Why are you thinking of leaving your current position?
Your answer should be positive. Avoid any negative comments about your position, industry, company, boss, coworkers, or customers.
Let the interviewer know what you are looking for in a new position and how the open position meets your interests. Does the open position offer more money, responsibility or the potential for advancement or growth? If you are not 100% certain that you want to leave as your present position for the open position, let the interviewer know this too.
If you are presently unemployed, be prepared to give a brief reason for leaving your prior position. Let the interviewer know if you left your position voluntarily or if you were let go. If you were let go, was it the result of a company-wide or department layoff, merger or takeover?
If you were fired, give as fair and unbiased a response as you can; answering from both your point of view and the point of view of your former employer. This means describing the situation candidly, succinctly and without any bitterness. Be prepared to answer follow up questions such as “What did you learn from this experience?” or “What would you have done differently?”
What could you have done better in your last job?
Again, it is best to avoid being negative. Likewise, do not confess to any problems, major or minor. A better answer is to say “With the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do better, but off the top of my head I cannot think of anything of major consequence.”
If the interviewer pressures you for more information, describe a situation that failed as a result of external conditions beyond your control.
Why have you been out of work so long?
You’re answer should be the same regardless of whether you are doing a telephone screen or an in-person interview with a recruiter or hiring manager. Here are some possible responses:
- I decided to start a business (like a consulting business)
- I am the officer of XYZ organization
- I took some college courses to stay current in my career (or on-line classes)
- I am currently teaching XYZ subject (ensure that it has business relevance)
- I volunteer at a local soup kitchen, my child’s school or an organization in my current industry or business
- I started a networking organization to help those out of work
- I decided to coach a season of my child’s baseball league
It is suggested that you emphasize factors that have prolonged your job search by your own choice. You do not want to seem like damaged goods.
Why should I hire you?
If you have done your homework and prepared for the interview you should be able to answer this question easily. Help the interviewer to see you in the position. Walk him or her through each of the position’s requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason why you meet that requirement. Specifically, if you understand the employer’s needs and company culture, you will be able to match each position requirement with your personal qualifications.
Why aren’t you making more money at this stage in your career?
Your answer should not sound defensive or give the impression that money is not important to you. You will need to explain why your present salary or salary history might be below industry standards.
Your best answer is that money is important to you but other factors are even more important. For example, “Making money is important to me. That is one of the things that interests me in this position because I am looking to make more money at this point in my career. But even more important to me is doing work I really enjoy and am proud to do at the kind of company I like and respect.”
Be prepared for follow up questions about your ideal position and company. Be sure to match your answers as closely as possible to the requirements of the open position and the culture of the company/department.
Now, get to it . . .
This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.