Interviews are stressful, but they don’t have to be. Interviews will be intimidating if you view the interviewer as holding all the power. It’s better to view them as a conversation, rather than a chess game. Not only will you enjoy the process more, but you will perform better. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare! Here are four tough questions and the best ways to respond.
Why are you leaving your current job? If you are in the job market, there’s a good chance you feel fed up—or at least worn out—with your current situation. It can be tempting to slam your supervisor or company, but resist the urge. You should always frame things positively and this question is an opportunity to discuss the way you’ve grown in your skills and explain your future ambition.
What salary are you looking for? The best response to this question is to defer. You should not be discussing salary in a first interview. Try something like, “I’d like to discuss the position further and determine if we’re a good fit. Once we have, we can get into particulars, such as compensation.”
How would your coworkers describe you? In an interview you are presenting the best version of yourself. With this question, interviewers are seeking to get a fuller picture of your attributes and actions. Your response is an opportunity to highlight how you work in a group. Consider a response like, “I am the go-to person on regulation in our department. I value a workplace of mutual respect, and I think that would be borne out in the way my coworkers describe me.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Employers want to ensure they are not going to hire someone who sees this as a short sell rather than a long-term investment. You don’t want to answer in a one-dimensional way, such as “I plan to be at my next position for a long time.” Define your response in terms of your career goals and trajectories. Explain how you want to grow as a professional and how their company fits with your expertise and aspirations.
What about you? What’s the most challenging question you’ve been asked in an interview? Did you flounder or rise to the challenge? Share your experience with us on social media.