What Were Your First Title And Last Title At
This is one of the typical interview questions used to find out how much a former employer really valued the candidate.
Ideally, the candidate rose in rank at the company at the expected pace, or they have a satisfactory explanation for why their title didn’t change as expected.
Red flag: Similar to the beginning and ending salary question â if they were not able to rise in rank at the pace you would expect, it could be a red flag.
As The Interview Is Happening
As the interview proceeds, your main concern should be to answer the interviewers questions thoughtfully. However, if possible you should also aim to weave in some of the following statements:
- Dont just say youre a match for this job: Say why. Review the job posting and match its requirements to your resume ahead of time to determine which qualifications are most valuable. Then, use examples of real-life interactions, success stories, and accomplishments from your past. Be sure to tailor your anecdotes based on the jobs specific requirements and responsibilities: Im a match for this job because
- Explain how you will add value : In previous roles, heres what Ive done and this is how I will add value to your company.
- Convey that youre a team player:I consider working with others to be one of my strengths.
- Suggest that you would plan on staying with the company:This role aligns with my long-term goals, and Id really like to continue to build my career at this company.
- Emphasize that youre eager to learn and develop yourself personally and professionally:Im always looking to build my skills, and Ive recently ____ which I think has really sharpened my edge in this field.
What Were Your Starting Salary And Final Salary At
This is a top interview question for checking credentials. The pay should match their seniority level. You should also see that it has risen at least by what you’d expect during their time at the company.
Red flags: Salary hasn’t risen at the normal rate for a long time. Salary does not match position â for example, they had a senior-level job title but were paid an entry-level salary.
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The last one is particularly important. The steps to be a doctor nursing school, internship, residency, fellowship is a long and grueling process. In other words, only the committed can be doctors. Its more likely to find that commitment in a candidate thats genuinely passionate vs. someone whos doing for some other motive whether its money, prestige, or pleasing others.
What Are Your Salary Requirements
This is always a tricky question. You dont want to lowball yourself, but at the same time, you dont want to be told No because you gave such an outrageous number.
When answering, keep these 3 things in mind:
- Whats the average salary for someone of your skill-level?
- How much does the company pay employees of your skill level? GlassDoor should be super helpful here.
- Finally, how much are you getting paid in your current company? In most cases, you can probably negotiate a pay bump from what youre currently getting.
The final number you tell them should incorporate all 3 of the points we just mentioned. Do you know for a fact that the company is doing well ? Youd quote a higher salary.
Is your skill-level above average? This should be reflected in your salary.
As a rule of thumb, you can figure out 2 numbers: whats the good scenario, and whats the best scenario?
Answer the interviewer with your best pay, and worst case scenario, theyll negotiate it down.
Or, you can also answer with a range, and chances are, theyll pick the number somewhere in the middle.
As the big boss man
Instead, think realistically about what the next step after this position is, and whether it is possible toreach it within the company you are applying at.
- Sample Answer 1:
Within the next 5 years, Id like to reach the position of a Senior Business Consultant. During the time period, I would like to accomplish the following:
- Sample Answer 2:
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Favorite Interview Questions From Some Of The Sharpest Folks We Know
Here at First Round, were always searching for advice that gets overlooked or goes unshared, hoping to find the stones that company builders dont even know to turn over.
Whether its through in-person events, online discussions on First Round Network , or the articles and interviews we share here on the Review, were driven by an ambition to create the space founders and startup leaders need to exchange that trapped knowledge.
And in those spaces, weve seen time and time again how the conversation inevitably drifts back to a single topic. Whether its a Fast Track mentorship pairing, an intimate Co-Founder Forum dinner or a CTO unconference, hiring always seems to be top of mind.
Theres no shortage of challenges that could benefit from a dose of outside perspective, from finding hiring practices that scale to bringing on a new exec to nabbing a great in-house recruiter. And then there’s the interview.
When youre scaling quickly, moving at warp speed, and sitting on several hiring panels, interviewing can seem like a task you just need to get through. But its worth pausing to remember that the decision to hire someone is an expensive and far-reaching one. And since youre forced to make it after spending a few hours together, maximizing what you can learn about candidates in those precious few minutes becomes all the more crucial.
Of course, weve shared a fair amount of interview best practices in the past here on the Review. .
