1. To what extent would you be willing to travel for the job?
Sample excellent response: I am more than willing to travel. I understand the importance of going above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy customer requests is sometimes required and that Merrill Lynch's customer focus belief means that travel is expected in some circumstances. I am willing to make this commitment to do whatever it takes to develop that long-term relationship with a small business or client. It is only through this relationship that loyalty can be maintained and financial gains and growth can occur for both the client and Merrill Lynch. It is my understanding from other financial consultants that I have interviewed at Merrill Lynch that this occurs maybe one or two times a month.
2. Which is more important to you, the job itself or your salary?
Sample excellent response: A salary commensurate with my experience and skills is important, but it's only one piece of the package. Many other elements go into making up a compensation package, but more importantly, it's critical to me to enjoy what I'm doing, fit into the corporate cult
3. What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?
Sample excellent response: I am not depending on money to make me happy. What makes me happy is having a satisfying job that provides challenge and new situations daily.
4. Tell me about the salary range you're seeking.
Sample excellent response: I am sure that I am the candidate you are looking for. If you feel the same, then I'm sure your offer will be fair and commensurate with the value I can bring the company.
5. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way?
Sample excellent response: Recently my company asked for bids on a phone system for our new college campus. Two companies came in very close with their bids, and most of my department wanted to go with a vendor that we have used in the past. After I looked over the proposals, it was clear that this was the wrong decision. So, I talked individually with each member of our staff and was able to change their minds and get the best product that would save money and provide the highest quality.
1. Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
Sample excellent response: When I was a resident assistant at my college, a student I did not know asked me if he could use my phone to call another room. Although I did not know the student, I allowed him into my room. He used the phone and in the course of his conversation, he stated that he had just come from a fraternity party and was high from taking some drugs. Well after his conversation, I had to enforce the student conduct code by writing him up. He became very hostile towards me and would not give me any identification or information. I stood in the doorway to prevent him from leaving. I noted the serial numbers on his keys, so when the situation got to the point where I felt unsafe, I allowed the him to leave. I still preformed my job without jeopardizing my or his physical welfare.
2. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
Sample excellent response: I had a client come into the bank where I worked and request a $5,000 personal loan to "pay off some bills." In the customary review process, I determined that what was really needed was a $25,000 debt-consolidation loan. Rather than giving the customer a "quick-fix" to the problem, I logically solved the problem in a way that was in the best interest of both the bank and the client.
3. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
Sample excellent response: I've shown my ability to adapt by successfully working in several very different jobs. For example, I lived with a native family in Costa Rica. I worked as a nanny for a famous writer in Cape Cod. I was responsible for dealing with Drug Court participants. And I catered to elite country-club clientele. I did it all well and had no trouble adapting.
4. Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
Sample excellent response: Arriving at the language school I was attending in Costa Rica in the middle of the night with very minimal Spanish-language skills, I found my way to a very small town with no street addresses or names and found my temporary residence. I was scared, but I handled the situation very well, very calmly. In very stressful situations, I am always the one in the group to stay calm and focused. My friends, family, and professors have always said that I am an oasis of calm in a storm.
5. Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
Sample excellent response: This happens often in the IT industry, but one recent example was when we had a core backbone switch die. It died at the worst possible time -- during exams -- as they always seem to do, and I needed to get it back up and running quickly. I analyzed the logs and system status, and using my previous experience, I made some quick decisions that rectified problem and got the equipment back up only minutes later.
1. Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across.
Sample excellent response: As an Administrative Coordinator, I had a staff of 27 students. Having such a large student staffs all working different shifts and having varying class schedules meant that meetings could not be held with everyone at one time. I needed to communicate with everyone about important policies and information often, so I came up with the idea of designing a Web page for my staff with written announcements. Each Desk Assistant was required to check the Web page daily at the beginning of his/her shift. I also sent email communications by a distribution list that allowed each Desk Assistant to keep informed about anything. The one situation that stands out in my mind is a last-minute summer camp that decided to come in a day early with only one day's notice. I had no staff scheduled to check in the camps or to organize the keys. I posted an to the Web page and sent an email. Within four hours, I had the following day completely staffed and desk assistants there to organize room keys for the campers that night.
2. Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
Sample excellent response: When I worked at Home Depot as an assistant manager, I was always looking for way to boost my employees' morale. Unloading trucks is a very routine and physical job and can become very boring and exhausting, so to improve the unloaders' attitude toward their duties and make the best of the situation, I put a radio in the receiving dock. It worked; however, the district manager did not approve of the radio in the workplace even though it did not interfere with any set policy of company objectives. The radio was also out of any areas where customers would hear the music. I did not agree with my DMs decision to remove the radio; however, I understood his point of view once he explained it to me and promptly complied to his request. The employees were not happy that their radio was gone, so I found an alternative method of reward and morale boosting by implementing a program in which we provided lunch for the unloaders from any restaurant of their choice if they unloaded the trucks faster than normal. This program succeeded by increasing their unloading time from 2 1/2 hours to only 1 1/2, a savings in payroll of 8 percent of sales for that shift.
3. Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
Sample excellent response: As a senior in high school, my goal was to attend college and play college golf. But I was nowhere near the player I needed to be to play or even get on the team. So over that summer I worked on my golf game to the point where I won almost every tournament I entered. I spent every hour I had during the day to make myself a better all-around player. I eventually walked on my freshmen year and was exempted from qualifying because I played so well in my first outing.
4. Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete.
Sample excellent response: The most significant presentation I have ever had to present was at a national research symposium. I was presenting research I had completed on digital analysis of mammograms and had to present to a panel of more than 100 judges who were at the top of their field. I focused on the research, which could sell itself, and just let the information flow. It went over very well, and I received many more invitations to present the research, including on national television.
5. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
Sample excellent response: Although I had already punched out, I stayed behind to help a colleague solve a problem. A customer was very angry as he had waited very long for his coffee. My colleague was new, she was quite slow. I came out and explained things to the customer.Although he was very angry at first, I just listened to him and told him that we try to bring our best out to each customer who walks in to our store. After a one-hour discussion, he left with a happy face and was satisfied.