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Employers want to know, what is your “story”?

Every person that I interview has a “story”. There are some key questions that employers want to know in reviewing your resume. These answers are very telling when working with a candidate. Sometimes in an interview, candidates can share too much information. While it’s my objective to get to the bottom-line, when you step outside of the “professional” line of questioning, in an interview, you open yourself up to the interpretation of the interviewer. Below are some things you will want to consider before your next interview.

1. Why did the candidate leave their last job or any job for that matter? The way you respond to this question reveals information to the potential employer about your decision-making skills and what your internal drivers are. This is not an invitation to “spell the beans” regarding your previous supervisor, explain your family situation or share your challenges professionally. Keep it simple and to the point- be prepared.

2. How often do candidates change jobs? How many “careers” have they had in this lifetime? Employers want to know what experience you bring to the table. Let’s be honest, cradle to grave employment is obsolete nowadays. Employers look for the candidate that best matches not only the culture but also the required experience they need in a specific role. In looking at your “story” what does your tenure say about you? We all change jobs, the decision to make the change and the way in which we do it says something about how we will handle our exit in their company. The answer to this question, should be precise and to the point- and if you were recruited to another company always share that information. You are then highly desirable.

3. Salary is important and negotiated up front- Employers want to know your progressive career salary in order to better manage your expectation regarding future compensation. You should feel comfortable sharing this information openly and trust that the person asking has some reason. In an interview, your ability to be confident regarding your skill sets and what you bring to the organization helps to set the standard for the offer. This is an area that you truly need to sell yourself into. You want to reiterate the skills you offer that complement the job description. You should note that when you opt to take a pay cut for the right opportunity- you send a red flag to a hiring manager. With that said, in this employment market it is not uncommon, you should follow up with an explanation- factoring in the cost of living in that area, new experience that is offered with this role, etc. An explanation is required when taking a salary cut otherwise; your reason is left up to interpretation. Please note, if you opt to take a pay cut later in your career you will need to explain why that was a good decision. The goal should always be a progressive increase in salary.

I cannot even begin to tell you the candidates that I’ve spoken with who were excited about the opportunity and then tried to “wing” the interview. Do your homework, be familiar with the company, read the job description and be prepared to provide the answers in a precise professional manner.

Anne has over 20 years experience as an Executive Recruiter and Human Resources Consultant. Anne currently provides Human Resources and Behavioral Performance Testing services to clients on an adjunct, project or consulting basis through contractual agreement. If you are interested in retaining her services email: