black money, India, insurance, kyc, white money

Indian Insurance: factory to black to white money

Inputs from ET@ 17 Mar, 2013, 1022 hrs IST

In the first week of August 2006, the manager at a New Delhi branch of a life insurer had a very welcome customer come to him, through an agent. Sunder Lal (not his real name), a businessman with an annual turnover of Rs 2 crore, wanted to buy a single-premium unit-linked life insurance policy. What piqued the manager’s interest was that Lal wanted to buy a cover of Rs 10 crore, at a single premium of Rs 10 lakh.But there was one problem. Lal said he would pay about Rs 6 lakh through cheque and the balance through cash. At the time, guidelines issued by the insurance regulator required that any premium payments above Rs 50,000 could not be paid in cash. Faced with the prospect of losing business, the manager succumbed. What made it easier to manage the transaction was that software to spot such cash dealings was still in teething stages in the organisation.The Cost of a Free Look All insurance policies carry a ‘free look’ clause, which states that a policy can be surrendered to the insurer within 15 days for a full repayment of any premiums to the customer, after deducting administrative charges. Soon after taking the policy, Lal told the manager that he had changed his mind and wished to cancel the policy. Lal was returned about Rs 9.5 lakh, based on the net asset value of the policy on that date, and after deducting administrative charges. Lal promised the manager that he would return after a week to buy a new policy. He never did.After about 10 days, the manager read newspaper reports about Lal’s arrest — it turned out that Lal was the prime suspect in a drug smuggling racket. By paying for the policy partly in cash but getting back his money in cheque (from a government-owned company no less), Lal had managed to convert almost all his black money to white.This case study, which was published by the National Insurance Academy of Pune back in 2007, typifies a classic money-laundering tactic followed in the insurance business. A veteran life insurance agent that ET Magazine spoke to talks about the days before know-your-customer (KYC) norms when it was quite common for people to buy insurance policies with large wads of cash. “Sometimes the cash amounts were so large that about 8-10 people were needed just to count the money at the branch,” he says.However, the agent claims that these days when large payments are not allowed to be made in cash, incidents of money laundering have fallen drastically. However, given the disclosures in the Cobrapoststing operation earlier this week about the ways in which the KYC and anti-money-laundering procedures can be gamed, that assessment seems a tad optimistic.As much as the banking industry, perhaps even more, insurance is a sector highly vulnerable to money laundering. Given the maxim thatinsurance products are ‘sold, not bought’, it has an aggressive sales culture driven by agents, working on a commission basis; this often conflicts with any rules or norms that require asking too many probing questions of the customer and their source of funds. And finally, insurance products can be quite complex, which translates into multiple ways and means to exploit loopholes in norms.

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Bank Job, Graduate Job, India, Jan-2013, PO, Probationary Officer, SB

Probationary Officer posts in SBI Jan-2013

Probationary Officer posts in SBI Jan-2013

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 08:05 AM PST

STATE BANK Of INDIA (SBI)
Central Recruitment & Promotion Department (CRPD) Corporate Centre, Mumbai

 

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Recruitment of 1500 Probationary Officer (PO) in State Bank of India (SBI)

Applications are invited from eligible Indian Citizens for appointment as Probationary Officers (POs) in State Bank of India. Candidates selected are liable to be posted anywhere in India.  :

  • Probationary Officer (PO) : 1500 posts (UR-758, OBC-405, SC-225, ST-112) in various states in India , Pay Scale : Rs.14500-25700/-, Qualification : Graduation in any discipline from a recognised College / University, Age : 21-30 years as on 01/01/2013. Age relaxation as per Govt. rules.

Selection Procedure : Final selection will be made on the basis of performance in the written test on 28/04/2013.

Application Fee : Rs.200/- (for SC/ST/PWD Rs.50/- only) to be deposited in any branch of SBI by a prescribed deposit. Details of the payment should be entered in online application form.

How to Apply : Apply Online at SBI website from 30/01/2013 to 23/02/2013.

