Let me ask you a question: How many questions will you be able to answer successfully at your next job interview?
It's a fair question.
You've been locked down and locked. You haven't been looking for a new job, and if a new job is looking for you, it's having a tough time finding you. But now, with vaccines starting to flow — or starting to spurt, more like — a job interview could be in your future. So, if you want to have a future, you'd better be ready to interview like a champ. Or so I learned in "Your Ultimate Guide to Answering the Most Common Interview Questions," a scary morsel of clickbait on the website The Muse.
While the article is very good when it comes to questions, they definitely have work to do on the answers. Fortunately, the answers you need as you reenter the job market start here:
Question No. 1 is "Tell Me About Yourself." While experts suggest "a pitch — one that's concise and compelling that shows exactly why you're the right fit," I recommend you stand out from the herd by wrapping yourself in a cloak of mystery: "I am a complex and magical potpourri of dreams and desires. I cannot be reduced to a series of check marks on a soulless job description. All you have to know about me is that I am who I am and I need to be free." (Pro tip: If times are tough, cut the last part. You don't need to be free if you need to be hired.)
Question No. 3, "Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?" is clearly a trick question, so watch out. The experts say you should "do your research ... on the organization's opportunities for future growth and how you can contribute to it." This is one way to answer the question. Another way is to ditch the research, which sounds like a lot of work, and just tell the truth: "The companies I really want to work for don't have jobs and you do."
Telling the truth is also the way to respond to question No. 7, "What Do You Consider to Be Your Weaknesses?" The typical advice here is to make up some phony-baloney weakness that really is a positive, such as, "I am too hard on myself in demanding excellence in my work product." Since you are pretty much a perfect human being, you can afford to be truthful and reveal a real weakness, such as," I periodically allow myself to answer stupid, cookie-cutter questions from dingbats like you."
This kind of radical honesty is catnip to hiring managers. A fat job offer will soon be coming your way, guaranteed.
Skipping ahead to question No. 15, we find possible answers to the insulting, but not unlikely, "Why Were You Fired?" The experts suggest you "Frame it as a learning experience" and aim to "portray your growth as an advantage for this next job." I like this advice. How about this? "My experience in the finance department taught me how to think out of the box. When I work for you, I won't use the money I siphon off from the company's bank account to buy a Lambo. I'll stash the money in an offshore account in a country without an extradition treaty with the U.S."
It's a great answer, and you'll love living in Turkmenistan.
Question No. 18, "What's Your Current Salary?" is interesting since it is now "illegal for some or all employers to ask you about your salary history in several cities and states." In all cities and states, answering this question is dumb. You will lie, of course, but if you lie high you could price yourself out of the market and if you lie low you could actually get the job. I recommend the Musk Maneuver, a daring piece of career jiujitsu of which Elon would definitely approve. Let the hiring manager know the salary you want, but quote your price in bitcoins. $450,000 per year sounds about right for someone of your caliber, which may be a stretch to some myopic manager, but not even the cheapest company would put the kibosh on: "Just some spare change. How about seven bitcoins?"
Seven is much easier to swallow than 450,000, and with bitcoins worth $50K each at the time of this writing, you'll get the salary you deserve, no problem. (Pro Tip: If Bitcoins are $150K each by the time you read this, even better. If they're worth 10 cents, you might have to rethink.)
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Russell_Clark at Pixabay