One of my clients is a nurse who recently graduated. She hired me to compose a resume for her, which I did.  She realized, however, that the resume would get her an interview, but the rest was up to her. What she really wanted was a little help with interviews. She had no idea what she might be asked, let alone how to answer them

Spin Doctor to the rescue. I gave her a list of 10 interview questions. These age common questions aimed at having the interviewer assess how you might react in different situations. I asked her to study them, and I told her I would see how she was doing the next day.

Then I directed her to this blog to study what I consider to be the best answers for each.

Before I begin, it’s always a good idea to tell stories about yourself.

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

Don’t talk about your marital status, that you’re a single mom or anything about politics or religion. That’s not what is being asked. The interviewer wants to know about education, training and work history. You might think of including one interest here as well.

I became a fitness instructor for the sole purpose of saying that in an interview – not because it demonstrates my leadership capabilities, but to show that by hiring me there would likely be little lost time due to illness.

2. Tell me about a time when a client was dissatisfied with the service they were receiving. What did you do and what was the result?

Say that you listened, you identified a problem, you came up with some solutions and the client chose one. The client became a repeat customer.

3. Tell me about a time that you weren’t getting along with a co-worker. What did you do and what was the result?

This will be similar to the above one. You listened and identified a problem, posed some solutions, and this time since yyou are one of the players of the same team, you negotiated solutions.

Don’t get trapped. It is too easy to say that never happened to you. No interviewer will believe you, because it’s human to have this problem pop  up from time-to-time. As my father (Bump Broderick the tug boat captain used to say, “Mikee, if you aren’t on somebody’s shit list, you’re no damned good.”

4. What are your greatest strengths, and what is your greatest weakness?

Everyone has a weakness, however not many have something that they can say is a weakness that they’re doing something about.  List a few strengths, then identify a weakness. Say, for example, your weakness is public speaking, and your solution is to join toastmasters.

I once said my weakness was anything to do with computers, so I told the interviewer I bought one and wrote a book on it. I was using WordStar. I got that job, and within a few weeks had to teach MS Word. I stayed late practicing on a Sunday night. The next day, my manager came up and accused me of lying at my interview. I said computers were my weakness, yet  apparently the class was hanging on my every word.

“Innocent,” I said. “They were waiting for me to screw up.”

5. Why do you want to work here?

This is where all the research you did comes in handy.

6. Why should we hire you?

Look at your résumé and recite those Key Strengths

  • Flexible, dependable abd have an excellent workplace attitude
  • Supervisory experience with a hands on leadership style emphasising training and coaching
  • Etc.

7. What is a good team worker?

Someone who has strong communication skills – particularly listening, problem solving and negotiation.


8. What qualities do you have that make you a good team worker?

I have strong communication skills (listed above) and I often assume or relinquish a leadership  role to accomplish a task.

9. What are some qualities of leadership?

  • Ability to assume responsibility
  • Ability to delegate responsibility
  • Ability to make mistakes
  • Ability to correct mistakes

A leader is also one who has a good handle on their own style of leadership. For example, on my resume I state that I have a hands on and mentoring leadership style. I stand behind that’

10. Do you have any questions for us?

At risk of being accused of using bad grammar, “Don’t say nothing”

Say this instead. “What, in your opinion, would be the qualities of the best person for the position?”

Make mental notes as the  answer, and when they finished, point out how closely your skills, abilities and experience match their ideal. It’s your last chance to sell 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.
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. Sharon Says:

    Yup! I’ve been asked those questions on every job interview I’ve had, and that’s a lot.

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