For more information, please visit the Recruitment page at SBI website http://www.sbi.co.in/ 

Equity, ETF, Financial knowledge, India, Rajiv

Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS)

If you are an Indian resident, earn less than Rs 10 lakh a year and have not done any equity transactions before 23 November 2012, then you are eligible for investing under the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS).
Under this scheme, first-time equity investors can invest up to Rs 50,000 in approved stocks and mutual funds and claim income tax deduction on 50 per cent of the amount under Section 80 CCG of the Income Tax Act. This is over and above the Rs 1 lakh limit under Section 80 C.
HOW TO INVEST:
To be eligible for investment under this scheme, you must open a demat account and designate the demat account for RGESS by submitting the duly signed ‘Form A’, which is available with brokerage houses.
 You can invest in any of the eligible mutual funds or stocks in lump sum or in installments during the year in which the deduction is to be claimed. Though any amount can be invested through the demat account, tax benefit will be available only on an investment of up to Rs 50,000.
The investments under the scheme would automatically be subject to lock-in during the first year. From second year onwards, you can sell the units of securities if you maintain the minimum amount for which you have claimed income tax benefit. Failing to do so will lead to reversal of the tax benefit availed.
The tax benefit under RGESS is available only for one year. If an investor has claimed a deduction once, he will not be allowed any deduction under the scheme in subsequent years.
One can invest in non-RGESS stocks and mutual funds through the same demat account and those investments would not be subject to conditions such as the lock-in of the scheme.
If you invest on the last trading day of the financial year, you get a three-day grace period so that the securities get credited in the demat account and you can avail tax benefit under the scheme
 
Eligible ETFs
  • Birla Sun Life Nifty ETF
  • Goldman Sachs Banking Index Exchange Traded Scheme
  • Goldman Sachs Nifty Exchange Traded Scheme
  • Goldman Sachs Nifty Junior Exchange Traded Scheme
  • Goldman Sachs S&P CNX Nifty Shariah Index Exchange Traded Scheme
  • IIFL NIFTY ETF
  • Kotak Nifty ETF
  • Motilal Oswal MOSt shares M50 ETF
  • Quantum Index Fund
  • R*Shares Banking Exchange Traded Fund
  • Religare Nifty Exchange Traded Fund
  • Kotak Sensex ETF
ETF, finanace, gold, India

ETF investment chnage

Under the proposed mechanism, banks are expected to loan the gold received from ETFs to jewellers and pass on a part of their returns from such loans to ETFs as interest income, which in turn will share the profits with their unitholders. “Better returns will ensure more participation in gold ETFs, which in turn will curb the demand for physical gold as the idle gold kept with ETFs will be utilised,”.

2013, CTS, Financial knowledge, Govt of India, India, March, RBI

New Indian Cheque Standard issued by RBI

Identify if your cheque(s) are CTS 2010 compliant.
Sample Cheque

As per the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), cheques books issued by the bank needs to be compliant with Cheque Truncation System (CTS) 2010 standards. As RBI is moving towards accepting only CTS 2010 compliant cheques, Non-CTS cheques should not be used post 31st March, 2013. Post dated cheques issued by you and due after 31st March 2013, needs to replace by CTS 2010 compliant cheques.

We are glad to inform that Axis Bank has started issuance of CTS 2010 cheque book post August 2011. In case you hold cheque books prior to August 2011, request you to immediately replace them with CTS 2010 compliant cheque books.

How does this benefit you?
Faster Clearing: CTS 2010 will eliminate the physical movement of cheques for clearing by transmitting the electronic images of the cheques, ensuring more efficient, secure and
quicker processing of your cheques.
Security: Your new security features in CTS 2010 cheques makes it easy for the banks to confirm the genuineness of the instruments (cheques) presented for clearing.
Safety against frauds: The enhanced security features of the new cheque format would
act as a deterrent against frauds in your accounts.
2013, Govt of India, holiday, India

Indian Holiday 2013

Central Government of India issued Order in F.No.12/4/2012-JCA-2 Government of India Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Personnel and Training) for holidays to be observed in 2013.
It has been decided that the holidays as specified in the Public Holidays 2013 to this O.M. will be observed in all the Administrative Offices of the Central Government located at Delhi/New Delhi during the year 2013.

