Job interviews are nerve-wracking. These days, the process before even getting a live interview is torture enough. It’s been said that preparation is everything and when it comes to job interviews, this couldn’t be more accurate.
Having been a contract recruiter, hiring consultant, career coach and recently going through my own career transition in the field of Learning and Talent Management, I can speak from a few vantage points.
Bottom line: The job market is too competitive for you not to prepare. But, before we start on the things that should rarely escape your lips, here’s a PRO TIP:
Even if you don’t want the job, the value of networking and keeping contacts live is critical.
You may not be thrilled about the job you’re interviewing for and claim you are just “going for the experience.” This casual point of view can close you off from other opportunities within the company who you don’t even know about or future opportunities that may absolutely suit you better. So after you’ve gone over the job description, read about the company on their website and practice a bit in the mirror.
Here are three responses to avoid in your job interview when answering these inevitable questions:
1. The Weakness Question: I am sure you know this by now, but someone is going to ask you about your weaknesses. Never say “Oh well, my weakness is that I work too hard or too much.” This is a clue with most hiring managers that you are afraid to be honest. Good companies understand that humans are imperfect. The scoop: This answer is a bit of an inside joke to recruiters. When we get it, we are dying inside. Be straight up and have a weakness ready to share.
2. The Salary Question: At some point you will be asked this if a company is serious about pursuing you as a candidate. The most deadly answer is “Oh, I don’t know,” or responding with another question back. It’s critical to do research on salaries in your area that reflect this level of role, factor in your experience and your financial need. Feel free to give a range or an exact number, but have your homework to support your answer. Know your worth and go in clear about it!
3. The Scenario question: Many times you will be asked what if you were in situation “X” or “Y,” what would you do? One of the tempting things to say is: “Well I’d ask my boss or ask someone what to do.” Instead, you want to show initiative or leadership. You may choose to respond to a situation in a series of steps. Start off with, “The first thing I would do…” This is a great way to buy some time and build your answer.
These are just a few pointers. The best way to go into an interview is to build your confidence up beforehand and have covered a lot of details that can seem tedious. I love helping people remember just how valuable they are as a potential hire. If you need a little help with this, grab my Ultimate Job Seeker’s Guide HERE.