After you apply to a job with your resume, the next logical step is your job interview. Some people love interviewing with companies and some would prefer a trip to the dentist’s office rather than a job interview. In our previous blog post, we talked about some of the top job interview questions that you will get asked. When you become knowledgeable on what the questions really mean and how you should answer them, your confidence level soars when you are in your interviews. This confidence will come shining through to hiring managers and make a very positive impact on your job interview’s success. If you view job interviews as another way to promote your resume and your unique personal brand displayed on your resume, this will make all the difference in your perception of job interviews. I have been coaching and advising my clients for 2 decades on job interview strategy and how to successfully answer hiring managers’ questions. Here are more tips for you on additional job interview questions.
What are your biggest weaknesses?
You will hear this question time and time again because it is just one of those standard questions hiring managers ask. The key is to be as authentic as possible while giving an honest opinion about yourself. If you are asked about your strengths too in the same question, it is best to focus on your weaknesses first so that you can end on a high note with your strengths. When it comes to your weaknesses, the best strategy is to portray your weaknesses as obstacles that you overcame. If you say something like “I’m a very quiet person and keep to myself a lot” and end it there, hiring managers will read between the lines and think this person will not make a good team leader or will not be able to thrive in a team environment while working with others. If it is a client-facing position, hiring managers might think you cannot successfully cultivate relationships with clients. But if you say something like “I’m a very quiet person, but I am involved in many volunteer positions, take advantage of any networking opportunities that arise, and actively engage myself in building enduring relationships inside and outside of work”, then hiring managers will see that you recognize them and that you are willing to work on them to overcome those obstacles. It is a great way of turning a negative into a positive.
What is your most notable professional achievement in your career so far?
In the moment during the interview, you are thinking I did this, I did that, and wow that was awesome too. Oh boy, where do you start? Well, you start BEFORE the interview! Make a list of some of your notable achievements ahead of time that align with the job you are interviewing for. Then, go back over your list and try to pick out a couple that stand out to you as the best and most valuable based on the job you are interviewing for. Go over some concrete examples of how you achieved them and what steps led to your achievements. Try to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. If you are looking to hire someone for a sales job, would you really want to hear about their notable achievement in accounting? No! As a hiring manager looking for someone with sales expertise and a proven track record in sales, accounting skills would have zero.point.zero effect on a hiring decision because they could not leverage your accounting skills and achievements in a sales job. The goal is to prepare your answers ahead of time to make sure they align with the job you are interviewing for.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Cupcakes? Spinning? Yoga? Starbucks? Not what they are looking for! Hiring managers ask this question to see if you have ambitions in life and to see if they can parlay that within their organization. They are looking to see if you are a good match based on the requirements for the job. You might feel like you can’t get out of bed in the morning without your Starbucks or a trip to the gym (or both), but they don’t have to know that. Their goal is to find out more about you as a person and as an employee. Your goal is to show that you are driven to succeed and that you can leverage that in a professional capacity to meet their organizational objectives.
Do you have salary requirements?
Here is a great question that hiring managers use to immediately trim down their candidate pool. They already have a predetermined dollar figure that their budget allows for this job’s salary. Now, they are trying to figure out what your predetermined dollar figure is in terms of your salary requirements. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to place an actual dollar figure in their heads. If your dollar figure is too high, you will be immediately eliminated. If your dollar figure is too low, you will be perceived as someone who does not know their dollar worth for their talent. It is a very slippery slope when it comes to salary requirements. Your best bet is to research what a similar position pays using online resources like Salary.com or Glassdoor.com. They can help you determine what is fair and competitive for this type of job per industry standards. It is best to always give a range that is as wide as possible. This ensures you will most likely fall into the range that hiring managers have budgeted for the job. You have to be sure that you are 100% comfortable with the range you give, but this strategy works best because it will keep you in the running for the job. Another thing to consider is that there are other tangible benefits and intangible benefits that should be factored into your salary requirements as well. Things like job satisfaction, work/life balance, healthcare, and retirement/profit sharing plans could mean so much to you that you would be willing to adjust your range accordingly. Also, if you receive a job offer that you feel is below industry standards, there is always room for salary negotiation.
All of these tips on answering job interview questions should be relieving any stress you have over the thought of going on job interviews. They are truly not as bad as you originally thought. Job interviews are another opportunity for you to sell yourself–just like you did in your resume writing. Preparing for interviews ahead of time helps to ensure that you are being strategic and giving hiring managers everything they need for their hiring decisions. Interview preparation yields the best results because it gives you time to think about what it is that you want to convey to hiring managers and how you can successfully go about doing that. As long as your answers are a good match with the job you are interviewing for, you can’t go wrong. Just like your resume is your first chance to make an impression, your job interview is your second chance to really sell yourself as the best candidate for the job and seal the deal.