Month
Day
Week Day
Name
January
25
Friday
Milad-Un-Nabi or Id-E-Milad (Birthday of Prophet Mohammad)
January
26
Saturday
Republic Day
March
27
Wednesday
Holi
March
29
Friday
Good Friday
April
19
Friday
Rama Navami
April
24
Wednesday
Mahavir Jayanti
May
25
Saturday
Budda Purnima
August
9
Friday
Idu’l Fitr
August
15
Thursday
Independence Day
August
28
Wednesday
Janmashtami
October
2
Wednesday
Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday
October
13
Sunday
Dussehra
October
16
Wednesday
Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid)
November
3
Sunday
Diwali (Deepavali)
November
14
Thursday
Muharram
November
17
Sunday
Guru Nanak’s Birthday
December
25
Wednesday
Chirstmas Day
Restricted Holidays 2013 –
Each employee will be allowed to avail himself/herself of any two holidays to be chosen by him/her out of the list of Restricted Holidays.
Restricted – Holidays 2013
Month
Day
Week Day
Name
January
1
Tuesday
New Year’s Day
January
13
Sunday
Makar Sankranti
January
14
Monday
Pongal
January
18
Friday
Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday
February
14
Thursday
Sri Panchami
February
15
Friday
Basanta Panchami / Sri Panchami
February
19
Tuesday
Shivaji Jayanthi
February
25
Monday
Guru Ravidas’ Birthday
February
16
Thursday
Swami Dayananda Saraswati Jayanti
March
10
Sunday
Maha Shivratri
March
26
Tuesday
Holika Dahan
March
31
Sunday
Ester Sunday
April
11
Thursday
Chaitra Sukladi / Gudi Padava / Ugadi / Cheti Chand
April
13
Saturday
Vaisakhi
April
13
Saturday
Vishu
April
14
Sunday
Mesadi
April
15
Monday
Vaisakhadi (Bengal)/Bahag Bihu (Assam)
May
9
Thursday
Guru Rabindranath’s Birthday
May
24
Friday
Hazarat Ali’s Birthday
July
10
Thursday
Rath Yatra
August
2
Friday
Jamat-UI-Vida
August
18
Sunday
Parsi New Year’s day
August
20
Tuesday
Raksha Bandhan
September
9
Monday
Vinayaka Chaturthi/Ganesh Chaturthi
September
16
Monday
Onam
October
11
Friday
Maha Saptami (Additional) (Dussehra)
October
12
Saturday
Dussehra (Maha Astami) (Additional)
October
13
Sunday
Dussehra (Maha Navami)
October
18
Friday
Maharishi Valmiki’s Birthday
October
22
Tuesday
Karaka Chaturdasi (Karva Chouth)
November
2
Saturday
Deepavali (South India)
November
2
Saturday
Narak Chaturdasi
November
3
Sunday
Govardhan Puja
November
5
Tuesday
Bhai Duj
November
8
Friday
Pratihar Sashthi or Surya Sashthi (Chhat Puja)
November
24
Sunday
Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day
December
24
Tuesday
Christmas Eve

India, security cover

India’s Security Cover

There ar 4 level of security cover
A. Z plus cover
B. Z category
C. Y category
D. X category

Under Z category security, the beneficiary is provided three constables in each shift besides a special escort vehicle with a sub-inspector or inspector and three constables. In Y class protection, three constables are deployed in each shift, and in X category, one constable is posted in each shift. Thus, by rough calculations, government allocated 18 constables.

India, Inspiration, TATA

Ratan N.Tata’s Farewell Letter

Ratan Tata, who stepped down as the chairman of the Tata group today as he turned 75, has written a warm farewell letter to his employees saying, “we have every reason to feel proud and feel confident in facing the challenges ahead”.

Mr. Tata handed over the reins of the $100 billion conglomerate to 44-year-old Cyrus Mistry today.
Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Colleague,
As 2012 comes to an end, let me wish you and your family all the best for the New Year. I hope that 2013 and the future years bring you good health, peace of mind and great happiness.

This is also the last time that I write to you prior to my retirement as the Chairman of the Tata Group and I want to convey to you how privileged I have been to have had the opportunity of leading this great Group over the last two decades through good times and bad.

