How long have you been looking for a new job?
A big sign that something is amiss with a potential hire in a normal economic climate is how long he or she has been searching for a job.
What potential employers really need to determine is whether there is something wrong with the candidate that other potential employers have picked up on already. Of course, asking the candidate such a thing will not yield an honest answer, so instead, employers ask how long the candidate has been looking for a job. They can interpret the candidate’s response and try to gauge how likely it is that other interviewers have picked up on some glaring disqualifier that they have not yet discovered.
How did you prepare for this interview?
The more passionate an employee is about a particular organization, the more likely it is that he or she will strive to exceed expectations if they are hired. A good candidate will have read up on the firm, researched the products and services they offer, read a bit about the executives who work there, etc. A bad candidate takes the shotgun at the wall approach. This latter candidate takes walks into any old office building, hoping to get through the interview on personality alone. One way companies separate the two is to ask an indirect question regarding how they prepared for the interview. The candidate who mentions reading up on the organization and demonstrates a working knowledge of the firm’s strengths, services and management team is enthusiastic about working for that company and will likely strive to be the best they can be if selected.
What are your salary requirements for this position?
No matter how stellar a candidate might be, budgetary capacity often limits who companies can afford to hire. The firm might only have room for a $60,000 annual salary for the position and anyone requiring more than that is out of luck. Beyond a certain point, more qualifications and experience cannot equal a higher salary. This is why it is important to the company to determine if they can afford to hire new applicants. They might also try to determine if they can the right person for less than is budgeted for that position, because money saved equals a bigger bottom line. Of course, no interviewer will ever tell the candidate “we can afford to pay you up to $60,000, but we’d like to hear you say you’ll do it for less.” Instead, companies will frequently ask the person what their salary requirements are. The number they name will be important when they review the interview results of multiple applicants and make the final hiring decision.
What kinds of people do you have difficulties working with?”
In today’s expanding global economy, it is almost unavoidable that any new hire will be working in some capacity with people from a wide range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. The last thing companies want to find out is that their new employee is a bigot and treats people differently because of their background. Not only will this cause problems in-house, it can also destroy the firm’s credibility and reputation, depending on how high-up a position he or she is assuming. However, it isn’t politically correct or at all professional to ask someone if they have a problem with specific groups of people, and even if an interviewer did, the candidate would likely deny it. Instead, many firms try an indirect way of asking the same thing, for example: “What kinds of people do you have difficulties working with?” By asking this question, the interviewer is subconsciously communicating that the candidate must have a problem working with some kinds of people. This method can be very effective in subtly revealing inner prejudices the potential hire might possess. In contrast, a good candidate will likely name some neutral group of people, like “dishonest employees,” or “perpetual slackers.”