What strengths do you bring to a reference position and what areas would you like to improve?

36. What are the things you particularly like about your present job?

37. What was your most important work-related accomplishment in the past year?

38. What contributions could you make to our library?

39. How would you describe your management philosophy?

40. What type of management style do you prefer?

41. What sorts of people do you enjoy working with most?

42. What kinds of situations do you find stressful?

43. What would you do if you were at the desk and both the phones were ringing and there were three or four patrons already waiting and a demanding professor interrupted?

44. Outline your science background, including: science coursework, library school coursework in science reference, and science library experience.

45. What is your public service experience, including bibliographic instruction, reference desk, and collection development?

46. What is your knowledge and/or experience of library technology?

47. How does this position fit into the career path you have set for yourself?

48. Give us an example of a time in which you felt you were able to build motivation in your coworkers or fellow students in school.

49. Describe the most significant achievement or written project/presentation/report which you have had to complete.

50. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a librarian?

51. Give us an example you did in a former job that contributed to a teamwork environment.

52. What would you do if you were unsure of how to answer a reference question?

53. What are your current research interests?

54. The role of the reference librarian and the reference department has changed a lot in the past five years and will probably continue to change. How do you see reference service changing in the next five years?

Jeff Altman

The Big Game Hunter
Concepts in Staffing
jeffaltman@cisny.com

© 2008 all rights reserved.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, is Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, He has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is a practicing psychotherapist and is a retired certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues.

To receive a daily digest of positions emailed to you, search job openings, use his free job lead search engine, Job Search Universe. to subscribe Jeff’s free job search ezines, Head Hunt Your Next Job and/or Natural Selection (his free recruiting ezine), or to find out about his VIP Personal Search Agent service, go to http://www.jeffaltman.com.

If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff or locating consultants, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at thebiggamehunter@cisny.com (If you’re looking for a new position, include your resume).

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Interview Questions for a Job in Journalism


  • Why do you want to work for [news organization name]?
  • Tell me about a story you covered that went very well.
  • Have you ever failed? What did you learn from the experience?
  • How well do you handle deadline pressure?
  • What publications do you read? What news shows do you watch? Why?
  • What is your philosophy of journalism?
  • What do you think of our paper/magazine/show/station? How would you make it better?
  • How do you feel about the state of journalism today?
  • Please give me a short critique of our paper/broadcast/magazine.
  • What stories would you like to cover? (You should have at least 5 ideas).
  • Why will you make a successful journalist?
  • What is your news philosophy?
  • What is the most recent book you’ve read?
  • You have five minutes to describe the most relevant and specific items in your background that show that you are uniquely qualified for this job.
  • Are you tough? Are you aggressive? Provide examples.
  • Do you think your extracurricular activities were worth the time you devoted to them?
  • Give me an example of a story you think you handled very well.
  • Give me an example of a story you wish you had covered differently. How would you cover it now?
  • Tell me about your work habits. Would you describe yourself as a hard worker?
  • Do you work well under pressure? Do you mind working overtime?
  • In light of recent world events, do you feel that the media has placed themselves in positive light with regard to public support? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about the state of journalism today?
  • Please give me a short critique of our paper, broadcast, etc.
  • What stories would you like to cover?
  • (You should always have at least five story ideas.)
  • Which story over the last 12 months would you most like to have covered and why?
  • Why will you make a successful journalist?
  • What publications do you read?
  • What news programs do you watch? Why? What are they doing right? Wrong?
  • What is your news philosophy?
  • You have five minutes to describe the most relevant and specific items in your background that show that you are uniquely qualified for this job. (Prepare several important points you want the interviewer to remember after you have left; be able to stress them in a short, concise statement.)
  • Are you tough? Are you aggressive? (Be prepared to back up your answers)
  • Was the time you spent traveling worth the time you devoted to it?
  • Do you think your extracurricular activities were worth the time you devoted to them?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • What do you have, that others may not, that is right for this organization?
  • Give me an example of a story you think you handled very well.
  • Give me an example of a story you wished you had covered differently? How would you cover it now?
  • Walk me through a situation in which you had to get information by asking a lot of questions of a number of people. What were their reactions to the questions? When did you have to go back and rephrase your questions?
  • Describe a recent time that you were unexpectedly in a position of orally promoting or defending something. How convincing were you?
  • What arguments did you spontaneously think of during the discussion? How did it turn out?
  • Getting through college requires a lot of writing. Tell me about some of the writing you?ve done: topics, length, format, etc. What difficulties did you have with any of the written assignments or projects?
  • What are some of the most difficult writing assignments you have been given or have taken on yourself? Please explain.
  • Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
  • Describe for me a time when you effectively utilized your editing skills in a written project.
  • Can you describe a situation in which your written work was criticized?
  • What classroom experiences do you feel have best prepared you for a career in writing/editing/research?
  • In the areas where your experience falls short for this job, what steps will you take to make up for this shortfall?
  • What have you done in the last year to improve your writing/editing/researching skills?
  • Tell me about your work habits. Would you describe yourself as a hard worker?
  • Do you work well under pressure?/Do you mind working overtime?
  • In light of recent world events, do you feel that the media has placed themselves in positive light with regard to public support? Why or why not?