Whatever has been achieved has only been possible because of the amazing spirit, the dedication of each one of you and the enormous support and faith reposed in me, for which I am deeply grateful and appreciative. I feel immensely proud of the manner in which the employees and the companies have come together in facing crises from time to time. These have included adverse market conditions, natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis and gruesome acts of terrorism.

The memories of personal sacrifices, loyalty and individual acts of heroism will always remain in my memory, to reinforce the great sense of pride I have in having been a member of this team. We today are a $100 billion Group in revenues. Over the past 20 years our revenues have grown about 20 times and today 58% come from overseas operations. Our brand has emerged as the 45th global and the number one Indian brand. Our products and services are present in 85 countries. We therefore have every reason to feel proud and feel confident in facing the challenges ahead.The difficult economic environment that we face in the current year will most likely continue through most of the next year.

We will probably see continued constraints in consumer demand, over-capacity and increased competition from imports. There will therefore be great pressure on our companies to reinvent themselves in terms of business processes and to dramatically reduce costs, to be more aggressive in the market place and to widen our product range to better address consumer needs. We will also need to contain our borrowings and work hard to retain our margins. This environment would once again call on you for your support, your commitment and your dedication to achieve success in these somewhat difficult times.This seemingly gloomy picture however will be a passing phase.

I feel confident that the robust growth that India has shown over the past several years will be re-established and the strong fundamentals in the country will result in India once again taking its place as one of the economic success stories of the region. The Tata Group will undoubtedly play an important role in the continued development of our country, providing leadership in various industrial segments in which they operate and living by the value systems and ethical standards on which our Group was founded. The future growth of the Group will be led in the coming years by Cyrus Mistry.

I am sure that he will receive from you the same support, the same commitment and the same understanding that I have enjoyed over the years. Tatas are a Group where I feel proud to have belonged and proud to have been associated through the years. I wish the Group, Cyrus Mistry and each of you great success in the years ahead. I hope the Group grows and shines in the coming years.


Yours sincerely, Ratan N. Tata, chairman, Tata Sons

cricket, India, sport

Some thing about the God of Sports: Sachin

image

 

•India’s GDP has grown by 453% since Sachin faced the first ball against Pakistan in Karachi 23 years back
•41 cores new Indians have been born during Sachin’s long career, taking the country’s population to 126 core, a whopping 48% increase.
•We were struggling as a nation when he came to power (yes, cricket has became a power in India). Our foreign reserves were at 5.83 billion dollars, Now at 280 billion dollars (become 48 times).
•Sensex has reached from 1050 to 18600
•Sachin was the 74th Indian to wear the ODI cap. Now we have 275, added 200 during his career. More than 70% of new additions have already retired.
•@ World Cups he has been more prolific than anywhere else, his total tally at WCs (2278 Run’s) is 30.6% greater than his closest and arch rival Ricky Ponting (1743 runs). And if you think he has played more, he has played 1 match less than Ponting in WCs. He has also hit 6 centuries and 21 Half tons.
•Sachin’s runs in WCs are more than any other player’s (Ok we all know that), but what’s more exciting is that his runs scored in WCs is greater than runs scored by as many as 8 test playing teams.

Here are a few very popular and noteworthy quotes about him by a few cricketing legends:
•I have seen GOD, he bats at no.4 for India in Tests: Mathew Hayden
•When you bowl at him you are not just trying to get him out, you are trying to impress him: Andrew Flintoff
•Sachin is a genius. I’m a mere mortal: Brian Charles Lara
•I am fortunate that I’ve to bowl at him only in the nets: Anil Kumble
•India me aap Prime Minister ko ek Baar Katghare me khada kar sakte hain..Par Sachin Tendulkar par Ungli nahi utha Sakte..Navjot Singh Sidhu
•He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also: Waqar Younis
•A banner once said-‘ I WILL SEE GOD WHEN I DIE, BUT TILL THEN I WILL SEE SACHIN TENDULKAR
•Sachin Tendulkar has often reminded me of a veteran army colonel who has many medals on his chest to show how he has conquered bowlers all over the world: Allan Donald
•There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others: Andy Flower
•If Sachin plays well…India sleeps well: Harsha Bhogle
•I would go to bed having nightmares of Sachin dancing down the ground and hitting me for sixes: Shane Warne

Experience, India, Interview, Knowledge, Placement, trick

64 Interview Answers You Should Know

Q1. Tell me about yourself

BEST ANSWER: Start with the present and tell why you are well qualified for the position. Remember that the key to all-successful interviewing is to Match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. In other words you must sell what the buyer is buying. This is the single most important strategy in job hunting.

