James Reed, Chairman of REED (Britain’s biggest and best-known recruitment company), has published, 101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again, his insider account of questions that hiring managers ask, their “real questions,” and recommendations on how you as a job searcher can successfully navigate the emotional and intellectual minefield of a real life job interview. With the obligatory nod towards “not faking it,” Reed goes off and gives you a pretty good checklist of actionable advise on what types of questions to expect and how to prepare your answers, so you’re not the proverbial “deer in the headlights.”
Here’s my todo review of 101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again by James Reed.
Book Summary: 101 Job Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again
Fortunately, right at the outset, Reed gives us “four points” that summarize the book. I love it when authors are smart enough and confident enough to provide summaries of the major points! These are as follows. First, the best person to be at an interview is yourself. By this, Reed means don’t try to “game the system,” don’t be fake, etc. Be honest to the hiring manager, but put your best foot forward. (And, as he explains in detail, anticipate what the questions “really mean” from their perspective: you are “selling yourself,” (in a good sense), so you need to explain how “what you have” is “what they want”). Second, the way you talk about yourself (e.g., your self confidence) counts for more than a fancy resume or expensive education. Third, there is nothing new under the sun: all interview questions are really variations of a handful of underlying questions. And fourth, to an employer a hiring decision is a “problem to be solved.” You need to present yourself as the solution.
Beyond that, he gives a lot of basic advise (e.g., what to wear (one notch better than the employer and his or her employees)). He also gives you a breakdown of job hiring themes, which he calls the “Six C’s” – classic questions, career goal questions, character, competency, curveball, and creativity. (Loc 672 / Kindle Edition). The does a deep dive into each, chapter by chapter.
The book ends with “parting shots,” wherein you think about what YOU want not what the hiring manager wants, including but not limited to salary questions, as well as post-interview todos like “thank you letters,” emails, or Facebook messages.
All in all, it’s a useful book about how to anticipate interview questions, how to prepare for interviews, and (perhaps most importantly) how to use the interview to figure out if you really want this job (assuming you are offered it).
Internet Resources on 101 Interview Questions
I’ve already mentioned Reed’s company, Reed.co.uk, which is a large job search site in the United Kingdom. Admittedly for a USA audience, the site isn’t that useful (vs. CareerBuilder, Monster.com, Indeed.com, etc. here in the States). The site does have a nice sub-section on “career guides,” such as “How to Become a Beekeeper” (don’t laugh – bees are incredibly vital to our planet!).
In terms of James Reed, personally, don’t confuse him with James F. Reed, organizing member of the ill-fated Donner Party to California. You can find his personal website, here. You can find interviews with Reed, here and here.
Todos – What is to be Done?
The book is a series of mind-playing and role-playing scenarios, when you get down to it. So, prepare thyself to be interviewed!
- Anticipate Job Interview Questions. For example, you should read the book, write down Reed’s list of anticipated questions (e.g., “Tell me about yourself”) and draft out your answers. Role play! But don’t be stilted: be yourself! Todos: 1) Anticipate interview questions, 2) role play your answers, and 3) be good enough to be “natural” when asked.
- Prepare to be Interviewed. Beyond anticipating questions, figure out what to wear, learn (research) about the company, make sure you’re not late, and all those practical matters. I would highly recommend “researching the company” beforehand, so you know some things about them (so as not to look stupid), and you get ideas on what you’d like to know (to figure out if this is a good company for you).
- Turn the Tables. Prepare a list of your own questions (e.g., how much will I be paid? What’s the company culture like?), so you have an agenda of your own. Your job is a bit part of your life, so you want to make sure it as good a match for you as it is for them.