When it comes to the interview – no matter how effective a communicator you are, we suggest you don’t wing it!
Give consideration to how you will answer the most asked questions before you are face-to-face with a prospective employer. Preparation will give you important leverage in making the best impression. You may be asked questions about your work style of strengths and weaknesses. The answers you give will help the interviewer decide whether to hire you. By revealing aspects of your personality, you give a strong indication of whether you will make a good hire. The interviewer wants to know what makes you a better choice than another candidate with the same experience and skill set.
Here are 4 questions asked by more than 80% of all interviewers – be ready!
What are your salary expectations?
You should know that in more than a dozen states salary history bans have been enforced and you cannot be asked for salary information. That doesn’t mean however, that employers won’t consider the pay factor in their hiring decision. One way to keep yourself in the running (especially if no salary information was shared with you in advance of the interview) is to say something like, “The position sounds challenging and I’m definitely intrigued by it. Let me ask you – what is the earnings range for this role?”
Of course you should respond that you are interested in the higher side of the range, naming a number, or if you prefer not to give a dollar amount, respond that what’s most important to you is that the opportunity matches your skills and experience and therefore, you’re confident that the compensation will be competitive and in keeping with the established earnings in the industry and region. Your goal is to demonstrate with your answer that the position and opportunity is a good fit for them and for you, and is not just about the salary.
Why did you leave your last position OR why didn’t it work out?
This question is never an invitation to bad mouth a past employer or manager or to air any pent-up grievances – no matter how comfortable you feel with the interviewer. Talk about what was positive about it and how you are ready to use everything you learned from it to make an impact on your next role. Citing culture fit or lack of challenge or satisfaction is much better that revealing you and your manager were always at odds.
What is your biggest weakness?
This is the question that somehow hangs on despite its flaws. You have to consider your weaknesses and find one that an interviewer might instead perceive as a strength. For example, overly dedicated can mean you set your expectations too high and not everyone around you will feel the same way; or, I’m learning to say no so I don’t over-extend myself and can put greater focus on the priorities of my position instead of offering to do things that are outside my regular responsibilities. This is one of those think about it first answers, because the key is to take a negative and give it a positive spin. Do not answer, “I can’t think of any.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
No jokes about wanting the interviewer’s job. Show that you have given this some thought – “It would be nice to have a crystal ball, but I hope to be in a role where I can be committed to my work and making a meaningful contribution to my employer. I am someone who lives in the now because that’s how you make things happen – you don’t wait for them to happen to you.”
Before any interview, do your due diligence by reading up on their company, the industry and their competitors. Read any press releases they’ve issued, look for them in google news stories so that you can answer knowledgeably if asked what you know about their organization. Always thank the interviewer for the time they gave you and for considering you. Be sure to tell them of your interest in the position and that you look forward to moving on in the hiring process. Ask about the next meeting and when you might hear back from them. Don’t leave without knowing or asking if you should follow up by a specific date and don’t be shy to do so. Finally, it is not too old school to send a thank you by email or snail mail. It’s a personal professional touch and not everyone will do it, so give yourself the advantage. Good luck.
Merrill Banks, CSP, CEO founded LLoyd Staffing in 1971. Under his direction, LLoyd has grown into the largest privately owned staffing firm on Long Island (NY) and a well respected name in the recruitment and search industry. READ MORE