DC Marketing Job Seekers Beware!

by Susan Mullin

This Halloween, don’t let these 2 spooky interview questions scare you

It’s Halloween in Washington. Children dress up as minions and superheroes while you prepare a different costume. That of a job seeker. Suits, ties, pumps, briefcases—in preparation for that big job interview.

Of course, there need not be a full moon for you to encounter a few “spooky” questions during the interview.

Here are some tips to address two of the most common spooky interview questions:

Spooky Question #1: Why do you want to leave your current job?

Hiring managers ask this question to gauge your motivation for considering a new position. How interested are you in the company? If hired, will you commit for the long term? What motivates you? Are you simply motivated by money, status, or to leverage the opportunity for your own benefit?

They also want to see how you speak about your current employer. Are you showing any red flags? Also, are you professional and fair? Even if things in your current job aren’t perfect, do you represent the company in the best possible light? Or do you have an axe grind?

Here are a few good tricks for answering the question:

  • “I have learned a lot at my current company. Now I am ready to take my knowledge and career to the next level.”
  • “I have been very happily employed at ABC company. That said, when this professional opportunity came up, I simply could not refuse the chance to learn more and consider working for a highly regarded company like yours.”

Spooky Question #2: What are your salary expectations? (Or, what is your current salary?)

Many job seekers think this question is a way to “lowball” an eventual job offer. They are wrong.

Quite the opposite. It’s a way for companies to determine whether their needs and salary parameters are aligned with yours—or not. If their salary offer can only go so far, and if your expectations are very different, you’re stuck. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate a salary agreeable to both parties. Companies would rather know this upfront so as not to waste anyone’s time on an impossible match.

A few tricks for addressing this question:

  • Go in armed with data about what similar companies pay for similar roles and experience. This demonstrates your salary request is aligned with local industry standard.
  • Consider whether you would consider a lower salary in return for other benefits (more vacation time, flexible work options, etc.).

What other spooky questions have you encountered during the interview process? We’d love to hear from you.

And don’t forget to read more interview tips here:

>> Asking the Tough Questions, Part 1

>> Asking the Tough Questions, Part 2

>> Getting Ready for the Big Day: Preparing for the Interview

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Posted in , Interview Tips