by Ian Iacocca –

How do you behave at a new job?

Hmm…perfect question. The interviewers want to know what type of person you are. Do you chill and just wait for stuff to come to you or do you take charge (not in an annoying way) and ask to be challenged with some more work.

Here’s what I would say: “I’m a good listener and I really try to take in my responsibilities. I’m a vigorous note taker, I write everything down to solidify the concepts that are in mind. I like to meet a lot of different people in different departments and build relationships with them. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve asked for help and the people you would least expect helped me understand the skills that I needed. After I’ve gotten my responsibilities, I try to ask a lot of questions. That way I know exactly what to do. After I leave the initial meeting with the supervisor, I plan out how I’m going to do each of my preliminary tasks. If I have any questions, of course I go back to my supervisor to ask questions to understand the best way of doing the things. I also come up with my own suggestions and make sure how I know how to explain them. Because, when I go back to the supervisor, we can take the best of both methods. If my method is not accepted, I’m not discouraged, I try to learn the lesson and see why the other method was better. I write that down and then remember those facts the next time I have my own ideas. I’m really a visionary, I want to find the best ways of doing things, even if it’s not my own suggestions.”


This is pretty self-explanatory. I want to show that I am a take-charge individual, ready to make change, but I also respect the experience of my supervisors. I am willing to listen to them and take the best method for all parties. No one likes a cocky know-it-all and no one likes a bean-counter. We have to find a happy medium between the two. You also take notes. I didn’t say “so I don’t forget anything,” because that shows that you *need* to take notes. You also want to show that you fit in the company culture. You’re devoted to building relationships with people that not even in your department, because you’re a happy team-player.


“How to deal with lazy coworkers?”

Hmm…the most interesting questions that interviewers ask are these catch 22 types. You feel kinda screwed either way you answer them. Well there’s a solution. Every time you give a negative, give a positive as well.

Here’s what I would answer:

“Well, I can remember when I was lazy myself a long time ago. Then it all shifted for me when I found what I loved to do, which is [marketing, sales, engineering, human resources, whatever]. So I can effectively connect with most people that are still in that phase. I’d like talk to them and build a relationship with them. Obviously if you have a deadline to go through, I’d have to pursue more drastic measures, but this scenario is long-term. Usually, all people have something they love to do. I’d mentor them and help them become the best at that thing that they like doing. If need be, we could have a talk with the managers and work out a win-win-win for everyone.

Short-term: if he/she was on my team, I’d have to ask him/her again what they like doing and I’d focus on doing the rest. If that didn’t work, we’d go for discussion with supervisors for the next steps. My goal is to make them driven toward what they love to do. But I understand that it’s a bit idealistic and not always possible. And in that case, drastic times call for drastic measures. And I’d have to see what the supervisors think.”


Here I’m showing that I’m committed to entire success of the company not just myself. Companies love that! Also, I really want other people to love what they do, and I want to be a leader to them. I also don’t have my head in the clouds though. Business is about efficiency. If I can’t help and I still have to work with lazy coworkers, we can take that to the supervisor level.


“How to deal with work related stress?”

Let’s see. Talented people like to strive so they’re competitive and stress in low quantities is a good thing for them. How can one project that?

My answer: “I do consider myself a fairly competitive individual. I work hard and want to do my best, so I do have some stress at times. But that’s usually a good thing, because it helps me do well. In the past years, I pursue a well-rounded life. At work I like to drink lots of water, eat small meals, and take short breaks here and there to rejuvenate my mind. Obviously, sometimes breaks can’t be taken, like in the middle of important meetings. In that case, I push through the stress and relax and detach after its over. When I’m in the zone, I like to be in there 100%. When I go home, I try to relax from work, just sitting and doing some reading. I usually get plenty of rest, so that I’m energized in the morning. All of these tasks combined, gives me my minimal stress level.”


I do show that I’m competitive and committed to success. So like a normal human being, I do experience stress. But I actively do things to limit that stress to a minimum. Again, I don’t let these activities take away from my work. I take breaks when I can, and when I can’t I don’t.

The end,

I hope you have greater confidence and happiness in getting your dream job, even though people say that 2008 is going to “suck” for the job market. Let’s have fun proving them wrong!


Success and Enthusiasm,

Ian Iacocca

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