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What Are Your Salary Expectations
The number one rule of answering this question is: Figure out your salary requirements ahead of time. Do your research on what similar roles pay by using sites like PayScale and reaching out to your network. Be sure to take your experience, education, skills, and personal needs into account, too! From there, Muse career coach Jennifer Fink suggests choosing from one of three strategies:
- Give a salary range: But keep the bottom of your stated range toward the mid-to-high point of what youre actually hoping for, Fink says.
- Flip the question: Try something like That’s a great questionit would be helpful if you could share what the range is for this role, Fink says.
- Delay answering: Tell your interviewer that youd like to learn more about the role or the rest of the compensation package before discussing pay.
What Are Your Goals
When you’re asked, “What are your goals?” sometimes it’s best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility.”
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What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses
It can feel awkward to discuss your weaknesses in an environment where youre expected to focus on your accomplishments. However, when answered correctly, sharing your weaknesses shows that you are self-aware with an interest in continued growth and learningtraits that are extremely attractive to many employers. Consider using this formula for your response:
1. Select an actual weakness that is honest but professionally relevant:”Im naturally shy…
2. Add context:”…From high school and into my early professional interactions, it sometimes prevented me from speaking up…
3. Provide a specific example:”…After being a part of a workgroup that didnt meet our strategic goals two quarters in a row, I knew I owed it to my team and myself to confidently share my ideas…
4. Explain how you overcame or are working to overcome it:”…I joined an improv acting class. Its fun and has really helped me overcome my shyness. I learned practical skills around leading discussions and sharing diverse perspectives. Now, in group settings, I always start conversations with the quieter folks. I know exactly how they feel, and people can be amazing once they start talking.
Why Did You Apply
We all need to pay the bills, but it’s important to check that this is not the sole motivation for a candidate. They’re likely to be a more productive and happy employee if they identify with your company in some way.
It might be the projects you’re working on or the direction you’re heading in. It could be the fact that you’re a 2-person startup and they’re interested in responsibility. Maybe it’s the fact that you’ve just signed some big customers. Hopefully it’s something!
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What Was Your Salary In Your Last Job
This is a tough one. You want to be open and honest, but frankly, some companies ask the question as the opening move in salary negotiations.
Try an approach recommended by Liz Ryan. When asked, say, “I’m focusing on jobs in the $50K range. Is this position in that range?”
Maybe the interviewer will answer maybe she won’t. If she presses you for an answer, you’ll have to decide whether you want to share or demur. Ultimately your answer won’t matter too much, because you’ll either accept the salary offered or you won’t, depending on what you think is fair.
I’m Excited To Get Started
Showing your enthusiasm about the job can demonstrate you are ready and willing to go forward with the hiring process. When the interviewer talks about the potential applicants to the manager or business owner, they may be more likely to present you in a more positive tone because of how eager you were to begin working.
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What Is Your Greatest Achievement Outside Of Work
This question reveals a lot about the candidate’s personality and drive. Look for candidates that have achieved something that requires plenty of time, hard work, and sacrifice. This type of work ethic will be beneficial for long-term projects.
Red flag: The candidate is unable to describe any noteworthy achievements outside of their professional career.
What Type Of Work Environment Do You Prefer
Be sure to do your homework on the organization and its culture before the interview. Your research will save you here. Your preferred environment should closely align to the companys workplace culture . For example, you may find on the companys website that they have a flat organizational structure or that they prioritize collaboration and autonomy. Those are key words you can mention in your answer to this question.
If the interviewer tells you something about the company that you didnt uncover in your research, like, Our culture appears buttoned-up from the outside, but in reality, its a really laid-back community with little competition among employees, try to describe an experience youve had that dovetails with that. Your goal is to share how your work ethic matches that of the organizations.
Example: That sounds great to me. I like fast-paced work environments because they make me feel like Im always learning and growing, but I really thrive when Im collaborating with team members and helping people reach a collective goal as opposed to competing. My last internship was at an organization with a similar culture, and I really enjoyed that balance.
