Blaine and Associates

Blaine and Associates

Monday, May 13, 2013

20 Best Interview Questions of All Time

The 20 best interview questions of all time

Written by + - 7,480 views

QuestionsAnd the reasons behind them…

The fact is most interviewers decide within 5 minutes of meeting whether the candidate in front of them is worth pursuing.  Often, then, the interview process that follows is an elongated charade with no particular purpose.  However, along the way many intuitive questions are asked of prospective employees and the shrewd recruiter is armed with posers designed to identify the candidate’s skills and emotions, tricking and cajoling along the way.
Here are my top 20 interview questions which, if asked in one sitting, would certainly identfy a fake from a flyer:
1.  What circumstance brings you here today?
One of the best opening questions ever, where candidates reveal problems with their current employer, potential insubordination, and both positive or negative character traits.
2.  Which three people (famous or otherwise) would you most like to invite to a dinner party?
Offers insight into the candidate’s personality.  Some go for safe options, whilst others may be more risky or exhibit signs of humour or quirkiness.
3.  What felt unfair to you in your last job?
A great way of finding out what makes someone tick and what they stand for
Great white shark4.  What’s your favourite animal and why?
Sub-consciously most people consider an animal they believe most accurately personifies them.  This is a good question to identify personality traits.
5.  What type of work environment do you prefer?
There is little point hiring people who do not fit the company’s culture.  This question identifies the candidate’s likely fit, aside from the ability to do the job.
6.  My partner and I are planning a holiday, where would you recommend?
This question allows you to speak about a topic outside of the job role, breaking down barriers and exploring the candidate’s ‘non-interview’ personality.
7.  What are you most passionate about?
The answer doesn’t really matter but the way they answer does.  The best candidates respond very quickly, sit forward slightly and are usually very animated.  Never hire anyone without a passion for something.
8.  What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
The candidate is forced to open up and be honest, whilst allowing the interviewer an opportunity to explore how the candidate handles challenges.
9.  Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
The answer to this question will be a great insight into the candidate’s confidence as well as providing a great exploratory topic of conversation.
Risk10.  What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Studies indicate that people who take risks are generally more successful than those who do not.  But too many mavericks in one organisation can be disruptive…Discussion on this can be very revealing.
11.  Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
This question identifies motivations and affords personality insights.
12.  When I call your old boss what will they say about you?
Other than asserting the point that you will be taking references, this question asks the candidate to think about how they feel they are perceived by their previous (or current) employer, testing their ability to think on the spot and align the answer to the job they are interviewing for.
13.  Why are you interested in this job?
Is the candidate interested in your job or any job?  Have they researched the company and understood what’s been mentioned throughout the interview?
14.  If you could be anyone else who would it be?
Provides the opportunity for further analysis of personality traits and creativity.
15.  What are the biggest strengths you would bring to this organisation?
Aligned with question 13, the answer affords the interviewer the chance to gauge the candidate’s perception of how their skills and personality would help drive the company forward, whilst testing their ability to assert themselves.
Angry16.  What makes you angry?
Helps understand personality traits and motivations.
17.  What are the first 5 things you’d do if you got this position?
Tests what the candidate has understood from the interview and how they perceive their skills and personality would add value to the company and role.  Confident individuals are likely to look at the company culture as well as the job function itself.
18.  If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
This question helps explore the candidate’s personality and creativity.
19.  Why do giraffes have such long necks?
The factual truth behind this question (there’s conjecture over whether it’s for food or fighting advantages) is incidental, as it is a great way to explore the candidate’s creativity – or natural history knowledge! 
20.  What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Everyone has an achievement of some kind (if they haven’t, don’t employ them!) so this question identifies motivational traits and passion.  It is also a great way to end the interview on a positive note.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Brand New Job Listings!

2 Entertainment Executive Assistants - Los Angeles, CA $75,000 - $80,000

Our client is in search of two outstanding EA's that can do it all and do it right. You will be working for a team of executives that travel day and night, never have a phone not ringing and never have a schedule that is not changing. This position is not for the faint of heart - you have to be fast, forward thinking and love running the lives of others. You will be responsible for:

- Maintaining calendar for executives
- Managing a heavy volume of incoming phone calls
- Scheduling meetings
- Managing the flow of incoming and outgoing material
- Coordinate travel arrangements,domestic and international
- Processing expense reports,
- Heavy client servicing

We would like our candidates to have the following qualifications:

- BA/BS Degree
- 5+ Years as an executive assistant supporting a "C Suite" executive
- Entertainment Industry experience
- Special Event experience
- Team-player
- Maintain confidential information
- Knows how to prioritize
- Strong writing skills
- Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook

Senior Accountant for Private Equity Firm, West Los Angeles $75,000+ DOE + bonus

Our client is rapidly expanding and in search of a solid Senior Accountant. You will be rewarded with great pay, outstanding bonuses, and blue chip benefits. You will need to have the following skill set:

- Financial reporting – monthly, quarterly and annual reporting package preparation
- Maintain accuracy of general ledger
- Airplane accounting
- Monthly reconciliation of parent and subsidiary books
- Preparation of monthly billing
- Assist with preparation of audited financial statements
- Prepare quarterly Debt Covenant calculation
- Prepare quarterly Fee share calculation
- Update Access database and Quarterly Revenue accruals
- Assist with Budget to actual analysis
- File quarterly Commercial Rent Tax Returns
- File quarterly MA Health Care Filing
- City of LA Business Property Statement preparation
- Foreign Tax Withholding calculation
- Assist with partnership tax filings
- Write up accounting procedures and guidelines
- Renew business license and ensure compliance with local tax jurisdictions
- Cash flow projections


- Bachelor degree in Accounting (CPA / MBA / Big 4 combination preferred)
- 3+ years of public or corporate accounting experience (mix preferred)
- Strong analytical and communication skills
- High level knowledge of Excel and Access
- Prior experience with large ERP financial systems (Great Plains preferred)
- Asset management experience is a plus


Our client is looking for a District manager with 8+ years experience in a similar role. You will develop and effectively implement all aspects of the company
goals, constantly seeking new and innovative methods for increasing sales and enhancing the corporate image. You will show a high degree of personal sales
performance and the ability to manage a “profit center”.