Q2. What are your greatest strengths?

BEST ANSWER: You know that your key strategy is to first uncover your interviewer’s greatest wants and needs before you answer questions. And from Question 1, you know how to do this.

Q3. What are your greatest weaknesses?

PASSABLE ANSWER: Disguise a strength as a weakness.

Example: “I sometimes push my people too hard. I like to work with a sense of urgency and everyone is not always on the same wavelength.”

Drawback: This strategy is better than admitting a flaw, but it’s so widely used, it is transparent to any experienced interviewer.

BEST ANSWER: (and another reason it’s so important to get a thorough description of your interviewer’s needs before you answer questions): Assure the interviewer that you can think of nothing that would stand in the way of your performing in this position with excellence. Then, quickly review you strongest qualifications.

Q4 Tell me about something you did – or failed to do – that you now feel a little ashamed of.

BEST ANSWER: As with faults and weaknesses, never confess a regret. But don’t seem as if you’re stonewalling either.

Best strategy: Say you harbor no regrets, then add a principle or habit you practice regularly for healthy human relations.

Q5. Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?

BEST ANSWER: (If you have a job presently)

If you’re not yet 100% committed to leaving your present post, don’t be afraid to say so. Since you have a job, you are in a stronger position than someone who does not. But don’t be coy either. State honestly what you’d be hoping to find in a new spot. Of course, as stated often before, you answer will all the stronger if you have already uncovered what this position is all about and you match your desires to it.

If you do not presently have a job.)

Never lie about having been fired. It’s unethical – and too easily checked. But do try to deflect the reason from you personally. If your firing was the result of a takeover, merger, division wide layoff, etc., so much the better.

Q6. The “Silent Treatment”

BEST ANSWER: Like a primitive tribal mask, the Silent Treatment loses all it power to frighten you once you refuse to be intimidated. If your interviewer pulls it, keep quiet yourself for a while and then ask, with sincere politeness and not a trace of sarcasm, “Is there anything else I can fill in on that point?” That’s all there is to it.

Q7. Why should I hire you?

BEST ANSWER: By now you can see how critical it is to apply the overall strategy of uncovering the employer’s needs before you answer questions. If you know the employer’s greatest needs and desires, this question will give you a big leg up over other candidates because you will give him better reasons for hiring you than anyone else is likely to…reasons tied directly to his needs.

Q8. Aren’t you overqualified for this position?

BEST ANSWER: As with any objection, don’t view this as a sign of imminent defeat. It’s an invitation to teach the interviewer a new way to think about this situation, seeing advantages instead of drawbacks.

Q9. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

BEST ANSWER: Reassure your interviewer that you’re looking to make a long-term commitment…that this position entails exactly what you’re looking to do and what you do extremely well. As for your future, you believe that if you perform each job at hand with excellence, future opportunities will take care of themselves.

Q10. Describe your ideal company, location and job

BEST ANSWER: The only right answer is to describe what this company is offering, being sure to make your answer believable with specific reasons, stated with sincerity, why each quality represented by this opportunity is attractive to you.

Q11. Why do you want to work at our company?

BEST ANSWER: This question is your opportunity to hit the ball out of the park, thanks to the in-depth research you should do before any interview.

Best sources for researching your target company: annual reports, the corporate newsletter, contacts you know at the company or its suppliers, advertisements, articles about the company in the trade press.

Q12. What are your career options right now?

BEST ANSWER: Prepare for this question by thinking of how you can position yourself as a desired commodity. If you are still working, describe the possibilities at your present firm and why, though you’re greatly appreciated there, you’re looking for something more (challenge, money, responsibility, etc.). Also mention that you’re seriously exploring opportunities with one or two other firms.

Q13. Why have you been out of work so long?

BEST ANSWER: You want to emphasize factors which have prolonged your job search by your own choice.

