The other day one of my clients had an interview. It was for a social services position, and it she was the successful candidate, she would be helping unemployed people find work.

“I really blew it,” she told me. “I simply couldn’t think of examples that for some of the behavioural interview questions.”

I thought that was strange. We had gone over quite a few questions. We also went over the theory behind behavioural interview questions. Basically they are designed to give an employer an idea of how they would handle different types of questions. I also told her that the best answers are ones where the candidate could be described as doing something about the situation, and then evaluating the state of affairs after whatever the candidate did was done. Hopefully there would be an improvement.

Failing that, hopefully the candidate could describe what was learned by the process.

In my client’s case, even though she froze in the process, she wasn’t shown the door. Instead, she was given an opportunity to answer the questions at home.

They either are really interested in hiring her, but they need to have a record of some thoughtful responses, or they really need the answers as they themselves are trying to solve very similar to to the one asked in the interview.

I hope for the former, but my natural inborn sense of scepticism causes me to suspect the latter. I suspect that most businesses are in the business of solving problems that are sufficiently difficult to warrant hiring a consultant to answer. Who could possibly be a better consultant than someone who has been boning up on answers for behavioural interview questions? They might offer interesting and fresh approaches to problems. Those interview questions are so hard because the potential employers need the answers.

When it comes down to it, employers are only looking for three things of a candidate in an interview:
1. Are he/she going to like us?
2. Are we going to like him or her?
3. Is he/she going to solve all our problems?

Speaking of evaluating the aftermath of your actions on situations requiring candidate interventions , here are a few I learned along the way:
• When driving a rental vehicle that was in an accident, rather than own up, it’s better to say something like, “I don’t want to hear about that dent in the roof. “
• When your cell phone goes off in a no-cell phone zone such as a city hall chamber meeting and somebody complains to a supervisor who, in turn, tells you how pissed off they were, it’s best to say. “Nonsense. Having an opportunity to gripe about it was probably the most exciting thing that happened to him all week.”
• Never call an interviewer whom you thought was a friend a, “Squid –faced son of a bitch unless you’re prepared to face a few extra weeks of unemployment
• When asked what you did to prepare for the interview, don’t say, “I had an interview earlier today for a position that pays twice as much as your offering.”
• Never brag about pulling the boss’ tail in an interview – especially at a board meeting.

Here are a few tips of things you should do say in an interview:
• Mention hou you are community minded and talk about research you did on a problem that is marginally related to the job
• Talk about volunteering and mention how your contacts that you’ve made and how they can be helpful to your success on the new job.
• Use humour in your answers to show that you are awake, aware, and know how to prusuade people.
• Be yourself.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there “aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look like.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105 If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



  1. energywriter Says:

    Great info presented in a funny way. Loved it, but it had a few word errors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: