When you do get an interview you should be prepared to answer the following
1. "Tell me about yourself."
You will want to get the interviewer to narrow this down by asking, "What
area of my background is most interesting to you?" Be careful not to start
selling yourself until you know what the client is particularly interested
in. An interview occupies a finite period of time and any extraneous
information you volunteer may take away from the time you need to sell your
most pertinent skills. If the question is about your personal life, mention
something that shows you like people and possess determination.
2. "What salary do you want?"
If questioned about salary, try to turn the question around by asking:
"What do you generally pay someone with my type of education and
experience?" In this way, you let the interviewer set a salary range for
your consideration. You, however, should not bring up the matter of salary
or benefits until you're at the offer stage of the process.
4. "Why do you want to leave your current job?"
The interviewer is searching for possible personality flaws which may have
caused friction on former jobs. Never speak negatively about a former
employer. If you do, the interviewer will have reason to anticipate the
same friction if you were hired by his company. Rather, suggest that you
had an excellent relationship with your former supervisors and coworkers.
Give the reasons why you want to change i.e. to go to a firm with better
financial status or one that would give you wider experience in your field.
5. "What are your greatest strengths (weaknesses)?"
Employers tend to look for excellent skills in communication and analysis,
as well as, energy, determination and confidence. A laudable weakness could
be "I get frustrated with those who don't put forth their best effort." For
strengths, say not just "I am a good salesperson" but, "I am a good
salesperson, in fact, I exceeded my quota last year by 25 percent." Its
always best to quantify your accomplishments.
6. "What are your career goals?" or "What do you hope to be doing 5- 10
years from now?"
Try to indicate confidence and drive, but don't appear to be threatening
the interviewer's own job. Example: "I would hope to be moving up the
career ladder from this job, perhaps to a supervisory or lead capacity."
7. "Why are you interested in our company?"
Here is where your research on the company will pay off. You might mention
that you had worked for a competitor and that this company had an even
better reputation. An interviewer will be impressed with your genuine
enthusiasm for the company.
8. "Can you work under pressure?"
Just briefly state that you can work well under pressure, but that you
prefer to manage your time.
9. "Describe your education for me."
Describe your major course of study, your extracurricular activities, or
special honors as they relate to the job. You might want to explain why you
chose a particular area of study or training program and how it prepared
you for this job.
In some cases an employer may ask the following pointed questions:
Q. "You are too young to have any experience in this field. Why should I
A. "My teachers will tell you that I learn quickly and I am not satisfied
until the job is done right. I have a genuine love for the publishing
industry, and I am always looking at other's writing as a carpenter looks
at a house."
Q. "I see you have held a lot of different jobs for several employers."
A. "Yes, that's true, before I was married, I was a little carefree. I was
doing some career experimentation until I found my niche but am now looking
to secure a long lasting relationship.
Q. "After free lancing for so long, why would you now consider an office job?"
A. "I miss the camaraderie of an office environment. I also miss the
resources to more easily do the things that I chose this career in the
first place for."
Here are some suggestions on how to answer some personally difficult questions.
Q: "Are you married?"
A: Generally asked if a relocation is involved. A spouse with a local
career is the biggest hurdle for a candidate to realize an opportunity
elsewhere. If you're serious about the job you should be able to state that
you've already discussed the possibility with your spouse and they are
prepared to move.
Q: "Do you have children?"
A: The employer is obviously interested in whether your child care
responsibilities will conflict with job duties. Reassure him or her that
you have a reliable child care arrangement or that your children are very
self-sufficient, independent teenagers.