Spice Up Your Interview with the Right Responses

The goal of every interview is to get the job offer or to get one step closer to the job offer. Each successful interaction advances the job seeker closer to the offer. Every candidate must distinguish him/herself to have a competitive edge.

The following responses represent the difference between a classic and competitive response to typical interview questions. Interviewers will likely pose these types of questions.

You must be sure you answer thoroughly and completely demonstrating your strengths and potential contributions at every opportunity.

Sample Questions/Responses

Question: What kind of position are you looking for?
Classic Response: I am seeking a challenging job in a stable company in which I can use my skills to the best of my ability.
Competitive Response: In the immediate future I want a position in which I can use my skills in [insert major strengths] that I honed during my [select one previous job/education]. Once I am contributing to the growth and success of this company, I would like to take on more responsibility in [name specific areas].

Question: Do you have any questions?
Classic Response: No, I have no questions; everything seems clear from the job description.
Competitive Response: Yes, I have several questions, but the one area I’d really like to hear more about is [select an area that demonstrates your knowledge of the company and or specific project].

Question: What would be the ideal position for you at this company?
Classic Response: I am willing to do anything at your company because the company is so great.
Competitive Response: I am most interested in a position as a [insert title from a job opening on the website] in your [relevant] department. This will allow me to build on [describe experience] that I gained in my last job. However, another position of interest to me is that of [insert related title from job opening on the website]. In this role I could build on my experience from a recent internship.

You must have visited the company website and know the company positions in order to answer like this, further demonstrating your passion for the company.

Question: Why are you seeking a new position?
Classic Response: I am looking for a new position because I want more challenges. I want to learn more and grow and develop as a professional.
Competitive Response: I am looking for a position in an entrepreneurial environment like this one that requires someone to be able to switch gears quickly, adapt and wear many hats. Being a member of a smaller team will stretch my creativity and use my skills in [insert relevant department] in a more impactful way.

Question: Was it difficult getting here today?
Classic Responses: Yes, it was difficult to find your office…Yes, I agree it is too cold…My flight was delayed, and my trip was difficult…The commute today was horrible.
Competitive Responses: Luckily, I left very early so there were no real problems getting here…I am not used to the cold, but I adapt very quickly…I was able to catch up on many phone calls since my flight was delayed…Thankfully, I left early, because there was an accident that caused a bit of traffic.

Answers to Specific Questions

Prepare for questions prior to your interview. Here are some additional interview questions you may hear and responses that can help you craft your own:

Why do you think you can do this job?
Based on my understanding of the position, it requires someone who can [name critical success factors]. I have done exactly that in my experience as a [name relevant internship]. In addition, when I began [previous internship] I had no experience in [name important skill mastered] and within three months I was training others.

Having never worked in this industry, what makes you think that you can do this job?
I know enough about the position to see where my skills would be transferable and of great value to this company. This position requires someone who can [name critical success factors]. I have done exactly that in my experience as a [select position]. In addition, I have already begun educating myself through a [name a current course or certification program] that will help me to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

Why do you want to work for this company?
Based on my research of your company, I am impressed by its historic growth and achievements. I feel my [specific skills] would be of value to the [specific department].

What are your weaknesses?
I noticed in the job description that you are looking for someone with previous experience as a direct supervisor. Although I have never had direct reports, as the training manager for 3 years, I managed the training for over 15 staff members from entry-level to experienced. Everyone in the department reported to me for training and I directly managed their accountability along with their direct supervisors.

What is your salary expectation?
When the time comes, I am sure we can come to a mutually agreeable compensation package, but for now I would like to learn a little more about the opportunity,

responsibilities and your company. What is the range budgeted by the company for this position?
Be ready for a follow up like “It depends on level of experience. What are your expectations?”

For me, salary is not the only thing to consider when evaluating a new opportunity. From what I know about the position at this point, I would say the in the range of _____or ______.

At some time, you may have to specify a number, but the range shows flexibility.