Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century

Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century

by Donna Chlopak PhD


Publisher iUniverse

Published in Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nonfiction, Business & Investing/Job Hunting & Careers, Business & Money

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Special Pricing

Paperback is $13.95 and the electronic edition is 3.99

Book Description


Based on the Chinese Proverb -give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime, Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century provides the reader with the tools necessary to be successful on their career journey.

Sample Chapter

Chapter 7: Interviewing

If you pass the hurdle of the cover letter and resume and are called for an interview you have the opportunity to further your case to convince the employer to hire you. It is important that you prepare for this interview whether it is in-person or on the phone. Either way, it is important for you to present yourself in the best possible way. This includes visual, verbal and non-verbal means. When you are scheduled for an interview, being on time is critical. It sends the message that you feel this is a priority and you know how to manage your time – two key messages to send to a perspective employer.

The main focus of this section will be in-person interviewing as several of the areas relate to both. Preparing for any interview involves research of the company and position so that you can show that you are the right person for the position in terms of qualifications and fit with the company’s culture. Being able to do the job is only part of what the interviewer will be looking for, as fitting in with the company culture will help ensure that if hired you will be successful.

Of course, when you go in for an interview you must know where the interview will take place, how to get there (on time) and what to wear (the company look). In any interview ‘fitting in” is a first step and it begins with the first impression that the interviewer has of you:

(Sections 2 and 3 are in the book)

Section 3: Overview of the Process – Q&A and Q&A

Interviewer Questions: Most interviewers will begin asking questions based off of your resume and cover letter. They will ask to find out more in depth about your stated accomplishments and what you have done in the past so that they can determine how that fits with what they are looking for in an ideal candidate.

There are many common questions and areas that are used by most interviewers during the interview process. Below are listed a number of common interview questions.

As a beginning an interviewer will often ask the candidate the open-ended question: “Tell me about yourself.” This is where your ‘elevator speech’ comes in. An elevator speech is a forty-five to ninety- second autobiographical introduction. It comes from the idea, if you were to meet someone in an elevator, what would you say about yourself in the brief time before the door opened for your floor, to interest him or her, in learning more about you. Of course if you were thinking about the ‘elevator speech’ that you would give to someone you just met at a bar or a party, it would be somewhat different. When a prospective employer asks about you, it is your opportunity to engage them first thing so that the rest of the interview can be focused around your being an ideal candidate for the position. Of course this takes both practice and knowing about the company and position beforehand (the reason for the Informational Interviews discussed in Chapter 2). This is one question you can prepare for as it is very often asked.

A second area of inquiry is often around you and specifically your fit for the position. Below are a series of potential questions that could be asked:

What do you see as your strengths?

What do you most enjoy in your current position?

What do you least enjoy in your current job?

What are your weaknesses?

What obstacles have you overcome?

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest accomplishment so far?

Why do you feel you are an ideal/good candidate for this job?

Why should I hire you?

Why do you want to work for this company?

Why are you interested in leaving your current position?

What would your current boss say about you if I asked?

Tell me about your leadership experiences?

What do you find the most challenging when working in a team?

Appendix L: Has a listing of potentially ‘scary’ job interview questions as they could put the interviewee on the defensive. You will need to be prepared for all types of questions and the tough ones are often those that can set you apart from the crowd. In addition, Appendix M has a list of ‘Potential Opportunity Questions’ that will provide you a chance to show you are an ideal candidate and more fitting than the rest.

Sometimes has feedback from candidates who have had interviews at certain companies and they post the questions that they were asked. This might also give you some idea about what to expect in the interview.

Do Not Sweat: If you are prepared, and you take your time, you can get through anything. Sometimes interviewers ask ‘oddball’ questions, to see the interviewee’s reaction or they may even have a set answer that they are looking for, even though to the regular person, it escapes them.

Curve Ball Questions: I remember many years ago, when I was in the process of applying for graduate school, I was asked what I felt was a strange interview question. I was asked, “What do you want written on your tombstone?” My answer was, “I don’t know as I have never really thought about that.” The interviewer didn’t like my response and curtly said to me, ‘well everyone is going to die’. Now that it has been many years later, I have often thought about what I could have said but still feel that my response was honest and adequate. Being true to yourself is important and should support a fit with the culture of the company.

In another interview I was asked, “What type of artwork would you want to hang on the wall behind your desk?’ The interviewer obviously didn’t like my answer (I said something about animals), and when I asked him what my answer should have been he said, that I should have said a mirror, so that I could see who was behind me at all times, if I had my back to the door. Although, I didn’t get that position, I felt that his response helped me to know that I wasn’t a fit for the culture of that company and therefore, not being offered the position was fine with me.

In Appendix N I have listed several questions that have been asked by various companies and that might not seem to make any sense to the regular interviewer or interviewee but they have been asked. That being stated, my advice is to be calm and answer as best you can.


Excerpted from "Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century" by Donna Chlopak PhD. Copyright © 2016 by Donna Chlopak PhD. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Donna Chlopak PhD

Donna Chlopak PhD

I am a Ph.D. Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and a college professor. My book is based on the University course that I have developed and taught over the past 6 years. The book is called - Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century - Navigating the Career Waters to Find and Land a Choice Position and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to find a job - no matter what career stage they are in. It is based on the Chinese Proverb that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime and a career journey is one of a lifetime. More information can be found at

View full Profile of Donna Chlopak PhD

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