5 questions job-seekers don't have to answer

Not all interview questions need an answer. It also does not been you should just seat and stare at your interviewer either. There are smart ways of going about it.


Job-seekers tell us stories. They say things like this: “The recruiter asked me a question, but I felt like I was walking into a trap.”

“What was the question?” we want to know.

“The recruiter asked me ‘What percentage salary increase would make you feel good about taking a new job?’” is the reply.

The job-seeker is right — that question is a trap!

Whether you answer “I’d change jobs for a ten percent salary increase” or whether you hold out for twenty-five percent, it’s still a trap, because the next question you’re going to hear is “What are you earning now?”

That question is none of a recruiter’s business! It is no one’s business but your own.

You don’t have to answer any of these salary-related questions when you’re job-hunting (or at any other time):

  • What are you earning now?
  • What did your last job pay?
  • What’s your total compensation — salary plus bonus?

You will need to share your salary target, sometimes called a salary requirement.

If you need to earn $65K or $150K or some other number to feel fairly compensated in your next job, then say so.

You don’t have to give evidence as to why that is your salary target, but you have to know what your talents and experience are worth in your local talent marketplace. You have to do your research before you get on the phone with a recruiter.

Here are more questions that job-seekers are asked all the time, but don’t have to answer — at least not in the standard gravelly, “please choose me!” way:

  • Why are you the best person for this job?
  • What  makes you uniquely qualified for this role?
  • How would you compare yourself to the other people who want this job?
  • What is your greatest strength?

Job-seekers have been taught for years that they have to answer every imaginable, insulting question a recruiter or hiring manager might ask them. It’s not true! Here are ways to handle these ridiculous questions if they come up on a job interview, or on a telephone screening conversation.

Source: Forbes


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