I recently got a call from one of my mentees, a very talented multimedia journalist. He was excited because he landed a job interview with a major media outlet looking to beef up its digital/multimedia efforts. After I got his resume in shape (see my resume tips here), he asked if I could help him with his interview prep.
I’m one of those freaks who actually enjoys job interviews. I have a perfect record of getting job offers after every interview I’ve ever done in my 20+-year career. But there are always those tricky questions specifically designed to trip you up. So I offered my mentee — and you — three of these questions and the best way to answer them.
- What is a question that I should have asked you, but didn’t? This is one where your natural inclination is to tell the interviewer they did a great job and asked all the right questions. Bzzzzz! This is you chance to get in yet another plug of your skills and why you are the perfect person for the job they’re hiring for. A good question to throw back at the interviewer is “If you had this job, what changes would you bring to it?” This shows that you’re already inserting yourself as an asset to the company. Give the interviewer an answer that includes an example of how you would use your skills in a potential or existing project at the company.
- This is a job that requires a lot of project juggling. How do you schedule your time and set priorities? Start by talking about the importance of time management and achieving goals. Then offer the specific tools you use to keep your projects in order. For example, I’m a big fan of Trello.com to keep track of my myriad projects. The point is to show them that you have the time management and goal issues in check.
- What is your current salary? Ah, a different spin on the dreaded salary question. You can do one of two things — answer the question or redirect it. If you choose to answer the question, do not lie. But include not only your base salary, but all benefits with a monetary value, like a 401(k) (especially if it comes with a company match) or bonuses and incentives. If you choose not to answer the question, you can redirect by saying something like “I don’t think that my current salary reflects the value that I can bring to your company.” Then highlight the skills you have that perfectly match the skills outlined in the job description.
Please send your career questions you’d like me to address to auntbenet AT gmail DOT com. You may be included in a future column!
Benét J. Wilson is the founder and owner of Aviation Queen LLC, a freelance writing, multimedia and consulting firm. She is a freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger who has written for publications and blogs including USA Today, AirwaysNews.com, CrankyFlier.com, ACI-NA Centerlines magazine, Aviation International News, Airport World, theAirline Passenger Experience magazine and the Runway Girl Network. She currently serves on the board of the Online News Association, where she chairs the Diversity Committee. She is also vice president-digital of the National Association of Black Journalists. She is the editor-in-chief of AllDigitocracy.org.