No one really enjoys going through the interview process. But the more prepared you are, the more relaxed you will be and the better impression you will hopefully make on the recruiter or HR manager. The interview questions…
It is easy to Google “commonly asked interview questions” but you may not be able to find “commonly given answers” as easily. In our experience working with executive job seekers, as well as recruiters and HR managers, there are ways to prepare for these more difficult interview questions.
Here are the top 5 questions we have come across in our conversations and some of the ways in which you can prepare to answer them to present yourself as the best candidate for the position.
1. Long-Term & Short-Term Goals
They are looking for key points, such as intentions, commitment, and ambition level. They have goals for you and want to know if your goals match theirs.
Tell Them Your Current Situation – Be genuine, even if you’re not where you want to be. Don’t be negative. Reinforce you’re looking for more growth as a professional.
Explain What You’re Doing to Reach Your Goals – This could be education, certifications, or side projects. Tying your goals to actions will show you are serious about reaching them.
Tie Your Answer to the Job Description – Tie your skills to the responsibilities in the job description. If you don’t have all the skills required, talk about your plans to achieve them.
A Little Uncertainty Is Acceptable – Be honest, even if you’re uncertain about an aspect of your goals. But you should have some idea of short-term goals you have, so communicate them clearly.
2. “What didn’t you like about your previous job?”
This can be tricky, especially if you left on bad terms. You want to be honest without hurting your chances moving forward.
Be Honest, But Not Harsh – Don’t lie and say it was good if it wasn’t. Focus on the job duties from your resume. Talk about how you wish some aspects of your job would have been different and how the role simply wasn’t a good fit for you.
Don’t Bash Past Co-Workers – This will only create doubt in the interviewer’s mind about you. Instead, focus on specific tasks where you may not have been able to demonstrate your full skill set and how you may have been happier if you were assigned those tasks.
Be Cautious When Discussing Job Duties – If you speak negatively about any past duties, chances
are you’ll end up talking negatively about a duty you may have at the new job.
Turn a Negative Into a Positive – Put a spin on a negative by talking about what you learned and how it made you a better worker. Tie the entire story into why it makes you a great fit for the company.
3. How do I incorporate my soft skills into the conversation?
When talking about high-level executive positions, every candidate will have similar skills. What can distinguish you more than anything else are your soft skills, since these are unique to each person.
Important Soft Skills That Translate To Any Job – Communication, Problem-Solving, Interpersonal, Innovative Thinking, Adaptability, and Critical Thinking are soft skills which are transferable to any position. There are others, so make sure to discuss these when talking about the job.
Show How Your Soft Skills Have Worked Previously – It’s your job to weave your soft skills into telling the story about your knowledge and expertise. Demonstrating these soft skills allows an interviewer to really see how your mind works, which is beneficial when the the project you’re describing was successful.
4. Salary Negotiations?
It’s important to think through strategies when it comes to negotiating your salary and what you are really worth.
Research Average Salaries – Salaries vary dramatically for many reasons: location, education, experience, and budget. Consider local and national statistics and bring this information along to show a prospective employer.
Practice – Practice negotiating with someone. Make sure they offer resistance so it’s more true to life.
Give a Wide Margin – It’s best to be general, giving a wide margin of what you’re looking for. You can consider telling roughly how much you’ve made in the past few years.
5. What About Employment Gaps?
Employment gaps are common nowadays. You may have taken time off to raise a family or gain more education. Don’t despair.
Never Lie About Employment Gaps – Regardless of the reason, be honest. Talk about what you learned during this time and how it will make you a better employee.
Preparing for a job interview can be just as intense as writing an effective resume. You’re challenged with anticipating the questions you’ll be asked in order to be prepared appropriately, but you also don’t want to sound scripted when you answer.
The key is to think through some of the more difficult questions and have a plan.
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