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Example Weakness : Lacking Confidence
Im naturally shy. From high school and into my early professional interactions, it prevented me from speaking up. After being a part of a workgroup that didnt meet our strategic goals two quarters in a row, I knew I owed it to my team and myself to confidently share my ideas. I joined an improv acting classits fun and has really helped me overcome my shyness. I learned practical skills around leading discussions and sharing diverse perspectives. Now, in group settings, I always start conversations with the quieter folks. I know exactly how they feel, and people can be amazing once they start talking.
‘i Am Always Looking For Opportunities To Build My Skills’
Although you need to show that you’re qualified for the position, employers also appreciate seeing that you’re willing to learn and adapt to a new work environment. When possible, highlight these traits with examples from your professional experience. For example, you may mention a situation where you had to learn a new software within a short time period to complete a task. You can also show your passion for the industry you’re in by mentioning how you stay updated on new trends and developments. Support these statements by referencing specific publications, blogs or podcasts that you use.
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What Do You Like To Do For Fun
This question is designed to reveal more about the candidate’s character. There is no wrong answer here, but the answers are revealing in that you will be able to understand their personality and cultural choices which will help you determine if they will be a good fit for your company.
Red flag: Since there are no wrong answers, use this question to learn more about the candidate’s personality and if they will fit in with your corporate culture.
What Skills Would You Bring To The Job
While this is similar to questions like, Why should we hire you? or What can you bring to the company? it allows you to be more specific about your work ethic, style and unique abilities as it relates to the role.
An impactful answer will discuss your hard and soft skills and use the STAR method to illustrate how your unique skills might benefit the team or organization.
Example answer:I can make anyone feel comfortable in a new environment, which makes me a good fit as a human resources assistant. In my previous position, a new employee came to me and told me that she didnt think she was right for the company culture. After talking to her for a few minutes, we realized that she felt too much pressure to participate in company events. I started introducing events that involved fewer competitions and more casual environments, and she quickly grew more comfortable with her team.
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Now Strategy Number 2 Is To Clarify The Question
When clarifying, you can also ask the interviewer to define or explain their question.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Im not sure I understood the question fully. Could you explain what you mean by _____?
- Im so sorry, Im not sure what you meant by that. Can you repeat your question please?
- Id like to make sure I understood correctly. Youre asking __________?
Not only do these clarification questions buy you some time to think but they also guarantee that you understand the question and can respond appropriately.
What Are Your Biggest Strengths
I’m not sure why interviewers ask this question your resume and experience should make your strengths readily apparent.
Even so, if you’re asked, provide a sharp, on-point answer. Be clear and precise. If you’re a great problem solver, don’t just say that: Provide a few examples, pertinent to the opening, that prove you’re a great problem solver. If you’re an emotionally intelligent leader, don’t just say that: Provide a few examples that prove you know how to answer the unasked question.
In short, don’t just claim to have certain attributes — prove you have those attributes.
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What Was The Last Thing You Nerded Out On
Shawne Ashton, VP of Growth at mindbodygreen levels this one at candidates as a final question. It helps me get a sense of whether this person is a life-long learner, self-starter, naturally curious, and able to teach themselves new things they’re interested in, she says. By emphasizing that it doesnt need to be work related, I find that I also get to know the person a bit more beyond their direct job experience, and it ends the interview on a fun note.
Upstarts Head of Strategy and Partner Operations Cindy Smith asks a similar question, with a slight twist: Tell me about a topic that youve taken it upon yourself to learn about. I want to hear them talk about something theyve received no formal training on, says Smith. It shows curiosity, tenacity around learning and it helps me gauge how a person tackle hard topics and new challenges.
What Can I Tell You About Working Here
A few years back at our CTO Summit, Kellan Elliott-McCrea gave an incredible talk on how Etsy grew their number of female engineers by 500% in one year So we werent surprised that his take on interviewing was similarly deep and insightful.
The former SVP of Eng at Blink Health and Etsy CTO finds that the fundamental model we use to interview within the tech industry is wrong. It assumes we’re panning a stream of high performing technical specialists for a few gems.This may have been true once upon a time, but it isn’t the world we live in anymore, says Elliott-McCrea. Software is a straightforward technical project, but a difficult social, cultural and operational one.
Heres his take on what interviewers should focus on instead:
Treating the interview as a collaboration to make sure that the role is a good fit is the first priority. Making sure the candidate has a positive experience is the second priority. Everything else is a nice-to-have.
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