Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Navigate Potential Interview Minefields - Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of this blog post, I discussed some of the most commonly asked interview questions that are also commonly answered incorrectly. Here are two more questions that you should prepare your "answer map" so that you can avoid self-destructing your interview process!

"Why should we hire you?"
The absolute worst way to answer this question is one I actually heard from a candidate in an interview. When asked this question, he answered "Because I need a job!" As a rule, the employer really does not want to talk about what they can do for you. The employer is looking for the most cost-effective employee that meets their unique needs. They are most definitely not looking for the candidate who is most in need, and they are especially not looking for the most desperate candidate!

Research the company to find out what they need and what issues they are going through. Use this opportunity to demonstrate that you have taken the necessary steps to research the company and discover their needs. Once you know the company's issues, you can convey how you can benefit their company and achieve results for their organization.

"What are your ideas on salary?"
This could truly be the most dangerous minefield of them all! Answer too high and you price yourself out of their range. Answer too low and you don't optimize your annual salary. The rule rule of thumb is that the person who names a number first loses, so it is best to try to avoid naming an exact salary.

Be aware that this question is often being asked before the interview, as early as when they call for the interview appointment. Therefore, preparation is once again the key to effectively answering the question about salary. Research average salaries for your job title in your geographic area on websites such as or The best way to answer the question is to quote your source of choice and provide a range of pay. Always ask the interviewer how that range compares to what their company is paying in order to ensure you have not priced yourself out of their range.

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