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Hot Topic: What's Your Expected Salary? & Other Tough Interview Questions

When prepping for an interview, you scour the internet (and searching for the best advice. But some questions can be hard to prepare for and tough to answer. So what should you do?

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When prepping for an interview, you scour the internet (and searching for the best advice. But some questions can be hard to prepare for and tough to answer. So what should you do?

When you've been in the game as long as some of us old people, you become a sort of interview expert. This is not to say you get the call back everytime. It just means you've heard every question there is and you've learned how to dodge and tackle them. Some questions from interviewers can seem pretty invasive while others are so confusing and you end up not being entirely sure whether or not you can even respond. We've rounded up the most common interview dilemmas you're likely to find yourself in and some guidance on how to tackle them.

What's your expected salary?

This is the ultimate question every interview closes with and it's also the toughest one for candidates to respond to. If you quote too high, you'll look greedy or might be out of their budget. If you quote too low, you might end up doing grunt work for peanuts or they might not take you seriously enough and decide not to hire you. How do you find the middle ground? The first thing to know is how do you rank in your industry? This is in terms of your work experience and what others pay for similar positions (even though there might be variance here). Some organisations will even ask for your previous pay slip not giving you a chance to lie. But if you do find yourself in this situation, your best chance is to give a range i.e. "Between XYZ and ABC". If you don't want to disclose at all, you could tell them that you'd like to discuss salary once there's an offer on the table. Some hiring managers will accept this response. The key thing to remember here is that you need to know your worth so you don't under value yourself. I find more than over quoting, this is biggest mistake a lot of people make.

Access to your online spaces

Most of us are guilty of posting questionable but hilarious memes on out Twitter or Facebook sharing and retweeting what our friends post. These days, some companies will ask you for your social media account handles so they can check up on what your online activities look like. While this is an absolute no-no for most people, it's kind of fair game for an employer to want to know that your values expressed online will not interfere with theirs. If you spew tribalist garbage online then they have a right to know and refuse you an offer. The ethics around this are murky so my advice is either post what you wouldn't be afraid to defend or set your profiles to private.

What are your weaknesses?

I held interviews a few weeks back where every single candidate told us that their greatest weakness is "being a perfectionist". This is problematic for a number of reasons. I know they all said it because it's one of those weaknesses that makes you look strong anyway. Who wouldn't want someone that makes sure the job done is perfect before it's rolled out? However, 11/11 people giving me this answer just means they all read the same answer from their internet research. if an interviewer asks you this question (and they will) they want to see how self aware you are. Trust me, tihs question is not about singling you out to prove that you're not the right fit. They want to know how well do you understand what you're good at and what you could stand to improve. No one is perfect. Be honest when speaking about a weak point but also be smart enough to talk about how you have or are working on it. It shows self knowledge and a great sense of someone who is willing to improve at every point of their career.

Any tough interview situations you've found yourself in? We'd love to hear them and see if we can help!


Written by

Linda Kimaru

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