Example: “After my job was terminated, I made a conscious decision not to jump on the first opportunities to come along. In my life, I’ve found out that you can always turn a negative into a positive IF you try hard enough. This is what I determined to do. I decided to take whatever time I needed to think through what I do best, what I most want to do, where I’d like to do it…and then identify those companies that could offer such an opportunity.”

Q14. Tell me honestly about the strong points and weak points of your boss (company, management team, etc.)…

BEST ANSWER: Remember the rule: Never be negative. Stress only the good points, no matter how charmingly you’re invited to be critical.

Your interviewer doesn’t care a whit about your previous boss. He wants to find out how loyal and positive you are, and whether you’ll criticize him behind his back if pressed to do so by someone in this own company. This question is your opportunity to demonstrate your loyalty to those you work with.

Q15. What good books have you read lately?

BEST ANSWER: Unless you’re up for a position in academia or as book critic for The New York Times, you’re not expected to be a literary lion. But it wouldn’t hurt to have read a handful of the most recent and influential books in your profession and on management.

Q16. Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized.

BEST ANSWER: Begin by emphasizing the extremely positive feedback you’ve gotten throughout your career and (if it’s true) that your performance reviews have been uniformly excellent.

Q17. What are your outside interests?

BEST ANSWER: Try to gauge how this company’s culture would look upon your favorite outside activities and be guided accordingly.

Q18. The “Fatal Flaw” question

BEST ANSWER: As every master salesperson knows, you will encounter objections (whether stated or merely thought) in every sale. They’re part and parcel of the buyer’s anxiety. The key is not to exacerbate the buyer’s anxiety but diminish it.

Q19. How do you feel about reporting to a younger person (minority, woman, etc)?

BEST ANSWER: You greatly admire a company that hires and promotes on merit alone and you couldn’t agree more with that philosophy. The age (gender, race, etc.) of the person you report to would certainly make no difference to you.

Q20. On confidential matters…

BEST ANSWER: Your interviewer may press you for this information for two reasons.

First, many companies use interviews to research the competition. It’s a perfect set-up. Here in their own lair, is an insider from the enemy camp who can reveal prized information on the competition’s plans, research, financial condition, etc.

Second, the company may be testing your integrity to see if you can be cajoled or bullied into revealing confidential data.

Q21. Would you lie for the company?

BEST ANSWER: Try to avoid choosing between two values, giving a positive statement which covers all bases instead.

Q22. Looking back, what would you do differently in your life?

BEST ANSWER: Indicate that you are a happy, fulfilled, optimistic person and that, in general, you wouldn’t change a thing.

Q23. Could you have done better in your last job?

BEST ANSWER: Again never be negative.

Example: “I suppose with the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do better, of course, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything of major consequence.”

Q24. Can you work under pressure?

BEST ANSWER: Absolutely…(then prove it with a vivid example or two of a goal or project accomplished under severe pressure.)

Q25. What makes you angry?

BEST ANSWER: Give an answer that’s suited to both your personality and the management style of the firm. Here, the homework you’ve done about the company and its style can help in your choice of words.

Q26. Why aren’t you earning more money at this stage of your career?

BEST ANSWER: You like to make money, but other factors are even more important.

Q27. Who has inspired you in your life and why?

BEST ANSWER: Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of Directors” – Leaders in your industry, from history or anyone else who has been your mentor.

Q28. What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?

BEST ANSWER: Be prepared with a good example, explaining why the decision was difficult…the process you followed in reaching it…the courageous or effective way you carried it out…and the beneficial results.

Q29. Tell me about the most boring job you’ve ever had

BEST ANSWER: You have never allowed yourself to grow bored with a job and you can’t understand it when others let themselves fall into that rut.

Q30. Have you been absent from work more than a few days in any previous position?

BEST ANSWER: If you have had no problem, emphasize your excellent and consistent attendance record throughout your career.

Also describe how important you believe such consistent attendance is for a key executive…why it’s up to you to set an example of dedication…and why there’s just no substitute for being there with your people to keep the operation running smoothly, answer questions and handle problems and crises as they arise.

Q31. What changes would you make if you came on board?

