Wow so you have almost made it to 2021. Want to forget 2020 like most of us?
Then consider starting the year right with a new job and quickly put out of mind 2020.
So you start applying to jobs and bang, you have landed yourself an interview. Now what? You have been out of practice and let alone conversations in 2020 have been at a standstill. So as you reflect on this upcoming interview, what kind of questions am I going to be asked?
Let’s go over together some questions you might get asked.
1. Can you tell me about yourself?
This is the classic question. Tried and true. But this is really more of an ice breaker and let’s face it, this question is really to warm you both up to the conversation, so use the question to your advantage and really give some high level details of achievements and projects you have done. As well as things you like to do – volunteer, swim, fundraising etc
2. What are you current responsibilities?
When you get asked this question, this is a chance to highlight what you have done in your current or previous roles.
Tip 1: Consider segueing your achievements into the role you are interviewing for and describe in detail how your achievements are applicable to the company that you are now sitting or zooming in front of.
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to get granular here especially if you think that’s what the Recruiter or Hiring Manager is looking for.
3. What is your biggest accomplishment?
For me I love talking about hiking to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. But you are getting asked about your biggest work accomplishment here. So was it hitting 150% in your 2nd year of sales? Was it being $20,000.00 under budget for a Project that you managed? Was it leading a team? Only you know the answer to that but be prepared to provide these details!
4. What are you interested in joining our company?
As yes, the reason you are having this conversation.
Tip 1: Never be negative about your current organization. Focus on the positives, your motivating reasons, and your goals for applying. For example, I really enjoyed learning A and B in my current role and my goal is to continue that growth and become a strong leader or you want to be better at your trade.
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to give details either. The more details you can give to the interviewer, the more diverse you become for this new company and that can only be a good thing! Whatever the reasons, make sure your message is positive and strategic towards the company you are speaking with.
5. What is your ideal next role?
This for me is a fishing question. So be very careful how you answer this. Recruiters, HR Professionals and Hiring Managers will use this question to weed people out. So stick to your script and the message or details from the job description and try to stay on the path with this, if asked this question.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I once answered swimming and scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea. Needless to say, I didn’t get that job. But truth be told, anyone can say, to continue growth within the organization. So I don’t find this an intuitive question myself, but in many cases it is still used, so be prepared to provide some detail of where you see yourself within the organization you are speaking to. Is it a supervisory role? Are you an individual contributor and your focus is to be the top salesperson? Maybe you want to be recognized as the best designer. Whatever your end game, be ready to provide some candid detail.
7. What is your current compensation? And what are your salary expectations?
The proverbial money question. You know it is always going to be asked but I am a big believer in asking this initially as it needs to be addressed. There are some areas of the world where you cannot ask this question but I am a firm believer that this needs to be on the table before a soft offer is considered. The reality is that if you and the company are far apart in compensation and you don’t find this out till a soft offer is made, then both you and the company come away frustrated because you have spent so much time and energy on each other just to discover at the end, that salaries are far apart.
As mentioned, in some areas of the world, asking current salary or past salary has been outlawed. So you may find the HR professional will ask in other way. Do not avoid the question, just be honest.
So, let’s deal with this question head on. Don’t be afraid to provide some insight on what your current salary is and share details of bonuses you get, mileage, or other incentives including benefits. It all plays a part in the negotiation. Leverage it to your advantage but do not be dishonest. Remember the reason you are sitting in front of these people is that you are excited about this job and the opportunity with the company. It could be great for your career. So avoid over inflating your current salary or hiding this because this can be counterproductive and has led many times to a strong candidate not getting the job because inaccuracy or dishonesty can be a valuable waste of everyone’s time.
8. Are you actively engaged in conversations with someone else?
Careful how you answer this. You do not want to come across as someone who has been looking for a long time otherwise other questions may be asked behind closed doors after your meeting. But if you are engaged in some other interviews, be truthful, it reflects on your resume and skill set and that is something that you should be proud of. Lots of hiring leaders will appreciate your transparency. If you have just begun your journey of searching for new employment, then let the recruiter know this too. Being truthful is never a bad thing. Remember these conversations are building trust between you and the recruiter and that trust goes a long way.
Finally, don’t forget to prepare and rehearse your responses. Practice in front of a mirror or a family member. When I went to Radio and TV broadcasting school I was told to always practice in front of mirror. It works! Don’t be afraid to do this at home and rehearse how you want to project yourself and your responses. So remember, be honest, be clear about your goals, and provide details of your work and the results will surprise you.
By Maurice Scott
CEO – HR Squared Inc