Peggy Geissler, Placement Counselor
Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest, NJ
1. Be prepared before going for the interview by obtaining
specific information about the company or organization from
the company literature, the human resource department, present
and past employees, customers and competitors.
2. Know yourself.
Know how to discuss (through rehearsing) your qualifications,
skills, accomplishments and how you can help the company
meet their goals. Know what you have stated in your resume
and be able to discuss in detail the relative points.
3. Have a positive attitude.
Demonstrate dependability, motivation and sincerity.
Show enthusiasm through your body language and voice tone.
Express interest in the job and company.
4. Be on time or 10 to 15 minutes early for every job interview.
5. Dress professionally.
HOW TO ANSWER THE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS
Responding positively to all the questions you are asked
is the key to successful interviewing.
Emphasize your strong points. When the questions asked do
not allow for you to present your skills and accomplishments,
you need to steer the interview back on the topic areas that
will allow you to present your qualifications for the position.
Practice concise responses and demonstrate your skills and
accomplishments with specific examples.
Communicate assertively by ending your statement by confirming
your ability to do the job.
DIFFICULT QUESTONS AND ANSWERS
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. Ask the interviewer what segment of your background they
are interested in. Keep your answers brief. Prepare responses
to your early years, education and work experience.
Q. Why do you want to work for us?
A. You have a strong interest in the company's mission or
product line. You know of and would like to solve a company
problem. You could make a specific contribution to the company's
Q. Why should we hire you?
A. Because of my experience and abilities. Relate past experience
that demonstrates how you successfully solved previous employer's
problems which may be similar to the current employer's problems.
Q. What do you look for in a job?
A. Discuss your need to be challenged and take responsibility.
Q. What do you see as the most difficult task in performing
A. Getting things done and on time within the budget.
Q. Why are you leaving your present job?
A. Assuming your current job is not in jeopardy, indicate
that you are seeking to find a new situation that would provide
greater challenge and opportunity.
If your current job is in jeopardy (or you are currently
unemployed) if possible, give a group answer, such as our
office is closing (or closed). We agreed to disagree, etc.
Q. Describe what you feel to be an ideal working environment?
A. Where people are treated fairly. Where there is an opportunity
to use my talents and skills to their potential.
Q. In your current or last position, what are or
were your five most significant accomplishments?
A. Be prepared to discuss with specific examples of your
on the job accomplishments.
Q. Can you work under pressure?
A. Yes, it is what is to be expected in the world of work.
Q. What was the last book you read? Movie you saw?
A. Talk about leisure books to represent balance in your
Q. How would you describe your own personality?
Q. What are your long range goals?
A. Give long range goals. I'd like to do the best job possible
in the position we are talking about. I know if I do a great
job, good things will happen to me later. They always have.
Q. What are your greatest weaknesses?
A. Sometimes I get frustrated with people because I want
the job to get done. Or I cannot think of any work related
weaknesses. My bosses have always thought I was great. I
am the kind not only to do my own job but to also notice
what else needs to be done in other areas and pitch in and
HOW TO HANDLE SALARY NEGOTIATIONS
Do research on salaries for positions in your particular
field to determine appropriate range. Ask individuals already
doing comparable positions about low and high salaries to
establish a range. Review salary surveys in books and periodicals.
Salary Negotiation Rules
Salaries are usually negotiated within an established range.
Whenever possible, allow the employer to bring up the salary
Be comfortable with the salary range that you have established.
Do not overprice yourself. Stay within an appropriate range
based on research. Do not undersell yourself. Aim high.
If forced to state salary requirements, verbalize the top
figure. This will allow for negotiations. Negotiate your
For more information about this or other topics related
to your job search, contact
the IAJVS affiliate agency nearest you.
Would you like to suggest or contribute a column for job
seekers? Please contact us.