Freshers - Competitor presses to reveal information

This looks like a no-win situation- traps both ways. You tell them all, and they judge you as untrustworthy. You refuse to reveal the information they are seeking, the interviewer might be displeased with you. They might think that you are stubborn or suspicious.

To tackle this situation, consider the interviewer’s motives. There could be two reasons. The first is to really get information about competition. Some companies really make use of interviews for this purpose- to get information about the competitor’s plans, R&D moves and financial status. They have a great opportunity, as they have got an insider from the enemy camp in their den.

Another reason could be that the company is testing your integrity- if someone could cajole or pressurize you to reveal confidential information.

There is only one right way to handle this. Do not ever divulge anything that is not supposed to be revealed about your current or previous employer. However go about this in a diplomatic way. Explain that you would like to share as much information as possible. However you do not want to violate the trust the previous/current employer has placed on you, just as the interviewer would expect their own employees to behave while talking with their competitors.

Whenever your own achievements have something to do with such confidential information from the previous employer, go about it only in such a way that does not compromise the company’s security. In other words, put yourself in the place of your previous/current employer. If you were this person, would you have felt compromised if somebody shared this piece of information with a competitor? If your answer is yes, refrain from divulging the information.

In other words, this is a test between your willingness to co-operate and your integrity. Integrity has to be your choice in such a situation- there is nothing as valuable as that. Also remember that the interviewer invariably loses respect for you once you have shared the information.

21. Would you be prepared to lie for the company?

This is yet another tricky question. The interviewer is trying to get you choose between loyalty and integrity. Avoid making any such choice and form your answer in such a way that it covers all the basic principles. Say something like you will never take any step that would hurt the company. In case the interviewer presses you to make a yes/no answer, stick to integrity.

22. When you look back, what are the things you think you should have done differently in your life?

The interviewer here is looking for traces of negativity, like mistakes that have had a major impact on your life, regrets, disappointments or other problems that may still have an effect on your personality and performance.

Do not bring up any such issues at the interview- it will only lead to negative marks. It might suggest that your heart may not be fully with your work. Your answer should reflect that you are a happy, fulfilled person and that you have a cheerful and optimistic outlook.

E.g. “I have so far had a good life, with plenty of opportunities and experiences to learn and grow. I also believe that the best is yet to come. I can’t think of anything I would like to change”

23. Do you think you could have done better in your last job?

Remember that this is not a time for a confession session. Avoid anything that smacks negativity.

E.g. “When one looks back, one always finds better ways things could have been done, but there is nothing of major consequence that comes to my mind”

If the interviewer expects more explanation, narrate a situation where things went slightly off track not due to you, but external conditions that anyone would accept were beyond your control. It could be a campaign, a product launch, a merger or acquisition that looked promising, but didn’t quite come up to expectations. You could sum it up with “I wish we knew this earlier, but since we couldn’t have known it, we had to do it this way. However we did learn from this experience.”

24. How confident are you of working under pressure?

The answer is obvious, but you have to make it convincing. Support your answer with one or two good examples of targets achieved under severe pressure. The more vivid your account, the better.

25. Tell me what makes you angry.

Your answer should project enough of a cool head combined with assertiveness. The answer should match both your personality and the work culture of the company you are interviewing. The research you have done about the company comes in handy here again, as it can help you to decide the words you choose for your answer.

Case 1: You generally come across as a reserved person or the company’s style is coolly professional.

“I am somewhat cool headed and positive by nature. This has helped to keep my department running smoothly and get co-operation from people. I make it a point to communicate clearly what is expected. I also believe in getting people committed to these goals and then following up with them regularly to monitor the progress”

“When something goes off track, I would like to know about it at the earliest point. I will also want to know the reason why the work is not getting done, after a clear discussion has already taken place. I will get impatient if I find that there isn’t sufficient reason for this and also take early action to eliminate the error. However I believe such instances rarely happen if regularly get good people, motivate them towards excellence and also follow up regularly”

Case 2: If you are a feisty/ sanguine person or the position requires a tough talking boss.

“Well it is very simple. It is when people… (find what are the most objectionable/ problematic traits/ deeds for the position and use them to describe what gets you angry. It could be an unsystematic approach, lack of initiative, rudeness towards people etc.)”

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