Don’t let tough questions ruin an interview

Most job seekers dread interviews with hiring employers – they find many questions impossible to answer correctly without knowing what answer is acceptable. The interview process can be upsetting if you have to endure with a group interview or multiple interviews.

Unfortunately you can’t avoid interviewing for your next position but you can prepare for difficult questions and soar above the competition. Here are five answers to tough interview questions.

Question #1: Tell me about yourself.

How you answer this question determines the direction of your interview. If you answer this question wrong, the interview will end quickly. The most common mistake candidates make when answering this question is to reply with a personal description. The employers wants to know how you qualify for the position. To prepare for this question create a 30-second pitch highlighting your skills/experience related to the position you are applying for. Be sure to mention three key points in your resume to spark the interest of the recruiter: education, experiences and how they apply to the job – review the employment ad position description to determine what qualifications are most important to the employer.

Question #2: What would your last employer say about you?

Don’t worry about this question, especially if you were terminated. There are many legalities that prevent former employers from libel, slander and defamation. The only way employers can ruin your reputation is if every word is true. Most employers only want to verify dates of employment and job titles.

Always encourage potential employers to check your references. This will show you have nothing to hide, you can stall the employer from contacting your former employers by saying ‘I wish to keep this interview confidential if possible until you have a definite interest in me as a candidate.’

Question #3: What is more important on your current job – written or verbal communication?

Look out, this is a trick question to eliminate people that are not computer savvy or lack leadership skills. Do reply with ‘Yes both are important.’ Then explain how you use both communications, why it is important – give examples confirming you understand the variety of methods. Do include any experience using the internet, software or social media if applicable to your position.

Question #4: What salary/pay rate are you looking for?

This is your opportunity to get hired or eliminate yourself as a potential candidate. Remember, your former employer won’t reveal your last pay rate during the reference check. If you want to get paid more, this might be your chance. Before the interview, do your research and check the company’s website, Twitter, Google, Linkedin and anywhere that might provide details about the pay structure for the position you are applying for. Visit the Giantjobs.net job board to compare the salary other companies statewide and nationwide offer candidates in this position.

When asked this question, only provide a pay range. This will help the employer to find a number they are comfortable with. Know your yearly and hourly range before the interview.

Question #5: Why have you changed jobs so frequently?

You must shut this question down with a brief, sincere and carefully thought out answer. Try to dissolve all hiring doubts with your answer to avoid a follow-up question. Be mindful in knowing employers don’t want to waste time hiring people repeatedly. Here is the best answer to this question.

‘It was not my intentions. I’ve been torn between schedule cutbacks and employee downsizing. I welcome the opportunity to secure long-term employment with a company that is willing to utilize my experience in restaurant management.’

Good Luck, Happy Job Hunting!

CJ Eason is The Job Doctor. She is a recruiter, resume repair expert and director of community outreach for JobFairGiant.com. Email jobdoctor@jobfairgiant.com.

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