BEST ANSWER: You, of course, will want to take a good hard look at everything the company is doing before making any recommendations.

Q32. I’m concerned that you don’t have as much experience as we’d like in…

BEST ANSWER: This question is related to “The Fatal Flaw” (Question 18), but here the concern is not that you are totally missing some qualifications, such as CPA certification, but rather that your experience is light in one area.

Before going into any interview, try to identify the weakest aspects of your candidacy from this company’s point of view. Then prepare the best answer you possible can to shore up your defenses.

Q33. How do you feel about working nights and weekends?

BEST ANSWER: First, if you’re a confirmed workaholic, this question is a softball lob. Whack it out of the park on the first swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your style. Add that your family understands it. Indeed, they’re happy for you, as they know you get your greatest satisfaction from your work.

Q34. Are you willing to relocate or travel?

BEST ANSWER: First find out where you may have to relocate and how much travel may be involved.

Q35. Do you have the stomach to fire people? Have you had experience firing many people?

BEST ANSWER: Describe the rational and sensible management process you follow in both hiring and firing.

Q36. Why have you had so many jobs?

BEST ANSWER: First, before you even get to the interview stage, you should try to minimize your image as job hopper. If there are several entries on your resume of less than one year, consider eliminating the less important ones. Perhaps you can specify the time you spent at previous positions in rounded years not in months and years.

Q37. What do you see as the proper role/mission of…

…a good (job title you’re seeking);

…a good manager;

…an executive in serving the community;

…a leading company in our industry; etc.

BEST ANSWER: Think of the most essential ingredients of success for each category above – your job title, your role as manager, your firm’s role, etc.

Identify at least three but no more than six qualities you feel are most important to success in each role. Then commit your response to memory.

Here, again, the more information you’ve already drawn out about the greatest wants and needs of the interviewer, and the more homework you’ve done to identify the culture of the firm, the more on-target your answer will be.

Q38. What would you say to your boss if he’s crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks?

BEST ANSWER: Remember the rule stated earlier: In any conflict between values, always choose integrity.

Q39. How could you have improved your career progress?

BEST ANSWER: You’re generally quite happy with your career progress. Maybe, if you had known something earlier in life (impossible to know at the time, such as the booming growth in a branch in your industry…or the corporate downsizing that would phase out your last job), you might have moved in a certain direction sooner.

Q40. What would you do if a fellow executive on your own corporate level wasn’t pulling his/her weight…and this was hurting your department?

BEST ANSWER: Try to gauge the political style of the firm and be guided accordingly. In general, fall back on universal principles of effective human relations – which in the end, embody the way you would like to be treated in a similar circumstance.

Q41. You’ve been with your firm a long time. Won’t it be hard switching to a new company?

BEST ANSWER: To overcome this objection, you must point to the many ways you have grown and adapted to changing conditions at your present firm. It has not been a static situation. Highlight the different responsibilities you’ve held, the wide array of new situations you’ve faced and conquered.

Q42. May I contact your present employer for a reference?

BEST ANSWER: Express your concern that you’d like to keep your job search private, but that in time, it will be perfectly okay.

Q43. Give me an example of your creativity (analytical skill…managing ability, etc.)

BEST ANSWER: Remember from Question 2 that you should commit to memory a list of your greatest and most recent achievements, ever ready on the tip of your tongue.

Q44. Where could you use some improvement?

BEST ANSWER: Keep this answer, like all your answers, positive. A good way to answer this question is to identify a cutting-edge branch of your profession (one that’s not essential to your employer’s needs) as an area you’re very excited about and want to explore more fully over the next six months.

Q45. What do you worry about?

BEST ANSWER: Redefine the word ‘worry’ so that it does not reflect negatively on you.

Q46. How many hours a week do you normally work?

BEST ANSWER: If you are in fact a workaholic and you sense this company would like that: Say you are a confirmed workaholic, that you often work nights and weekends. Your family accepts this because it makes you fulfilled.

Q47. What’s the most difficult part of being a (job title)?

BEST ANSWER: First, redefine “difficult” to be “challenging” which is more positive. Then, identify an area everyone in your profession considers challenging and in which you excel. Describe the process you follow that enables you to get splendid results…and be specific about those results.

