Recruiter blog: Five questions our recruiters wished you would answer differently
By Ljuba Bogdanovich
Wondering how to deliver engaging interview responses that make you stand out from the pack? Here are five questions you’ll come across in many interviews that our recruiters wished you would answer differently:
1. Tell us about yourself
Ahhh…the age-old question. People generally respond to this by walking through their career history. Instead, humanize your answer by telling us things like what makes you tick and why you love working in your industry; go beyond the work history and infuse your personality into this question to build rapport with the recruiter.
2. What does your ideal job opportunity look like?
Typical responses are scripted to match the job description, which doesn’t truly reflect the individual person. The best way to answer this is, you guessed it, be genuine. Know what you’re looking for, know what skills you bring to the table and understand how this applies to the job you are interviewing for. Try to link these together in an open conversation with the recruiter so you can both get a better sense as to whether this is a good fit.
3. Tell me about your weaknesses or your biggest failure at work
Too often we’ll hear responses like “I’m a perfectionist”, or “I try to support my team to the point where I take on too much”. We’ve heard these hundreds of times but they don’t get to the heart of what we’re really looking for.
Instead, demonstrate your critical thinking skills by identifying the failure, the actions you took to address it and how taking these actions has helped you grow. As a recruiter, we’re not focusing on what the weakness or failure is, but rather what you are doing to correct it.
4. What are your salary expectations?
Yes, this question can be uncomfortable, but remember that your salary needs to work for both parties. That's why we ask – it’s not to nickel and dime you.
Do research to find out the competitive salary ranges for similar roles and determine what you are comfortable accepting for this role without overpricing yourself. Provide a range that is no larger than $10K, but ideally keep it to $5K. When you provide someone with this range, make sure you are comfortable with the full range.
5. Have you ever done x, y and z?
A common response is, “No I haven’t, but if you give me a chance I’m sure I can get it done”. A better way of answering is to say, “I haven’t directly done what you’re asking but I did this in role A and this in role B, which parallels what you’re looking for. I’m fully confident that I would be able to execute that task.”
It’s ok if you don’t have the specific experience – just pause and take a moment to think about what relevant experience and transferable skills you do have that show you are the best fit for the role.
There you have it – those are my top tips for approaching five common interview questions in a way that gives you the best chance at leaving a lasting impression and landing the job of your dreams. Good luck!
Ljuba Bogdanovich is the Senior Manager, Candidate Experience and Strategy at Deloitte Canada.