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Interview Questions for Nursing Interviews


  • Describe a challenging problem you faced on one of your clinical rotations. How did you solve the problem?
  • Give a specific example of a time when you knew you did a good job as a nurse.
  • How would you respond if a doctor in a rude and haughty tone questioned your work, which you knew to be top-notch and absolutely accurate?
  • Why did you decide to become a nurse rather than a doctor?
  • Describe a situation where you found yourself working with someone who was very sensitive or thin-skinned.
  • If you were told that the nursing field was closed and you could not be a nurse, what would you do?
  • What types of nursing tasks are most objectionable to you?
  • Describe a situation you experienced in the past year, connected with nursing that made you angry.
  • Why did you choose (ER, OR, ICU, LTC, FNP or other specialty area) of nursing?
  • What do you know about our hospital? About our community?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to handle an irate physician, co-worker or patient. How did you handle the situation and what was the result?

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Interview Questions for Park Management Jobs


  • What is your management philosophy?
  • Tell me about a time when you found it necessary to tactfully but forcefully say things that others did not want to hear.
  • Describe for me a situation that would demonstrate the level of confidence that you have in yourself.
  • Provide me with an example of how you?ve asserted yourself in an emergency or high-pressure situation.
  • What management style would you use today, and why?
  • Thinking back on your previous experience (internship/co-op), pick your finest hour. Describe the assignment or project that you feel best demonstrated your management skills.
  • Obviously as a manager, you must interact successfully with people, clients, upper management, subordinates, etc. in order to make a positive impact. Can you sketch out two or three key strengths you feel you have in dealing with people?
  • Describe the process and procedures you would put into place to improve the quality and timeliness of customer service.
  • Describe a time when you took action to provide quick and thorough service in response to a patron?s request or problem.
  • What type of ideas do you have for providing patron satisfaction and bringing patrons back on a repeat basis?
  • If you have done this, give me an example.
  • How can a supervisor establish effective communication with staff?
  • Tell me how you have attempted to build trust with your employees, peers and customers.
  • Would you want your subordinates to like you or respect you as a manager?
  • What can a supervisor do to enhance an employee?s job and the employee?s motivation?
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to build team spirit in a time of low morale.
  • As a manager, you will need to explain policies and procedures to trainees. Think of the most recent time you had to tell other people about an upcoming change.
  • It is sometimes desirable to lead other people by setting a positive example. Describe a work situation when your example served as a model for others.
  • Individuals vary in their abilities to influence others. Give me a specific example of a time you were successful in guiding another person to a worthwhile objective.
  • Sometimes, despite our best efforts, subordinates remain confused about their objectives on a project or assignment we have given. How would you help to clarify these items for one of your workers?
  • What do you know about our park?
  • Aside from classroom texts, what journals or professional articles are you currently reading for professional development?
  • What are your expectations regarding your workload as a first year employee with this organization?
  • What have you done in the last year to improve your management skills?
  • If your career demands it, would you be willing to relocate in order to advance?
  • What are some of the hot topics that park managers are talking about?

