Bettina Seidman (www.seidbet.com) works with clients all over North America. She has some golden advice on how to interview to get the job. “Be strategic in your approach,” says Seidman. “Learn as much as you can about the job and organization, and even the person who is interviewing you.” During an interview, remember that all responses need to be market driven, meaning to emphasize what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Here is the short-list of most difficult questions a job seeker will run up against during an interview situation:
Tell me a little about yourself?
“They are not asking for a chronological history of your life,” says Seidman. “This is four to six sentences of a summary about your background that responds to the job itself.”
What is your greatest weakness?
“Don’t get caught like a deer in headlights; be very strategic, answer in terms of the job, and don’t admit your worst screw-up,” says Seidman. “Instead of ‘weakness’, think ‘professional development’—this might include technology classes, graduate degree, or learning a foreign language.”
Who is a role model for you?
“What this question is really asking, is what kind of a person are you,” says Seidman. “Do not use family members—use somebody who can be admired on all levels, and is either well known in the profession, or an admirable public figure (ex. Bill Gates).”
Do you have any questions?
This is another difficult question that often stumps job seekers, and answering no is usually not your best option. “Never ask about salary or benefits,” says Seidman. “If you do not have an offer—you do not need to know this answer.” One of the best all around questions to reply to this question is, If I’m hired for this job, what would be the first project I would work on? “This is basically like saying, I am so interested in this job I can almost taste it,” says Seidman.
What were you earning before?“
Answer honestly, and in gross annual,” says Seidman. “For example, $33,000 a year, is an appropriate answer.”
What salary are you looking for?
“Never say you are willing to negotiate, as that makes you sound unsophisticated—everything is negotiable,” says Seidman. “Offer a range, such as $30,000 to $40,000 a year.”
And finally, never send a thank you letter following an interview. “These people are paid for the interview,” says Seidman. “Instead, write a strategic followup letter reinforcing why you are the best candidate for the position.”