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
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 was at the local diner, so that’s not relevant. 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.”
And if they still keep pushing, tell the truth. Lying is unacceptable, and continued evasiveness will make you seem untrustworthy.
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