Tag Archives: job interview questions

10 Best Questions to Ask During an Interview

A common question employers will ask you at the end of a job interview is, “Do you have any questions for me?” As a candidate, you want to avoid making the mistake of saying, “No, I don’t have any questions to ask you right now.” By having no questions to ask shows the interviewer that you are uninterested, unprepared, and have no independent thoughts of your own. You want to always come prepared to a job interview with a list of questions to ask. Keep in mind that an interview is a two-street. While the employer is interviewing you to determine if you are fit for the job, at the same time you should also be asking questions to see if the position or the company is the best choice for you.

By asking quality questions and showing genuine interest, you will stand out from the competition. It’s important to show employers that you have done your homework. Employers make assumptions and judgments about you based on the questions you ask and whether you have done your research on the company prior to the interview.

Here are 10 good questions to ask the employer at the end of a job interview: Continue reading

Illegal Job Interview Questions

Not every question an employer may ask during an interview is legal. There are certain questions that are illegal and unrelated to the job, which you do not have to answer. For instance, employers should not be asking about your race, gender, age, marital status, religion, nationality, or sexual preferences. The federal law prohibits employers from discriminating and not hiring a candidate based on any of these factors.

Below are 4 examples of illegal interview questions and how you can answer these interview questions if asked:

1)      How old are you?
Although the interviewer cannot ask about your age or date of birth, he/she may ask if you are over the age of 18. Instead of answering how old you are, you can frame the answer to reflect your job experience, such as the years of experience you have had in the industry.

2)      Do you have any children? / Are you married?
If you have a family and sense that they are concerned about whether you able to relocate or work overtime, you can bring that up instead. For instance, you can say, “I’m very interested in developing my career. I keep my family life separate from my work life. Traveling or working overtime will not be a problem for me.”

3)      Are you a United States citizen? / Where were you born? / Where are you from?
These types of questions may often slip out as friendly, conversation starters and many interviewers may not realize that are, in fact, illegal questions. If you do feel uncomfortable answering this question directly, you can say, “I’ve lived in quite a few places. But I am legally authorized to work in the U.S., if that’s what you’re asking.”

4)      What religion do you practice? / Do you go to church on Sundays?
If you think the employer may be concerned that you need to take off work for religious reasons or would like you to work on Sundays, address those concerns in your answer. Talk about your availability to work required work days, even if those days include certain religious holidays.

To address any of these questions, a strategy you can employ is to address the purpose of the question. Try to determine why the interviewer is asking the question and how it can be a concern to the job. You can choose not to answer the question directly and simply say something like, “I’m a little confused. Could you please explain how this issue relates to the position?”

If you are asked an illegal employment question during the interview, don’t try to make a citizen’s arrest immediately. Asking an illegal question doesn’t necessarily mean that the interviewer’s intent was discriminatory or that a crime has been committed. Frankly, many employers are unaware when they are asking an illegal question.

If you are truly offended by a question and believe that the employer has a malicious intent, you have the right to terminate and leave the interview. If you want to file a complaint or charge, contact U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the government agency responsible for handling complaints of employee discrimination. Keep in mind that there are time limits for filing a complaint.

15 Ways to Ace an Interview

Now that you know what to avoid during an interview, make sure you read the 15 ways to ace an interview:

1)      Be Prepared – This means that you have anticipated possible interview questions and practiced formulating your answers. A helpful way to prepare for an interview is to participate in a mock interview. Simply ask a friend or a family member to take the role of an interviewer and imagine yourself in the setting of a real interview. Being prepared also means that you have brought an extra copy of your resume and you know what to say about anything that is listed on your resume.

2)      Think Before You Speak – Don’t be afraid of pauses. Take a few seconds to gather and organize your thoughts before answering hard questions. Think about how you’re going to answer before you blurt out something you’ll regret later on. It is more important that you answer the questions correctly rather than quickly.

3)      Listen Carefully – You don’t want to give a long-winded answer, even if it’s a great one, to a question that wasn’t even being asked. Hence, you need to focus and listen carefully to make sure that you’re actually answering the questions being asked.  If you’re uncertain of what they’re really asking you, you can repeat the question back to them to make sure you’re on the right track.

4)      Ask Your Interviewers About Themselves – If your interviewer gives you a brief introduction about his/herself, listening carefully can help you formulate appropriate questions to ask. People love to talk about themselves. For example, if the interviewer mentions that he was in a similar job position previously, you may want to ask him about his transition to the new role or to compare his previous position to his current one in terms of the tasks and skills required. However, keep in mind that the interview should really be about you, so it is suggested that you ask these questions at the end of the interview when you have time to ask questions. This way, it will impress them even more that you listened and remembered what they had said in the beginning of the interview.

5)      Know the Company and Industry – Some interviewers will ask you what you know about the company. Thus, it is important that you have done your own research. This is a great way to impress your interviewer on what you know about the company before they even tell you. The more you know about the company and the industry, the better you will be able to present yourself. Here are 6 ways to research a company.

6)      Know the Position – Know what you’re getting yourself into before you go to your interview. This means that you have read the job description and have an idea of what will be expected. You can do further research about the position to get a better idea of the type of the skills and knowledge the role entails. Talk to people in similar roles to learn more about the tasks involved.

7)      Be Confident – Remember that you were called in for the interview for a reason. This means that the interviewer believes you are capable of performing the job, and thus, it is important for you to believe the same thing. Talk with confidence about how your skills and experiences would make you the best candidate for the job. However, make sure you don’t come off as sounding conceited!

8)      Arrive early – Arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will give you enough time to go to the restroom and freshen up if needed.

9)      Look and Dress Appropriately –Although a suit is not required for certain job interviews, dress in conservative professional attire unless told otherwise. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Dressing for success will show that you respect the company and that you are serious about the position. The first impression you make is very important so make sure you are clean and well groomed.

10)   Great introduction – Give a firm handshake and a smile when introducing yourself for the first time. This will show confidence.

11)   Body language –Stand and sit up straight. Don’t slouch or lean back and get too comfortable in your chair.

12)   Show Passion and Enthusiasm – Show your interviewer that you are willing, excited, and eager to learn and take on new tasks. Make sure you don’t fake or overdo this because interviewers can tell when you’re not being real.

13)   Eye Contact – When listening to the interviewer or answering questions, make eye contact. It shows respect, sincerity, and interest.

14)   Prepare questions – Having no questions to ask shows that you aren’t interested in the job and that you didn’t come prepared. Make sure you ask appropriate questions that accentuates your interest in learning more about the position and the company. Obviously, don’t ask about salary.

15)   Follow up – Make sure you get your interviewer’s contact information, such as a business card, and send a thank you letter. If you don’t hear back, follow up with a phone call to let them know your continued interest as well as inquire about your status.

Just knowing 15 ways to ace an interview isn’t enough; make sure you avoid the interview don’ts!