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Interview Questions for School Counseling Positions


  • What is your philosophy of school counseling?
  • Tell us about your experience in school counseling.
  • Describe your ideal school counseling program.
  • Name and describe three different roles of the school counselor.
  • What does the phrase developmental guidance program mean to you? Is it really possible to have a developmental guidance program?
  • Describe the program or activity you developed for which you are most proud. Why did you select this particular program?
  • Describe your view of an excellent working relationship between the school counselor and teachers. How would you go about achieving this relationship?
  • What are the limits of confidentiality?
  • What do you know about our school district?
  • What would you do if a teacher referred a student to you and then stops you to ask for information?
  • In your first days in a new school counseling position, what things/activities would you do to establish a positive working relationship with teachers?
  • A student comes to you and says her friend Jennifer is talking about killing herself. What do you do?
  • In a small support group 12-year-old John tells everyone he is tired of being picked on and is planning to shoot a boy who is bullying him. What do you do?
  • A student comes to you and begins to cry, telling you she is being picked on by two girls who used to be her friends. She shares with you that the problem has been going on for over two months and now it is getting worse. What do you do?
  • In a counseling session thirteen-year-old Sara tells you that her father has touched her inappropriately. What do you do?
  • When we get emotionally involved in a problem situation, it is often very difficult to be objective. Tell me about a time when you were proud of your ability to be objective even though you were emotional about a situation.
  • You hear a rumor from a student that two boys took some ki

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Interview Questions for Social Workers


  • Why have you selected a career in social work?
  • What do you hope to accomplish as a social worker?
  • Have you had the experience of working with people of a race or sexual orientation different from yours?
  • Do you feel you can be objective in counseling a teen about abortion?
  • What do you think of the welfare system?
  • What is your philosophy of social work?
  • What techniques do you use in crisis intervention work?
  • What kinds of things go into a psychological assessment?
  • How do you describe your personal boundaries?
  • What do you think of the recent welfare changes?
  • What do you think is going to happen in the field in the next five years?
  • What are your thoughts on managed care?
  • Are you a member of any professional organizations?
  • How would you handle a psychotic outburst in the clinic waiting room?
  • In terms of family therapy, what is your theoretical orientation?
  • How do you handle termination?
  • Do you believe in short term or long-term treatment?
  • Think of a client you have liked/disliked and tell me how you dealt with the counter transference issues.
  • Are you sensitive? Are you intuitive?
  • Are you an active listener? Are you able to engage clients?
  • This position requires a lot of independent thinking and initiative. There is minimal supervision. Could you handle that?
  • What kinds of problems do you like to handle? Can you give me an example?
  • What kinds of problems are you good at solving? Give me one example.
  • How would your weaknesses interfere with your ability to do this job?
  • Would you rather draw up plans and design a program or be responsible for implementing a program? Why?
  • Knowing what you know now, is there something you would do differently in the management of one of your fieldwork cases?
  • What do you judge to be your major successes or accomplishments in your fieldwork? How did you achieve these?
  • What major disappointments/failures have you had in fieldwork?
  • Are you prepared to make home visits?
  • How is your previous experience applicable to the work we do here?
  • Why have you selected a career in social work?
  • What do you hope to accomplish as a social worker?
  • Have you had the experience of working with people of a race or sexual orientation different from yours?
  • Do you feel you can be objective in counseling a teen about abortion?
  • What do you think of the welfare system?
  • What is your philosophy of social work?
  • What techniques do you use in crisis intervention work?
  • What kinds of things go into a psychological assessment?
  • How do you describe your personal boundaries?
  • What do you think of the recent welfare changes?
  • What do you think is going to happen in the field in the next five years?
  • What are your thoughts on managed care?
  • Are you a member of any professional organizations?
  • How would you handle a psychotic outburst in the clinic waiting room?
  • In terms of family therapy, what is your theoretical orientation?
  • How do you handle termination?
  • Do you believe in short term or long-term treatment?
  • Think of a client you have liked/disliked and tell me how you dealt with the counter transference issues.
  • Are you sensitive? Are you intuitive?
  • Are you an active listener? Are you able to engage clients?
  • This position requires a lot of independent thinking and initiative. There is minimal supervision. Could you handle that?
  • What kinds of problems do you like to handle? Can you give me an example?
  • What kinds of problems are you good at solving? Give me one example.
  • How would your weaknesses interfere with your ability to do this job?
  • Would you rather draw up plans and design a program or be responsible for implementing a program? Why?
  • Knowing what you know now, is there something you would do differently in the management of one of your fieldwork cases?
  • What do you judge to be your major successes or accomplishments in your fieldwork? How did you achieve these?
  • What major disappointments/failures have you had in fieldwork?
  • Are you prepared to make home visits?
  • How is your previous experience applicable to the work we do here?
To also prepare

