Four More Top Interview Questions
Although there’s no way to be 100% prepared for a job interview, a candidate can always feel confident and knowledgeable. Quite honestly, that comes from only one thing: preparation. The BEST form of preparation is to spend the time to learn about the company in question and to mock interview using as many common questions as possible. Investing in a career coach to go through this process is something EVERY candidate should do the day that they find out they’ve lost their job. This will keep them on track, teach them vital interview skills, and quite possibly get them a job MUCH faster than someone who doesn’t have all of these tools properly in place. Having answers prepared for the common interview questions is vital to a serious candidate.
#1. What are you looking for? Don’t miss the opportunity in this question! Be ready to talk about the job that would be appropriate for you and how your skills would translate to the new employer. Be careful NOT to talk about opportunities for advancement – you could talk yourself right out of the job you are interviewing for. Companies want to know that you have many assets and skills and an enthusiastic attitude about your job, but they don’t want to hear that the position at hand is a “stepping stone” to something greater. It’s far too easy to unintentionally imply that their company is also a stepping stone – or a quick stop while you find the “right” job.
#2. Aren’t you overqualified for this position? This is a tough one. Definitely be enthusiastic about the job and proud of your expertise; don’t downplay your accomplishments. Instead, share what makes you interested in the job at hand at this point in your career. For instance, elaborate about applying your expertise to a new industry or talk about the upside of working in a smaller company – or a larger one. Be VERY careful to leave out any tone of desperation!
#3. What’s your biggest weakness? Definitely do not answer this with a self-deprecatory statement about yourself. This is not the place to be humble. Keep your answer brief and be sure to put feature your “weakness” in a good light. For example, “I’m very much a perfectionist, but I use that to always make sure my team’s needs are fulfilled quickly and completely.”
#4. What are your salary requirements? Be prepared! This question should NOT leave you caught off guard. Always try to postpone answering this question until a job offer is made. If you used a staffing agent, let them handle this for you. But do be prepared and know what the salaries are in your industry (you can find this out at SimplyHired.com and Salary.com). If you don’t know the budget that the company has available, and the interviewer persists, you can simply ask, “What salary range are you working with at this time?” If you’re seriously being considered for the job, it’s quite likely that they will tell you what their constraints are.
Finally, the question where many candidates falter is the last one asked by most interviewers: “Do YOU have any questions?” This is your opportunity to show interest and initiative. Be ready to ask specific questions about the organization at hand or what to expect in the job. Remember, this is your chance to shine. Be prepared and use your response to demonstrate how your skills can contribute to the company. Finally, try to have the right mix of conservative enthusiasm AND a goal-oriented view of your future. This will take you far in the hiring process.
Catherine Palmiere, CEIC, CPBA, CPCC
President of Adam Personnel, Inc. Phone: 212 557-9150 ext. 208