Tricky Questions at Job Interviews

During an interview, we as recruiters generally do not ask tricky questions, although candidates often seem to think the opposite. That is precisely why we would like to clarify what an intention lays behind certain questions that candidates are most often hesitant about how to answer and ask if there is an accurate answer.

What are your salary expectations for this position? There are no accurate and inaccurate answers to this question, but it is asked with an intention to determine whether candidate’s expectations and employer’s budgets fit. This is often important to determine at the very beginning of the process because if an employer does not have a budget high enough to meet the candidate’s expectations, there will be no joint co-operation in the end. In such a case, we spent both employer’s and candidate’s time, discontent occurs on both sides, and maybe that time could have been better invested in some other position that better coincides with wishes and capabilities of both sides.

Being an HR agency, we are often obliged not to communicate exact amounts of salaries to candidates, and in order to come to successful placement of a candidate, we strive to determine expectations of each candidate. We can comment on whether an expectation fits into or exceeds the budget for position so that a candidate is about to gain an overview of the situation. If expectations are too high for an employer’s budget, it is important for us to determine whether a candidate is flexible and if there is a space for negotiations to ultimately employ a candidate on mutual satisfaction.

An amount that you specify as an expected salary will sometimes not be the same as an amount that was eventually offered to you. The height of wages can be fixed and the same for all employees in this position, so your expectations do not really affect the final offer, but there may be a salary range for certain positions, and the exact offer is created according to an individual: given the knowledge, experience, and skills in every concrete case.

Before an interview, be sure to get informed about the approximate salary of people in similar positions and consider the salary that you would really be satisfied with in the future. It is always good to come prepared with predetermined and realistic expectations so as not to have an unpleasant surprise during an interview.

 Are you actively looking for a job and are you already involved in other selections processes? This question is also not a tricky one, but a technical one set to determine the selection process itself. A recruiter will consider this information of great importance so that they can adjust the speed of the selection process. Namely, if at the moment of an interview you already have a business offer from another company, it would not be fair to you, or to other employer, to wait for feedback for a longer period. Therefore, we strive to finish this process as quickly as possible, and of course, with the intention of being the first to give you a job offer. It is also important that we know what jobs you apply to, in order to get a picture of your wishes for the future and your career plans.

What is your biggest flaw? This question can be asked in several different ways, in terms of what you do not like about yourself or where you see the space for personal progress. We all have highs and lows, and it is important that before the job interviews, you think about your advantages, but also your weak sides, and to reflect about what traits are really needed for a particular position. Before the interview, read and analyse the job description, identify the skills necessary to perform the specified duties. Turn your flaw into your own asset and show a desire for progress through the idea of how to improve in this field. This question is certainly not set to eliminate you, but rather to give you an opportunity to present yourself in the right light, and show that you are realistic and conscious of yourself, so that it would be good to avoid cliché answers such as “I am a perfectionist, I am too devoted to work” or “I do not have any flaws,” because they sound untruthful and inconclusive. Be honest when you talk about your flaws, because that is something which will be sensed from a recruiter’s side.

Recruiters have a task to find the best person for a specific position. If they misestimate your ability and motivation for a job, there is a possibility that you can get a job that you will not be satisfied with and you will have a desire to change it very quickly. Although a candidate’s motive to be chosen for the position they applied for is always very strong, the best situation for all involved parties (candidates, recruiters, and employers) is that behind our motivation for a job is a good analysis of ourselves and the job that we are applying for. Therefore, prepare yourself for an interview as well as you can and present yourself honestly in the best possible way.

Millennials, a new challenge for HR

In one of his speeches, organizational consultant Simon Sinek points out that the generation of millennials is characterized by a need to “making an impact”. In a few years, members of this generation, composed of people born between 1980 and 1995, will make 50% of the global workforce and it is important to consider how characteristics of the millennials affect their professional habits.

The great desire of this generation to significantly contribute to the companies where they work can be a great advantage for employers. For several decades, one of the main challenges of HR professionals is how to motivate employees. The influx of young, ambitious and educated professionals at first glance seems like an ideal solution. Still, Simon Sinek points to the other side of the coin. The millennials, although ambitious, can hardly be described as patient. If the experience of “making an impact” is missing shortly after the arrival in the new company, it can often be followed by the decline of motivation and frustration with professional stagnation. In extreme cases, the consequence of the lack of impact can be a transfer to another company. In this way, paradoxically, highly motivated workers become a challenge for the HR sector.

On the one hand, HR experts are trying to cope with this problem through a design of continuous education and advancement programs. This is how you try to focus and seize the potential of that motivated generation. Still, it seems that these efforts seem not to have given much effect so far. A 2018 Deloitte survey shows that even 48% of the millennials do not plan to work for the current employer within two years, while 28% of them plan not to stay longer than 5 years. Apart from the opportunity to advance, one of the main reasons why millennials move to other companies is a better balance of private and business life and greater flexibility.

It seems that, for now, millennials accept a career path that implies frequent changes. Some estimates suggest that if the trend continues, the average millennial will change up to 20 positions for the rest of their career. Still, as Simon Sinek himself says, making impact is a process. The actual contribution of the company does not come with the position, it is built through long-term advocacy. It seems that if the impact of the influence remains the ultimate goal, the changes will have to be also made by millennials, not just companies.

How to deal with jitters before a job interview?

The process of finding a job at some moments can be exhausting, stressful, and with a lot of doubts that accompany it. Candidates who are beginners in this process often feel lost and discouraged, and jitters are a very frequent companion of job interviews.