1. Know risk assessment/signs of abuse,neglect inside and out.

2. Know how to work with a family to develop a plan.

3. Be able to articulate what interviewilng skills are necessary when working with families we serve.

4. Know how to prioritize multiple tasks that include crisis, telephone msgs, immediates tasks assigned by your boss, personal dr appts, etc.

5. Be able to articulate your understanding of how culture impacts our work with families re abuse/neglect/prevention/intervention/reunification, etc.

Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Accounting Supervisor Test Questions


ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR

INSTRUCTIONS:

Please read through this material and prepare a written response using a computerized word processing system. Please send a copy of the questions and your responses along with your other application materials.

SECTION I

  1. Based on your past knowledge and experience you see a better way to do a process. You explain your proposed process to the finance manager. Upon discussion and review the finance manager explains several constraints that you were unaware of which would prevent your suggestion from replacing the current processing standard. This has happened several different times with different processes. How would you handle this situation and what would you do next?

  1. You are now working for the City of Walla Walla. You have too much to do and not enough time to do it. How would you handle this situation?

  1. One joy in working for a city is that there are a lot of different kinds of work to be done. You are given a choice of two projects to work on. Both projects are equally important, both need to be done and both will be assigned to somebody. Other workload requirements will be shifted around to reflect the new project assignment. Project one is well understood by a co-worker but she doesn’t have time to do it. She would be available to point you in the right direction, however, and answer questions as they arise. Project two is something brand new to the city but is required and so the city will have to figure out what the new requirements are; how it affects existing computer systems and define a new way forward. This project will require research and creation of new institutional knowledge. It will require the efforts of multiple departments to both implement and maintain the new process. Work load affects being equal, would you request project one or project two and why?

  1. You are now working for the City of Walla Walla. It is the third week of the month and you find yourself having completed all of your monthly tasks. You ask your supervisor for additional work and she gives you the following options. Which task would you request and why?

i. Review the current purchasing policy and the purchasing processing manual and come up with recommendations to update or improve policy/procedures.

ii. Cover for an accounts payable clerk (work is related to your normal duties) who is on vacation that week.

iii. Cover for a utility billing clerk (work that is dissimilar from your normal duties) who is on vacation that week.

iv. Cover for another accountant (work is dissimilar from your normal duties) who is on vacation that week.

v. Test a new upgrade to the existing accounting system using a clone of the accounting software system to find out if there are any “bugs” in the new upgrade. This testing is done on a separate system from the “real” accounting system so that there is no risk in conducting the testing process.

vi. Come up with a training plan and meet with a department that has been making a lot of errors recently in processing that is causing your part of Finance to have to undo and redo work.

vii. Join a task force to coordinate the information flow of infrastructure between Finance, engineering and GIS departments and come up with processes to ensure all the correct data goes to all the correct departments at all the correct times.

