5 Questions to Be Prepared for in Your Next Interview

Posted by on in Life Transitions

During your time out of work, you’ve done everything right that you can think of: polishing up your resume, reaching out to your old business contacts, you may have even gotten yourself some short-term medical insurance so that you had coverage during your time off. Nice work! Now you’ve landed an interview for a job. After doing some research and practicing your interview skills in the mirror, you’re feeling calm, cool and ready.

That’s wonderful. But, have you prepared for any questions beyond the usual “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What’s your biggest flaw?” No? That’s not surprising. Many articles about job interviews cover the same five or six questions, but unfortunately, interviewers don’t always stick to the script. Here are five under the radar, but still common, questions for you to work on before your big interview. Good luck!

Why have you held so many different jobs?

If you have jobs on your resume that lasted less than a year, your interviewer is very likely going to ask this question. He’s trying to make sure you’re not a job-hopper. You can reassure him by emphasizing the jobs you were at the longest and clarifying that you’re now looking for a similar situation.

What is your expected salary?

Negotiating salary can be intimidating, but keep in mind that the interviewer is trying to save the company money. If you give a low-ball answer, he or she isn’t going to offer you more. Let the interviewer bring up salary first, and then inquire about the salary range for the position you’re interviewing for. Keep in mind switching jobs should involve a salary increase if your last position was in the same field, and give your response from an informed position instead of trying to guess at what the interviewer wants to hear.

You appear to be overqualified for this position. Why did you apply for it?

Explain why this particular company is so appealing to you, even if the position or salary is a bit below your previous level. Stress your interest in long-term association with the company and your confidence that more opportunities will open up for you within it if you perform well.

Can you think of any ways to improve our product or company?

The best starting point here is what you like about the company or product. This will show that you’ve done your research, and that you are interested in this job in particular—not just being employed by whoever will hire you. From there, if you have any constructive criticism or suggestions, go for it, but keep your suggestions brief. If you really don’t have any ideas, reply that you’d need to spend some time with the company before focusing on ideas for improvement.

Do you have any questions?

This is not a time to say “no.” Ask a question about the company’s history, about its goals for the future or anything else on your mind except for salary and benefits. You want to appear interested in the company and the job you’re interviewing for, not focused on how many vacation days you can get.


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