More tips from our expert.
We give lots of advice here at TopInterview, but we know that dedicated job seekers like you often have questions of their own. Because of this, our career expert, Amanda Augustine, took on some of your burning questions in our first Facebook Live Q&A. Read on for part two of our summary of Augustine's responses, or click here for our recaps of Your Interview Questions Answered — Part 1 and Your Interview Questions Answered — Part 3.
1. “How do I talk about salary? I don't want to sound greedy, but I also don't want to sell myself short.”
Talking money is never easy, but this is a question you need to face head-on — don't try to deflect it. The number you give should be a reflection of your years of experience, but the company's size and locational will also factor in. Do your research using sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to get an idea of your market value and use that as a basis for determining the number you'll give to the interviewer.
More and more often, questions about salary are making their way into phone screens so an employer can determine right away if you fit their budget. In this case, pick a number toward the middle of your range — you don't want to take yourself out of the running, and you can always negotiate later when you have more leverage.
When answering this question, be careful of your word choice. Even if they are used in the question, avoid words like “deserve” and “should get” in your answer because they make you seem entitled. Instead, preface your answering by mentioning your research and qualifications.
2. “I have awful interview anxiety. Do you have any tips to help me handle my nerves?”
There are some things you can do on the day of your interview to calm your anxiety. If you rely on caffeine, for example, go half-caff that day (or don't drink your whole cup) — adrenaline will take care of some of the energizing for you. Also, bananas and almonds are natural beta-blockers and can help lower your adrenaline, so you can try incorporating those into your pre-interview meal so you don't feel jittery. Finally, think about what you like to do to let off steam — whether it's going for a run, meditating, or drawing — and try to fit that into your day to release some nervous energy.
That said, practice, research, and preparation will always have the strongest calming effects because you'll feel more confident going into your interview. Figure out what common interview questions make you the most nervous and pay special attention to those. You can also work with a professional TopInterview coach who will help you know what to expect and feel more prepared for the big day.
3. “I want to sound knowledgeable, but I'm afraid I'll sound arrogant. How can I show the right amount of confidence?”
This is an important question because your confidence level can have a big impact on what a hiring manager thinks of you in an interview. In fact, a study conducted by TopInterview and Resume-Library found that according to employers, “overconfidence” is considered the most offensive personality trait in a job candidate.
One way to avoid coming off as arrogant is the avoid big, sweeping statements when describing your accomplishments. Declarations like “I'm amazing at sales” and “I'm the best one on my team” don't tell an employer anything, and they sound like you are patting yourself on the back. Instead, demonstrate how good you were in your past jobs by getting specific about what you've achieved — let the facts speak for themselves.
You can also avoid appearing arrogant through the questions you ask at the end of your interview. Thoughtful inquiries about the individual, company, or field can show that you are ready and willing to learn. You can even show your interest in their expectations by asking about what they'd like to see you achieve, should you get the job.
There's more to learn
Thank you for joining us for TopInterview's first live chat! If you have more questions, you can browse our blog of interview advice or check out our recap of Your Interview Questions Answered — Part 1 and Your Interview Questions Answered — Part 3. If you're ready to take your interview preparation to the next level, consider working with one of TopInterview's professional interview coaches. Learn more about TopInterview here.