Areas of Responsibility

People Development

· District Manager is responsible for personnel development through recruiting selection and training based on the fundamentals of “MANAGEMENT BY EXCELLENCE”.
· Keep at least three active candidates per market for all direct reports in hiring process at all times.
· Physically meet with at least one recruited candidate a quarter.
· Implement and manage field-training programs.
· Conduct quarterly reviews of “direct reports”.

Growth / Profit

· District manager is a profit center manager who is expected to meet their pre-determined profit contribution goals.
· Implement and achieve a growth plan in conjunction with Regional or Division Manager.
· Provide sales leadership by personally selling new customers weekly to achieve company goals.
· Protect the profit margins of the District through price management and regular customer visitation.
· Review customer base and introduce new allied products.
· Team sell with Branch Managers and Territory Manages where applicable.

· Conduct regular district meetings for training and sales improvements.
· Responsible for directing and motivating his people to achieve sales goals.
· Aggressively take action to achieve planned contribution.

Planning / Administrative Responsibilities

· Must be able to demonstrate proficiency in technology – Excel, SAP, Word for customer analysis.
· District manager is responsible for administering all company policies and procedures within his district.
· District manager works closely with the Regional manager in the Company’s annual budgeting and planning process.
· Communicate itinerary and activity reports on schedule.
· Follow up on all promotions and price changes.
· Monitor all inspection reports for due dates.
· Follow company procedure for checking messages.

Customer Relations

· Represents the Company in a professional manner.
· Regular visitation of key customers to build loyalty utilizing key account book.
· Follow up on all problem calls as necessary.
· Establishes a relationship with key customers so that the customer is satisfied with the company’s products and services.
· Implement an aggressive customer protection plan.
· Develop a personal relationship with decision makers in key accounts.

Service Commitment

· Coordinate sales and service calls.
· Follow up on service calls to determine if Job Standards are met.
· Adopt a “No Matter What” attitude toward protection of the customer base.
· Support National Accounts in their effort to expand the customer base and provide good customer service.

Manage and Expense Control

· Manage receivables, product inventory, inventory turns and equipment inventory through audits.
· Monitor vehicle maintenance and expenses.
· Monitor equipment and parts inventories in warehouses and trucks.
· Review equipment payout in all accounts.
· Review and submit all equipment requisitions to Regional or Division office for approval.
· Review all expense reports for approval.

Safety Responsibility

· Manage company vehicle policies.
· Follow and reinforce company safety procedures.
· Control vehicle expenses through proper maintenance and defensive driving.
· DOT and Defensive driving standards within the District must be kept current.

Portfolio Accountant for West Side Finance Firm ($65,000+ DOE+ Bonuses)

You will be responsible for all aspects of day-to-day accounting for multiple Capital Market and Private Equity Funds. Major responsibilities include, addressing client requests,preparing valuations, statement of cash flows and IRR returns, reviewing management fee calculations, reviewing financial statements, and planning and executing capital calls and distributions. The candidate will serve as a liaison between Accounting team, Portfolio teams, Custodians, Administrators, Auditors, and Third-party vendors.


- Prepare valuations, statements of cash flows and IRR returns for all Funds
- Review financial statements
- Plan and execute capital calls and distributions (prepare and review of letters and schedules, tracking, confirmations)
- Weekly update for the Portfolio team on cash balances
- Manage audit and tax engagements / addressing audit and tax requests
- Address client requests
- Clear items from the asset reconciliation
- Address requests from the Portfolio team
- Process private transaction closes (funding of new investments)
- Commence portfolio accounting for new Funds
- Collect underlying K-1s and provide to Tax auditors
- Update back-office team on investment activity
- Manage and serviceaccount credit facilities
- Prepare portfolio review materials
- Work on special projects
- Assist with coverage of other funds and projects as needed
- Liaise between the back-office, custodian, and portfolio groups


- Minimum of 3-5+ years of related experience in asset management/ fund accounting
- Bachelor’s degree in accounting
- Strong MS Office skills
- Detail-oriented with the ability to synthesize multiple sources of information
- Strong analysis and decision-making skills
- Strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
- Strong ability to prioritize, organize, and manage time
- Ability to manage multiple projects and work well under pressure
- Independent, self-starter with strong organizational skills
- Ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with all levels of employees and management

Entertainment Legal Assistant Floater, Century City, CA ($16.00 - $20.00 hourly)

Work for one of the best entertainment law firms in the country. Our client is looking for an assistant with entertainment background, not legal experience, to work as a floater in their firm. This is a long-term temporary assignment that may go perm. it is an opportunity to learn and get paid. If you want legal
experience and want to learn from the best, this is an excellent opportunity,


- 3+ years entertainment assistant experience
- Strong typing skills
- Advanced knowledge of MSW, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
- Some college is preferred