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RE: For those interviewing

Super!  Now I just need the interviews!  LOL!!!

Bonnie (SW OH - zone 5) 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Bonnie Holmes
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 4:04 PM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: [CHAT] For those interviewing

How to Answer
Any Interview Question By Perri Capell
Don't be rattled by your next job interview. It's possible to answer any
question that comes your way. How? By preparing and knowing how to direct
the conversation to the topics you want to cover.

To start, take a tip from consultants who coach executives and politicians
on how to handle media interviews. These trainers say you can deliver the
message you want to an employer, regardless of the question you're asked.

"Most people don't realize that their purpose isn't to sit there and hope
the right questions will be asked," says Aileen Pincus, president of the
Pincus Group, a media interview-training firm in Silver Spring, Md. "They
need to develop two or three key messages and make sure their point is

Use this interview-prep tool to get ready for your next big job meeting.
Unlike some politicians who ignore press questions and immediately introduce
a different topic in response, job candidates must respect and directly
answer employer's queries, says Jeff Braun, vice president and general
manager of the Ammerman Experience, a Stafford, Texas, media
interview-training firm. However, you can quickly make the transition from
your answer to the important points you want to convey about your
qualifications, he says.

He suggests when answering job-interview queries applying the formula Q = A
+ 1: Q is the question; A is the answer; + is the bridge to the message you
want to deliver; and 1 is the point you want to make.

"If you take the '+ 1' off the formula, then the interviewer is controlling
the session," says Mr. Braun.
Diligent preparation also is necessary to effectively answer any interview
question, say senior executives. Theirs and media trainers'
tips follow:

Study hard. Learn as much as you can about the job, the employer and its
executives beforehand. Use this information to answer direct questions and
to then segue into a discussion about your qualifications and fit.

Eric Herzog, a vice president of product line management and channel
marketing at Maxtor Corp., a hard-disk drive company in Milpitas, Calif.,
says he always talks to current and former company employees and analysts
whenever possible prior to job interviews to gain as much insight as he can
into the employer's challenges and culture. If the company is publicly
owned, he studies its financial condition by reading U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission documents, such as annual 10-K shareholder reports on
the company's performance. He then tailors his interview answers to the
company's issues.

"If the company is having a rough time financially, you can say that not
only did you make good products or services, but that you produced things on
time and under budget," says Mr. Herzog. "That's a little plus if the
company is in trouble."

If you're working with a recruiter, ask him or her about what the company is
seeking and its key challenges, says Derek Messulam, vice president of
rental market development for GE-Capital Solutions, a financial-services
unit of General Electric Co. in Norwalk, Conn. Mr.
Messulam says he grills recruiters regarding a job's responsibilities and
the attributes the company wants before job interviews. He then makes sure
that his answers demonstrate his potential value to an employer.

"When questions come up, you can steer the conversation to how you can
demonstrate value," says Mr. Messulam. "You answer the question, but maybe
not 100% the way they were expecting it."

Have anecdotes ready. Many interviewers ask questions that require
candidates to provide examples of how they handled a difficult challenge or
other work situation. Such questions often start with a phrase such as,
"Tell me about a time when you faced...."

These questions require a story in response, but it's unlikely you have a
story that fits every conceivable query. But the task of preparing becomes
easier when you realize that interviewers typically are interested in only
five or six general categories, says Mr. Braun.
Instead of trying to be ready for every potential question, come up with
stories to fit these general issues, such as how you handled conflict or a
difficult challenge.

It may help to think of each issue as a bucket and mentally place a story or
two in each one, says Mr. Braun. "Be more generic in your approach," he
suggests. "When asked a question along one of those lines, you can move to
the story you have in one of those buckets."

From his research, Mr. Messulam says he can usually tell what types of
things a company might want to know about him and thinks of corresponding
anecdotes. "I have seven or eight top stories that tell someone what I am
good at," he says.

This strategy also works when interviewers say, "Tell me about yourself,"
says Lucinda Baier, former president and chief operating officer of
Whitehall Jewelers Inc., a national specialty retailer and a former senior
vice president of Sears Roebuck & Co.

Ms. Baier left Chicago-based Whitehall in December after it accepted an
agreement with an investor to become private. She left Sears in April
2004 when the credit and financial products division she headed was sold to

When asked to tell interviewers about herself, she determines how much time
she should use and then tries to describe her specific qualifications that
fit the company's key issues.

"If you know what challenges the company is facing, you can tailor your
response to what the company is dealing with and how you can help," she

Be positive about the negative. Count on being asked about a past mistake or
blemish on your career record, and don't try to dodge the issue. Ms. Pincus
advises. "If you have a vulnerability, you need to be prepared to answer the
question," she says. "There should be no lying or dodging. Just answer it
and move on."

When discussing a mistake, be ready to say how you learned or benefited from
it. "You learn as much by dropping the ball as you do by catching it," says
Mr. Herzog. When interviewing for his current job, which he started in
August, Mr. Herzog says he mentioned he had been involved in successful
turnarounds and one that failed. "And I said what I learned from it," he

Email your comments to perri.capell@wsj.com

Bonnie Zone 7/7 ETN

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