If you landed an interview, congratulations.
Now it’s time to prepare for the interview that will either improve or dampen your chances with a potential employer.
Here’s a short list of what three career experts say you should and shouldn’t do during a job interview.
How to answer common interview questions
If the interview question is ‘Why are you looking for a new job?’
“Make sure your answers position you as a person making it happen, not a person making it happen,” said Jeff Herzog, president of FPC National, an executive search and recruitment agency.
The “correct answer,” Herzog said, would be something like, “I’m in no hurry to leave my current company. I’ve accomplished a lot here, but I’m looking for roles that will give me the opportunity to diversify my experiences and really make a difference.”
Correct answer: “I’m in no hurry to leave my current company.”
The “wrong answer” to this question, according to Herzog, would be any answer that blames others.
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For example: “There is no room for growth in my current company and my boss does not allow me to learn new things.”
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If the interview question is ‘What are you looking for in a new role?’
“Focus your answers on what you can do for the company rather than what the company can do for you,” Herzog told FOX Business.
He said the “correct answer” would be, “I’m looking for an opportunity that will allow me to use my experience, knowledge and connections and really help a business grow and thrive.”
Meanwhile, the “wrong answer” would be an answer that signals you’re primarily interested in the company advancing your career.
For example, Herzog suggests avoiding an answer like “I’m looking for a company that offers me the opportunity to learn and grow and take me to a new level.”
If the interview question is “Have you been able to save your company money to impact the bottom line?”
Herzog emphasized that questions that focus on an interview candidate’s quantifiable accomplishments should have a “specific” and measurable answer that highlights and supports an individual’s proclaimed accomplishments.
In this scenario, the “right answer” would be an acknowledgment — and an example of the work you’ve done to reduce costs, Herzog said.
Correct answer: “I was instrumental in centralizing all procurement activities for the entire company by introducing new software…”
For example: “Yes, definitely. Let me give you an example: We spent far too much on sourcing raw materials because each of our five manufacturing plants did it themselves. I was instrumental in centralizing all procurement activities for the entire company and rolling out new software, ultimately saving the company $300,000 annually.”
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On the other hand, the “wrong answer” to this question would be vague and without further details.
An example of a not-so-great answer would be, “Yeah, definitely…I’ve done that several times,” Hezrog said.
If the interview question is, ‘Why did you quit your last job?’ (and you left for “personal reasons”)
Whether you’ve left the workforce temporarily to care for yourself or a family member, it’s important for you as a job applicant to show a potential employer that your life is stable enough to handle a new job, says Darcy Eikenberg, leadership coach and speaker and author at Red Cape Revolution, a career coaching resource.
The best answer an applicant could give, according to Eikenberg, would be something like, “I had some commitments to attend to outside of work, but everything is fine now and I look forward to being a part of a team again.” “
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At the same time, Eikenberg said job candidates shouldn’t tell interviewers they left their “last job for personal reasons,” even if it’s true.
“Your job in an interview is to reduce the perceived risk of hiring, and while your reasons for leaving are your own business, hiring managers need a stronger story to help them clear any doubts,” she explained to FOX Business.
How to ask interviewers thoughtful questions
If you want to know something about the corporate culture: Ask here
When it comes time to ask an interviewer a question, asking behavioral questions with “specific examples” helps job seekers draw conclusions and identify what’s important to them, Eikenberg says.
“For example, ask, ‘How does the remote team usually keep in touch with each other?’ or ‘What if a team member has to be absent because of a child’s illness or some other issue?’” Eikenberg said.
Correct question: “How does the remote team usually keep in touch with each other?”
She advises job candidates not to ask interviewers to tell them about company culture, saying it is “too vague”.
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“People’s descriptions of the company culture can vary wildly from what it’s like to work there,” Eikenberg said.
If you want to know how a company recognizes profits, ask here
Job seekers, who are most concerned with how potential employers recognize accomplishments, should ask themselves how success is measured and by whom, Eikenberg told FOX Business.
“Don’t ask, ‘What does success look like here?'” she said. “It’s too easy for a hiring manager to take a ‘we’ll know when we see it’ perspective to be successful in a new job; but you want to be clear about which behaviors are most valued in the role and whose opinion matters most.”
How to communicate and review jobs like a pro
If you want to be brief: do this
When speaking with an interviewer, it’s important to provide as much information as possible in your allotted time slot. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush your answers, said Kim Crowder, workplace diversity expert and founder of Kim Crowder Consulting.
“Use the power of pausing. If you need to think, stop — and say so,” Crowder told FOX Business.
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“I like this question and I want to answer it carefully. I’ll think for a minute before I share my thoughts,” is an example job seekers can use during an interview, Crowder said.
She continued, “In the right workplace, this will instill measured thoughtfulness, and you stay in control of your part of the interview by not feeling pressured or rushed.”
“Use the power of pausing. If you need to think, stop – and say so.”
On the other hand, it’s important that job candidates don’t wander around once they’ve collected their thoughts.
“Not “Give unfocused answers to questions,” Crowder said. “If you need clarity about what was asked, say so and make sure the way you answer goes directly to the question.”
It’s okay for candidates to ask about company specifics: Here’s how
Depending on your experiences with previous employers, you might notice a few key points.
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For example, during an interview, a candidate might consider a potential manager’s “leadership style.” In such a case, Crowder said, the best way for a job seeker to come up with a “real world scenario and ask [the person] what their course of action would be.”
“You don’t have to reveal that the scenario is yours, so keep it general,” she continued. “This will help you understand early on if her leadership style is working for you.”
Crowder went on to say that she recommends job seekers “don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions” they want answers to.
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“Often those interviewing don’t see interviewing as a collaborative process,” Crowder said.
“Feel free to ask any questions you have to make you feel comfortable if you decide to take on the role. If they don’t like it, you know you’re not the best person for the job.”