Friday, October 23, 2009

15 Toughest Interview Questions (and Answers!)

7. What salary are you looking for?

Bad answer:
“In my last job I earned $35,000 – so, now I’m looking for $40,000”

If you can avoid it, don’t give an exact number. The first person to name a price in a salary negotiation loses. Instead, re-iterate your commitment to the job itself. If you have to, give a broad range based on research you’ve conducted on that particular role, in your particular city.

Good answer:
“I’m more interested in the role itself than the pay. That said, I’d expect to be paid the appropriate range for this role, based on my five years of experience. I also think a fair salary would bear in mind the high cost of living here in New York City.”

8. Why should I hire you?

Bad answer:
“I’m the best candidate for the role.”

A good answer will reiterate your qualifications, and will highlight what makes you unique.

Good answer:
“I’ve been an Executive Assistant for the past ten years – my boss has said time and time again that without me, the organization would fall apart. I’ve also taken the time to educate myself on some of the software I regularly use (but didn’t really understand the ins and outs of). I’m an Excel wiz now, which means I can work faster, and take over some of what my boss would traditionally have had to do himself. What’s good enough for most people is never really good enough for me.”


9. What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?

Bad answer:
I never finished law school – and everything that’s happened since has taught me that giving up, just because the going gets tough, is a huge mistake.”

You don’t want to actually highlight a major regret – especially one that exposes an overall dissatisfaction with your life. Instead, focus on a smaller, but significant, mishap, and how it has made you a better professional.

Good answer:
“When I was in college, I took an art class to supplement my curriculum. I didn’t take it very seriously, and assumed that, compared to my Engineering classes, it would be a walk in the park. My failing grades at midterm showed me otherwise. I’d even jeopardized my scholarship status. I knew I had to get my act together. I spent the rest of the semester making up for it, ended up getting a decent grade in the class. I learned that no matter what I’m doing, I should strive to do it to the best of my ability. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing at all.”

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