Tips to follow in preparing for a job interview

Job interviewers are looking for something. But what? And how do you answer those intentionally tricky questions? Here are ways to navigate the minefield of the interview room.

  • Interviewers want job applicants to be likable, to stand out, to ask questions. That’s part of what business writer Jeff Haden says in this LinkedIn post titled “What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate.” At the end of an interview, according to Haden, employers should like it when you “do what great salespeople do and ask for the job.” Then, follow up. Employers appreciate a note of thanks. But, he continues, “what I really like — and remember — is when you follow up based on something we discussed. … The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.” tinyurl.com/InterviewersWish
  • “We’ll get back to you” is just one of the things interviewers tell job candidates that can turn out to be lies, according to this post by Alison Green at USNews.com. Green’s list of doozies includes “We’ll keep your resume on file,” “We were really impressed with you,” and “We offer excellent benefits.” Regarding resumes kept on file, Green says employers are required by law to keep them, at least for a while, before disposal. “In reality, it usually just means that their application materials will be filed away, not that they’ll be looked at again in the future,” Green writes. tinyurl.com/InterviewersLies
  • Tough questions such as “Why should I hire you?” are par for the course at a serious job interview. The Hcareers.com job site carries a list of “toughest job interview questions” — and suggestions for how to answer them — from author Barry Golds. One toughie: “What did you not like about your last employer?” Golds says: “The interviewer has asked you to say something negative about your ex-employer. You need to turn this around so that it makes it sound like the negative is in fact a positive!” But how? “Start with, ‘Actually, there are a lot of good things to say about my ex-employer, however if I need to highlight one area …’ ” tinyurl.com/10Toughest
  • More interview questions, and good answers, are compiled at the job-searching area on About.com. A possible stumper: “Have you worked with someone who didn’t like your work?” You either have a pristine record, or you don’t. If the latter, “the first step is to avoid making any negative or condescending comments about your past supervisors, since employers will tend to side with past managers, and may perceive you as a troublemaker or malcontent.” Give an honest answer while extending yourself the benefit of the doubt, then say something positive about past supervisors, and suggest references. tinyurl.com/InterviewStumpers.

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