Example: “I think every sales manager finds it challenging to motivate the troops in a recession. But that’s probably the strongest test of a top sales manager. I feel this is one area where I excel.”

Q48. The “Hypothetical Problem”

BEST ANSWER: Instead, describe the rational, methodical process you would follow in analyzing this problem, who you would consult with, generating possible solutions, choosing the best course of action, and monitoring the results.

Q49. What was the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced?

BEST ANSWER:This is an easy question if you’re prepared. Have a recent example ready that demonstrates either:

1. A quality most important to the job at hand; or

2. A quality that is always in demand, such as leadership, initiative, managerial skill, persuasiveness, courage, persistence, intelligence, etc.

Q50. Have you consider starting your own business?

BEST ANSWER: Again it’s best to:

1. Gauge this company’s corporate culture before answering and…

2. Be honest (which doesn’t mean you have to vividly share your fantasy of the franchise or bed-and-breakfast you someday plan to open).

Q51. What are your goals?

BEST ANSWER: Many executives in a position to hire you are strong believers in goal-setting. (It’s one of the reason they’ve achieved so much). They like to hire in kind.

Q52. What do you for when you hire people?

BEST ANSWER: Speak your own thoughts here, but for the best answer weave them around the three most important qualifications for any position.

1. Can the person do the work (qualifications)?

2. Will the person do the work (motivation)?

3. Will the person fit in (“our kind of team player”)?

Q53. Sell me this stapler…(this pencil…this clock…or some other object on interviewer’s desk).

BEST ANSWER: Of course, you already know the most important secret of all great salesmanship – “find out what people want, then show them how to get it.”

Q54. “The Salary Question” – How much money do you want?

TRAPS: May also be phrases as, “What salary are you worth?”…or, “How much are you making now?” This is your most important negotiation. Handle it wrong and you can blow the job offer or go to work at far less than you might have gotten.

Q55. The Illegal Question

BEST ANSWER: Under the ever-present threat of lawsuits, most interviewers are well aware of these taboos. Yet you may encounter, usually on a second or third interview, a senior executive who doesn’t interview much and forgets he can’t ask such questions.

Q56. The “Secret” Illegal Question

BEST ANSWER: Remember that just because the interviewer doesn’t ask an illegal question doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. More than likely, he is going to come up with his own answer. So you might as well help him out.

Q57. What was the toughest part of your last job?

BEST ANSWER: State that there was nothing in your prior position that you found overly difficult, and let your answer go at that. If pressed to expand your answer, you could describe the aspects of the position you enjoyed more than others, making sure that you express maximum enjoyment for those tasks most important to the open position, and you enjoyed least those tasks that are unimportant to the position at hand.

Q58. How do you define success…and how do you measure up to your own definition?

BEST ANSWER: Give a well-accepted definition of success that leads right into your own stellar collection of achievements.

Q59. “The Opinion Question” – What do you think about …Abortion…The President…The Death Penalty…(or any other controversial subject)?

BEST ANSWER: In all of these instances, just remember the tale about student and the wise old rabbi. The scene is a seminary, where an overly serious student is pressing the rabbi to answer the ultimate questions of suffering, life and death. But no matter how hard he presses, the wise old rabbi will only answer each difficult question with a question of his own.

Q60. If you won $10 million lottery, would you still work?

BEST ANSWER: This type of question is aimed at getting at your bedrock attitude about work and how you feel about what you do. Your best answer will focus on your positive feelings.

Q61. Looking back on your last position, have you done your best work?

BEST ANSWER: To cover both possible paths this question can take, your answer should state that you always try to do your best, and the best of your career is right now. Like an athlete at the top of his game, you are just hitting your career stride thanks to several factors. Then, recap those factors, highlighting your strongest qualifications

Q62. Why should I hire you from the outside when I could promote someone from within?

BEST ANSWER: Help him see the qualifications that only you can offer.

Q63. Tell me something negative you’ve heard about our company…

BEST ANSWER: Just remember the rule – never be negative – and you’ll handle this one just fine.

Q64. On a scale of one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.

BEST ANSWER: Once again, never be negative. The interviewer will only resent criticism coming from you. This is the time to show your positivism.