Jitters are a kind of fear that occurs in situations when a person estimates that they are not ready enough for an upcoming event or that they do not have enough capacity for it. As such, jitters can encourage a person to be further prepared for an upcoming event, and then we say it is stimulating stage fright. On the other hand, it can also make a person want to quit, or they become completely blocked, and then we call it inhibitive stage fright.

There are various techniques that are used and can help people who encounter jitters, anxiety, or nervousness before an important upcoming event. In subsequent lines, we will try to present practical techniques that can help you prepare for an important upcoming event.


1. What is the worst that can happen?

In situations when you feel nervous and insecure about your knowledge or skills, it is useful to ask yourself a question “What is the worst that can happen?”. It happens that people in stressful situations perceive those situations as worse and harder than they really are and anticipate consequences as more significant and more serious compared to what may really happen. When you ask yourself this question, you will realize that what can happen is not the worst thing and that the situation is not as bad and irreversible as it seemed to you at first glance. Then the feeling of tension and anxiety will be reduced, and this will help you be more relaxed about the upcoming event.


2. 4 – 7 – 8 breathing exercise

This is a technique that can significantly help you rid yourself of the feeling of tension just before an important event. It is straightforward, and it takes about five minutes to perform it:

  • Place yourself comfortably in a chair and close your eyes
  • Breathe deep through your nose counting to 4
  • Then, hold your breath counting to 7
  • Exhale slowly counting to 8

You can repeat this technique several times. Deep breaths will help you inhale the oxygen into your system, which is very important for its functioning. Holding breath helps us intake oxygen into our bloodstream and reach all cells of the organism. The last step, the exhale, will slow the heart’s work and return it to normal. This exercise can also serve when you have troubles sleeping.


3. Superhero posture

Different pieces of psychological research confirm the thesis that taking a specific position of the body can affect the increase in confidence. The pose of superheroes involves standing in the so-called open position, with spread legs, your hands on hips and with eyes looking up. This posture can cause changes in behaviour and neuroendocrinological system (an increase of testosterone, as well as a reduction of cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone). Besides, people who occupy the pose of superheroes have a greater tendency to take risks.


4. Progressive muscular relaxation

This technique allows us to have deep muscle relaxation, as it reduces the feeling of tension and anxiety. For this technique, you can take out 15 minutes and also exercise in everyday situations. The essence of the exercise is alternating contractions (about 5 seconds) and the relaxation of a certain group of muscles. Between each muscle group, take a 15-seconds recess. You can start the exercise from your head, and down to the following muscle regions:

  • head (lifting of the forehead)
  • neck (lifting the shoulders high to the neck)
  • back (touching the shoulder blades)
  • hands (relaxing and tightening the fist)
  • chest (deep breath)
  • stomach (retracting the stomach)
  • legs (relaxing and tightening of the whole leg)
  • calves (relaxing and tightening)
  • feet (strong push of toes to the interior of the foot)

Switching between tension and relaxation, you will learn to distinguish these conditions and become more aware of the parts of your body that are particularly tense.

In the previous rows, we went through just some of the techniques that exist, and that can greatly help you fight stage fright. None of these techniques can guarantee that you will never have any more jitters, which should not happen indeed. As we have stated at the beginning of the text, stage fright can have a positive impact and stimulate you. These techniques can help you relax and start thinking about a constructive and productive way that is aimed at presenting yourself in the best light of an upcoming event.

Get a job with a LinkedIn profile

For anyone who starts looking for a job, the first or a new one, a profile on LinkedIn can help a lot, but only if it is properly made and visible.

LinkedIn is a global social network intended for business people. In addition to employees, many companies have official pages there, and therefore, in addition to connecting with colleagues and potential employers, you can find useful articles and job ads.

As one of the essential tools in the recruitment process, recruiters often use LinkedIn to search for adequate candidates for specific positions. During a search, they focus on several basic items, and we will present the most important aspects that your profile should cover:

Location: Make sure to set the exact location where you are interested in working, specify the country in which you reside.

Specify the exact job title you currently occupy, but also make a brief description of your most important responsibilities. The same job description is often called differently in different companies, so a job description will help recruiters understand what you do precisely.

Make sure that the name of the position and the period which you spent in each company match the information you have specified in your CV.

When you change your employer or position, change the data in your profile on time so that you do not get accidentally contacted for a workplace from which you progressed further a few years ago.

Specify languages you speak and the approximate level of your knowledge.

Specify keywords such as programs in which you work and skills, both technical or social that you have because these are the keywords that recruiters will use to seek for you.

Additional: Make your profile credible. Leave recommendations for colleagues you collaborate with or had an opportunity to cooperate in the past. Then ask them to write their experience in working with you. A good recommendation on LinkedIn can mean a lot, especially if you were recommended as a competent or diligent colleague and expert.

Show your interest in the area where you want to develop yourself: attend online courses in that area and attach your certificates.

Build your network: Connect with your colleagues, influential people from your industry, but also with people from HR, so you get on their radar.

Write articles and comments, show your knowledge in action, and the more active you are, the sooner you will get noticed by managers who can later offer you cooperation.

Even if you are not actively looking for a job right now, it is good to have an updated and active profile on this social network because when a wish or a need to change it occurs, you will be a step closer to a new offer. On the other hand, it is always good to be open to new opportunities, because there may be an opportunity only one InMail away from you.