October 24, 2011

SNAP! Answers to the 3 Most-Dreaded Job Interview Questions

I’m doing a webinar on Wednesday on wowing your next job interview. You (or your friends—feel free to forward this to your friends!) can sign up here. Below, a quick hit of the kind of information I’ll be covering:There are three things my clients worry most about in an interview:

• being asked a question they don’t know the answer to
• being asked about a skill set they don’t have/a gap in their resume
• being asked what their current salary is, when they think they should be making more than they currently are

With the answers below—snap!– you’re back in the driver’s seat:

1. You’re asked a question you don’t immediately have the answer to:

The most common instinct here is to ‘wing it’. Don’t do that. Alternatively, don’t say, “Good question,” we know that’s filler. Say, “I hadn’t considered that. Give me a moment to think about it—because I want to be sure to give you the best answer possible.”

Note: you’ve remained confident by not apologizing. Requesting time to think about it will help you calm down. And who gets cranky because you’re trying to give the best answer possible?

2. You’re worried they are going to bring up a skill set you don’t have, or a gap in your resume.

Regarding the skill set, you can say, “I know your job description asks for X, and that’s not on my resume. Here is how I plan to get up to speed by the time I begin at your firm.” Note: have a plan.

Regarding a gap in your resume, you can say, “I spent that time doing X, which has given me Y skills that will transfer well to this new position.” Note: think through how these skills will transfer.

3. You’re asked what your most recent salary was, but your last job paid far less, so you don’t want to mention it. What do you say?

“Well, I’m looking for a position that offers compensation in the range of $X – more than I made at my last job, but also more in line with what I think I have to offer.”

If they keep pushing: “My current compensation is lower than I’d like, which is part of why I’m looking for a new role.”

Again, the link to sign up for tomorrow’s webinar is here. I will also be talking about how to:

• Write your resume to reflect your experience
• Bypass gatekeepers
• Handle softball queries such as, “Tell me about yourself…”
• Handle hardball comments like, “I just don’t think you’re the right fit for this job.”
• Talk about gaps in your resume or skill set
• Answer the inevitable, “What’s your greatest strength/weakness?” question
• Prepare for informational, impromptu, lunch and 2nd and 3rd-round interviews
• Follow up effectively
• Navigate the compensation conversation
• And much more It would be great to have you on the call. Frances

Frances Cole Jones


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