  1. Please compare and contrast governmental accounting and private sector accounting.

  1. The city expects to invest in the training, support and professional growth of the selected candidate. Please out line a learning and training plan including the areas, timelines, resources, etc. that you would like in order to grow into a successful, productive, governmental accounting supervisor responsible for accounts payable processing, ambulance billings and collections, governmental bid and purchasing rules, audit and compliance and assisting in the preparation of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report according to the Governmental Finance Officer’s Association award standards.

SECTION II

SCENARIO #1:

You are working in an accounting environment where: revenue information is posted in the general ledger when the cashier balances her cash drawer at the end of the day and when billings system information is posted throughout the day; disbursement information is posted to the general ledger when vendor checks are printed each day; information for fixed the fixed asset subsidiary system is created when the accounts payable system prints vendor checks; employees are paid once a month when payroll paychecks are posted the third business day of the following month. Departments can pull financial statements at any time and those statements include all information that has been posted at the time the statements are run, but typically departments print the statements about the 5th of the following month. Full GAAP financial statements are published annually for bonding and audit purposes.

Banking activity (individual deposits, check clearing, transfers, interest revenue and bank fee information) for all accounts are available on-line as it occurs throughout the day. Transfers are made automatically at midnight, from the main account to cover checks that are redeemed in a separate check account. Banking activity reports can be run for any starting and ending range for up to two years. There is no cost to access this information or print these reports.

QUESTION:

On what interval (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc.) would you recommend reconciling banking activity to the financial system and why did you choose that interval?

SCENARIO #2:

The cash receipting process works as follows. When checks come in the mail, the cashier batches all the checks for accounts receivable together. The cashier runs a ten-key tape of all those checks and then she enters all A/R payments into a special screen that updates the billing system. This screen provides her with a summary list by general ledger account number for her to enter a summary payment into her normal cash receipting screen. When the cashier posts her payment batch at the end of the day the billing system (subsidiary) customer balances screen reflects the payments as well as the general ledger accounts receivable balances. When a customer comes in to the counter to make an A/R payment, the cashier processes the payments in her cash receipt screen that updates the general ledger balances, but not the billing subsidiary customer balances. She then enters into an excel log the customer’s account and payment information. The day the billing clerk prepares the monthly bills, she reads the walk-in customer payment log and enters the payments into the billing system (this entry does not update the general ledger).

QUESTION:

What changes, (getting a new computer system is not an option), if any, would you recommend to the above processing flow and what were your considerations in making the recommendation?

SCENARIO #3:

Interest is earned on cash and investments. The bank posts the interest to our bank account on the last business day of the month. Our cash in the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) post our interest on the last business day of the month, faxes us a statement the first day of the next month and mails us a hard copy 10 business days later. Our other investments have a fixed earnings rate and pay out interest earnings on April 30, and October 31 each year. General ledger cash balances for each fund change daily.

QUESTIONS:

  1. When would you record each type of interest revenue?
  2. What method would you use to allocate revenue between funds?

Please explain your reasoning.

SCENARIO #4:

Fixed asset information is created as a pending record in the fixed asset system as accounts payable is processed. More information is required to be added to the pending fixed asset record to make it complete. Once it is complete, the fixed asset information is posted to the general ledger. The capitalization policy for fixed assets is $5,000 per item and there are approximately 15 items a month that meet this capitalization policy.

QUESTIONS:

When would you recommend:

  1. Completing the pending fixed asset records and posting them to the general ledger?
  2. Running the automatic depreciation expense process and posting depreciation expense/accumulated depreciation?

Please explain your reasons for your recommendation.

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Generic Questions for Entry Level Jobs


Tell me about yourself.

Why have you chosen this particular field?

What courses did you like best? Least? Why?

Why did you choose your major and other academic pursuits?

I would like to begin by having you outline for me any practical experience you have had on previous jobs or others that is related to the profession of _______________.

Being able to learn quickly on the job is important. Tell me about a situation when you had to pick up an essential skill quickly.

    • What was the skill that you had to learn?
    • What led to this situation?
    • What did you do that helped you learn quickly?
    • What was the outcome of this situation?
    • When was the next time you used this skill? Tell me about it.

