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General Questions


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Handling Difficult Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself.

Highlight your college educational background and summarize your qualifications for the position, including related experience and skills. Don't ramble and know how to conclude your response, which should be one - two minutes.

What is your weakness?

You really don't want to present a negative image of yourself, but to say you have no weakness is unrealistic. Your weakness should not directly relate to any key job responsibilities of the position. Don't dwell on your weakness, instead, focus briefly on how you are improving in this area and support your comments with examples.

Questions addressing perceived weaknesses in your candidacy (i.e. lack of related experience).

ALWAYS answer this question confidently. Admit the weakness briefly, minimize if possible, and be ready with a plan on how to compensate for it. Cite what a quick learner you are and give examples. Show the interviewer that the positives and other special skills you bring clearly outweigh any perceived negatives.

Why do you want to work for us?

The best way to prepare for this question is to research the organization before the interview and actively listen for any additional information from the employer during the interview. The employer wants a candidate who is passionate about the organization. Your response should be connected to specific information such as the organization's products, services, mission statement, history or structure. Enthusiasm for the organization will get you noticed, but so will "buttering up," so keep your response genuine.

Where do you want to be in 5/10 years?

It's not expected that you'll know specifically where you'll be this far into the future, but you'll need to show the employer some forward thinking. Construct your response in relation to job function (management, consulting, counseling, etc.) or education (advanced degree). "I would like to move into management at the local level and then perhaps later at the regional level." "After gaining experience in this sector, I would like to explore the possibility of consulting." "Getting a master's degree has always been a goal of mine."

How much are you making now? or How much do you think you are worth?

It is best not to offer any specific salary requirements. Instead, provide an answer such as, "I would prefer to discuss all aspects of this possible position before looking at salary issues," or "May we come back to that when you have a better picture of what I have to offer?" Another option would be, "I am looking for the maximum, fair compensation for the responsibilities involved."

What salary range are you seeking?

If salary is raised midway through an interview and all is going well, you can ask, "Is this a job offer?" Proceed then to discuss responsibilities and your potential contribution to the organization. If salary is raised after you know the nature of the position, ask the interviewer what range he or she has in mind and indicate that you are flexible.

Why should I hire you?

This may be one of the last questions asked, and it's an opportunity for you to quickly package yourself as the ideal candidate. At whatever point in the interview the question is asked, summarize your qualifications (related experience, skills, personality traits) that best match you to the position. Be confident but not arrogant in your response.