LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
how to answer 4 frequently asked Questions in an interview
katy doyle, recruiter
Whether you are fresh out of college or a seasoned professional, interviews can be nerve-wracking. You may be nervous that an interviewer might throw you a curveball question and you won’t know how to answer it. But don’t sweat it! You can prepare yourself on how to answer the tricky questions and by the time your interview comes, they won’t seem so difficult.
Question 1: “What is this gap in your resume?”
Everybody knows that life impedes your work at the least expected times. You got laid off or fired from your last job or moved to a different state or city after your partner took a new position. You had kids and stayed home with them until they started school or took time off after college to travel the world. Whatever the reason is, if the interviewer notices a gap on your resume, they will ask you about it in your interview. This question could throw you off guard, but being well-prepared will make you stand out from the crowd.
How to answer this question: Keep your answer brief and focus on how you took control of your situation, more so if you got fired. Add a positive twist to your answer by discussing any skills you learned during the gap.
An example of this may be: “I got fired a few months ago and since then, I have been looking for a job. This time off was the perfect opportunity for me to take a course on Microsoft Excel and develop my skills with the program.”
Question 2: “What is your desired salary?”
(Also worded as “How much do you expect to get paid?” Or if you’re interviewing at a start-up, “Are you open to added benefits/stock options for taking a lower salary?”)
Experts have varying opinions on whether to discuss your salary requirements in the first interview. But, a lot of interviewers show no hesitation asking this question. Because of the common misconception about salary discussion, people are not prepared to answer this question when they walk into their interview. They either low-ball themselves and ask for too low of a salary or overestimate the employer’s pay-grade. No matter what you heard in the past, you should be prepared to answer this question.
How to shine with your answer: The internet and Google are your best friends when prepping for a job interview. Websites such as The Salary Project and Glassdoor give you invaluable information on the salaries offered by companies. Use these tools to create a pre-determined range on what you will ask for if this question arises. You should prepare by creating an explanation on why you chose your range, using the information you found as evidence.
An example of this may be: “I prefer a salary between $55,000 and $60,000. Per my research using The Salary Project, this is the typical starting salary for people in this position.”
Question 3: “Which tasks do you NOT like to do?”
This question is just a fancy way to ask, “What are your weaknesses?” Most managers want a balanced work team that can get the job done and that means hiring people with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Interviewers are NOT looking for the perfect person, but for someone who can handle their weaknesses with grace and who can problem-solve to make a positive impact on their work team.
How to shine with your answer: When preparing for your interview, brainstorm your personal weaknesses. Take one of your weaknesses and think about how you turned it into a positive. Did you get over your fear of public speaking through improv acting classes? Did you come up with a super awesome digital organization system because you’re not the best at keeping your desk clean? Now is the chance to showcase those talents of yours. And yes, they matter to your interviewer.
Here is an example of how to answer this question: “I have not always been the best at keeping paper files organized, but thank goodness for technology. I found a super awesome way to keep my filing system organized by using Microsoft Office and can find any document you ask for in seconds.”
Question 4: “Why should we hire you?”
No, this question is not a chance to brag about how awesome you are and how you are the best candidate for the job. But it is a subtle way to show how you would best get the job done. It is about your capabilities and how your assets would benefit the company.
How to shine with your answer: Through prior research of the company and even from what the employer said during the interview, you can see what the company needs and how you can fill the gaps. Your answer should provide a solution to these gaps and how you are qualified to help the company succeed.
For example: “I know that your company wants someone to modernize your brand. With my expertise in graphic design, I can create an amazing re-branding that will suit your needs.”
Now that you have guidelines on how to answer these “tricky” interview questions, you hopefully have gained some insight and a boost of self-confidence for your interview. As prepared as you are, positivity goes a long way with interviewers and that is the most important asset you can bring to any workplace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KATY DOYLE + RECRUITER
Katy Doyle is a Recruiter at Lutz Talent with over nine years of experience in the recruiting industry. Her primary responsibility is placing candidates for Lutz Talent clients, as well as assisting with filling internal roles at Lutz. Doyle specializes in search and staffing for accounting and finance positions.
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