But with a little practice, you’ll find it’s not so hard to convince an employer that you’re the best person for the job.
Here, Vicki Salemi, career expert, speaker, and author of Big Career in the Big City, tells us how to solve the top interview problems.
Problem No. 1: Explaining a Gap in Your Resume
Solution: “The best way to respond to questions about a gap in your resume is to first be truthful and secondly, be succinct,” Salemi says. “Sometimes job seekers agonize about the gap and talk on and on and on.” Recruiters just need a simple answer to move onto the next question.
“It literally can be just one sentence to explain the gap,” she says. For example, the interviewer could say, “There was a death in my family so I needed some time to regroup.”
Problem No. 2: Weak Answer to “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”
Solution: “When asked about your biggest weakness, recruiters and hiring managers can see right through it when you try to twist it into a strength like, ‘I take on too much. I am a sucker for multitasking,’” Salemi says. “So, you can pick a ‘weak’ weakness. Meaning, if you’re pursuing a job in sales and one of the most critical skills is relationship building, don’t say that you’re weak at relationship building.”
Instead, Salemi says, pick a task like delegating and say something to the effect of, “Sometimes I tend to take on too much and my plate is too full when I really should start delegating to my team. I just get in there and sink my teeth into the project from start to finish.”
Problem No. 3: How to Send a Thank-you Note
Solution: A thank-you note—whether it’s snail mail or e-mail—is not just acceptable, it is a way to stand out from every other candidate.“
Some hiring managers prefer receiving it via email since it’s instant,” Salemi says. “As a recruiter, I always preferred receiving [a card] via [snail] mail because so few people do it; it adds a special touch for extra effort. Either way, the gesture needs to be there—expressing your gratitude is a must.”
Problem No. 4: What to Wear to the Interview
Solution: “The goal is to look professional and polished,” Salemi says. “Even if you’re interviewing, let’s say, at a startup where the culture is jeans and hoodies and it’s dress-down Fridays in the summer, you should still get more dressed up than their dress code… for the second round, you can go a little more casual in this instance, but not by much.”
Problem No. 5: The Interviewer Asks a Difficult Question
Solution: “Silence is your friend,” Salemi says. “When an interviewer stumps you with a question or you don’t know how to properly answer, take a moment or two to gather your thoughts. Pause, think and breathe.” Candidates tend to feel awkward around silence and pausing, but Salemi says the silence is not as long as the interviewee thinks it is. “It may feel like an eternity, but trust me, it’s not,” she says.
“You’re better off taking the time to concoct an eloquent answer than rushing into something and making it up on the fly.”
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Levo League!
About the Author: Corie Hengst is a New York-based freelance writer and editor covering topics like business, travel and beauty. As a freelancer, she has written and edited for media outlets and book publishers including Adweek, Penguin Random House and SheKnows.com.