Keep Negative Discussions Out of The Interview

Keep Negative Discussions Out of The Interview

You got the interview and it’s going well but the questions have come around to difficult or negative situations. For example, they might ask you to describe a negative situation or person you had to deal with in the past.


Keep the soap opera out of it

The employer is asking about difficult situations or people to see how you handle yourself professionally in those situations. They don’t want a long drawn out discussion about the impossible person you had to deal with or all the rotten things that happened in association with the situation.


Essentially, they’re looking for the positives buried in the negatives. That means if there are no positives do not use that example! Instead find one where because of your hard work or problem solving or negotiating skills a negative was turned into a positive.


Don’t try and skirt the issue

Some people try to find a work around for the question by saying they have never dealt with a negative situation or person. Well no one is going to believe that. Every one of us runs into negatives all the time. If not professionally then personally or on the bus or in a grocery store. If you have been asked a question then find a way to answer it.


Before your job interview anticipate this question and come up with a few situations in which you can demonstrate your ability at turning negatives into positives. Describe the situation and the steps you took to resolve it. Remember to highlight your great contributions!


Don’t speak badly about your last employer

Even if your last work situation was hell on earth with an impossible to please boss and co-workers that made the thought of coming to work less palatable than the idea of skinny dipping with sharks don’t dwell on the negatives. You probably learned something from the experience. Touch on that quickly then end the discussion with it didn’t work out or we had different expectations. Something brief. Then talk about how excited you are at the prospect of new challenges and move the conversation back to the positives.


Make Sure You Have A STAR Interview

Make Sure You Have A STAR Interview

Interviews are nerve wracking and even though you may have great experiences or qualifications that would make you an idea candidate, sometimes it’s hard to get that across in the moment. Unless you prepared to answer the questions using the STAR (Situation/Task/Action/Result) technique.


By thinking about all your answers within a STAR framework you’ll be able to describe the work Situation or Task, the Actions you took to either finish the task or improve the situation and the fantastic Results of your efforts.


Question: What kind of experience do you have working in a team?



Start by describing the situation. The people involved, the challenges, goals the team had to work with/deal with. If were negatives associated with the experience, frame them as challenges that had to be overcome. Be specific. Don’t say I have worked in many teams. Talk about a specific team and the specific goals.



Approach task the same way you approached situation. Be specific about what exactly the team needed to accomplish. The skills people brought to the table and what (if anything) was lacking. If you can, describe a task or situation that is pertinent to the job you are applying for.



This is the time to highlight your role in the situation. What specific, measurable things did you do to bring about positive results. This is where you want to spend the most time in your answer. Talk about how you came to the action. Steps you took, people you connected with etc.



You’ve already talked about the actions you took, now you get to highlight the benefits of those actions. Give concrete examples of the result. The team was able to achieve 30% more efficiency, sales were increased by 15%, work flow was improved in XYZ ways.


During an interview people might remember to talk about actions taken then forget to discuss the result of those actions. Results are the icing on the cake!



Check out the answers to these questions using the STAR technique from

Salary On The Job Offer Not Quite Enough?

Salary On The Job Offer Not Quite Enough?

You have a job offer and you are seriously considering taking the job, but before you make any sort of commitment you’d like to see if you can increase the salary they are offering.


Make a phone call


Before the date you’re supposed to respond with your answer them call the employer and tell them:


I am interested in this position and I based on my experience and expertise I believe can bring X and Y to your company. I am wondering if you are set on the salary you offered or if there’s an opportunity to enhance it.


If they agree immediately thank them and let them know you will get back to them by the deadline.  If you think they might be open to giving you even more you can say:


Thank you. I appreciate that. It will help me with my decision. Would you also consider X?


If they aren’t willing to go any higher then you can let them know you will respond by the agreed upon date. If they accept your proposal, you can either accept on the spot or say you’ll let them know on the agreed upon date.


Maybe yes maybe no

Instead of answering you right away, they might say they will get back to you. In that case ask for a date when you can either all them back or expect their call.


If they ask you what you have in mind you can ask them what they think is possible or else give them a salary range more in line with what you’re looking for.


Depending on their answer you can either accept right away or let them know you will respond on the agreed upon date.


No room for improvement

If they say no, you still may be able to improve the offer in some other way. You can say:


Instead of X would you consider Y (here you can talk about vacations/benefits etc.)


Remember they have chosen you. They like you and they believe you will be a good fit for their organization. Salary /contract negotiations are part of the process. If you never ask you will never know what the answer might have been!

Prepare The Answers To These Common Job Interview Questions

Prepare The Answers To These Common Job Interview Questions


Some questions are always asked

You have a job interview coming up. Great! Unless you’re a seasoned pro with extensive interview experience behind you, you are probably wondering what sorts of questions they will ask. They will certainly ask questions specific to your field and your experiences but there will also probably be a host of more generic questions.


Here are a few of those and a few hints for how to go about answering them.