Sometimes, demands are placed on new employees that stretch their current knowledge. There are always times when we wish we knew more than we do. Describe an experience when you were most frustrated with your knowledge in _____________. (Tell me about the time that you most needed to know more).

    • What did you need to know?
    • How did you try to find it out?
    • How long was it before the problem was solved?
    • What did your supervisor say about this event?
    • What did you do to avoid this problem in the future?
    • When was the next time this type of situation came up?
    • What did you do then?

When you are assigned a difficult task, organization is important. Can you think of a time when you organized your work effectively in order to meet a deadline?

    • What was the task?
    • Who assigned it?
    • Who was working on it with you?
    • What steps did you take to organize the task?
    • How did the organization help get the work done?
    • Was the task completed on schedule?
    • Did you ever receive a comment on your organization? What?
    • How often did you follow the steps mentioned when organizing your work?

Give me an example of a problem you encountered either in school or at work and explain how you solved it.

We are interested in how you show initiative to go beyond everyday requirements. Give me an example of when you showed initiative on the job

What did you do that was beyond the call of duty?

    • What led you to take this initiative?
    • What was the outcome of your actions?
    • Did your senior say anything about your action? What?
    • How often in the past year did you show this kind of initiative?
    • Tell me about another time.

There are always times when things are so busy that your job can be quite hectic. There are also times when you have little to do. Tell me about the slowest period in your recent experience.

    • When did this occur?
    • What caused the slowdown?
    • What did you do during this period?
    • What were your co-workers doing during this time?
    • Did your senior comment on your efforts? What was said?
    • How often did this kind of slow period come up?
    • Did you ever handle it differently? What did you do differently that time?

How do you spend your spare time?

What are your major strengths / weaknesses?

Sometimes, we all run into frustrating customers or clients. Tell me about the most frustrating person that you had to deal with recently.

    • What specifically did the person do that was frustrating?
    • What did you do to resolve the difficulties this created?
    • How did the person react to what you did?

Tell me about a time when you were able to help improve a work procedure by making good suggestions to your supervisor or co-worker.

    • Where did you get the idea for the suggestion?
    • What suggestions did you make?
    • What help did you get from your supervisor on this suggestion?
    • How often were you able to offer this kind of help last year?
    • What comments did you receive?

Even the best of us have disagreements with co-workers from time to time. Describe the most serious disagreement you've had with a co-worker.

    • When did this happen?
    • What led to the disagreement?
    • How did you first approach solving the disagreement?
    • How did the co-worker respond?
    • What was the outcome of this disagreement?

Describe an experience in which you worked as part of a team.

Describe your best / worst boss.

In general, what do you consider to be your strengths in ___________?

What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

What have been your most satisfying and most disappointing experiences?

Explain how your past work experiences will aid you in the profession of ________?

There are many qualified individuals applying for a limited number of positions. What can you tell me that would make you stand out among the rest?

Why do you feel you would be successful in _______________?

Where do you see yourself in three years?

What are your long-term goals? Where do you hope to be in ten years?

If you were stranded on an island, what three items would you take with you and why?

If you could be an animal, which would it be and why?

What was the last book you read?

Jeff Altman
The Big Game Hunter

Concepts in Staffing
jeffaltman@cisny.com

© 2008 all rights reserved.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, is Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm, He has successfully assisted many corporations identify management leaders and staff in technology, accounting, finance, sales, marketing and other disciplines since 1971. He is a practicing psychotherapist and is a retired certified leader of the ManKind Project, a not for profit organization that assists men with life issues.

To receive a daily digest of positions emailed to you, search job openings, use his free job lead search engine, Job Search Universe. to subscribe Jeff’s free job search ezines, Head Hunt Your Next Job and/or Natural Selection (his free recruiting ezine), or to find out about his VIP Personal Search Agent service, go to http://www.jeffaltman.com.

If you would like Jeff and his firm to assist you with hiring staff or locating consultants, or if you would like help with a strategic job change, send an email to him at thebiggamehunter@cisny.com (If you’re looking for a new position, include your resume).

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