Tell me a little about yourself

You could tell them about your love of movies and all things Godzilla, but that won’t get you any closer to the job you’re after. You also don’t want to regurgitate what they’ve already seen on your resume. Essentially you want to give them a snapshot of how you are going to be an amazing fit for their organization as a whole and this job in particular. suggests summarizing your answer with three main points: Who you are. A quick overview of your expertise. Why you want the position.


What are your strengths/weaknesses?

Highlight your positives here with tangible examples to back up what you’re saying and discuss how you recognize a weakness and the steps you are taking to improve. Don’t use negatives words about yourself during the interview. You can talk about a skill you need to improve or learn, but never disparage yourself.


Why do you want to work here?

Homework, homework, homework. If you don’t have a good answer for this, then you probably don’t deserve the job. Research the company extensively before your interview. Check them out on all social media channels, and wow them with your enthusiasm.


What are your salary expectations?

The worst answer here is something along the lines of I’m not sure. What do you think? Or I’m sure whatever you decide will be alright. Once again you need to do some research before hand. Google what people with your experience make in a job like this and come up with a Goldilocks number. Not too high to knock yourself out of the ballpark and not too low to seem unworthy. The Balance Careers has a few tips for answering the salary expectations question.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

If in fact you would like to be working as a surfing instructor in Hawaii in five years it’s best you keep that information to yourself. What the interviewer is looking for here, is an indication of your ambitions. Once again, a little research will take you a long way. Figure out where others who have started in the position you are applying for have gone and within what time frame. Of course, you will tell them about how you first plan on mastering everything there is to know in this current position. Focus on your short term goals in this new job then move on to long term goals.


For more ideas, check out this guide to common interview questions and best answers from Zety.

Interview Must Dos For Success

Five Essentials For A Successful Interview


Whether you are a seasoned interviewee or you are heading into your very first one there are certain things you must do to ensure a successful interview.


Research the company

You spend a lot of time working on yourself in order to get the interview. You ensure you have the qualifications necessary to peruse the career you’re after. You network, you volunteer. You prepare a resume and cover letter specifically geared to this job. You are very self centered – as you must be. Now it’s time to look outward. Once you have an interview lined up your first priority is to get to know the company. Of course you will check out their website, but don’t stop there. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Get a feel for their company culture, their attitude. If come across any news, bring it up in the interview. Make sure the interviewer understands you are not just looking for a job, you are looking for a job with them.


Decide where you would like to fit

You have done a lot of research into this company. Is the position you’re applying for where you want to stay or is it a starting point? Have a plan for your future with this company and be ready to explain it. Ensure the interviewer understands why you are a great fit for the job at hand and explain how you can be an asset to the company down the road. Create a future picture for the company in their mind with you in it.


Prepare answers to common interview questions

There are questions common to just about every interview. Tell me about yourself, What are your greatest strengths etc. Here are some from Inc. Here are some more from Workopolis. Review these questions and have well thought out, professional answers.


One of the questions they will ask you is, Do you have any questions for us?


No I think you’ve covered everything during the interview is the wrong answer.  Demonstrate how excited you are about the position with the right questions. To help you figure out what those might be, check out these examples from Big Interview.


Don’t forget what your body is saying

You’ve prepared what’s going to come out of your mouth. Now don’t forget the reams of things you will say silently. If your mouth says one thing and your body says another, chances are the interviewer will go with the things unsaid with words.


Even if you are a walking nerve, your body language doesn’t have to be any indication of that. All you need to remember is to keep eye contact, sit up straight, smile, breathe (always breathe) and listen to what the interviewer is saying. Meaning don’t spend all your time thinking ahead to what you are going to say next. Really listen to the interviewer, nod, lean in a little.


Follow up

The interview is not over until you have sent a thank you note. Thank them again for the interview, quickly bring up a point of discussion you had and reiterate your interest in the position. Here are a few examples from the balance careers

Put Some Muscle Behind The Greatest Strength Question

Put Some Muscle Behind The Greatest Strength Question

Questions you’re likely to see in a job interview include: Where do you see yourself in 5 years. Tell me about yourself. What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest strength seems like one of the easier ones. Don’t take it too lightly. This question gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself and your abilities. More than the others, is designed to see if you’re the right fit for the job.

Do Your Research

The first thing you want to do is some research. Find out what the company values. What traits do they look for in employees? Take a look at the job description and see what the job requirements are. What seem to be the most important ones? Choose strengths that align with those traits.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes time for you to consider what strengths you want to mention at your interview, focus on quality rather than quantity. Mentioning a whole host of things you consider yourself good at only shows you’re not great at anything. Focusing on only a couple things you consider your strengths will allow you to paint a stronger picture of yourself and those talents.

Back It Up

When you’ve picked the strengths that best suit the job and position, make sure you have specific stories you can use to demonstrate those qualities. Talk about how and where you developed the skills and instances where they have proven useful. It’s easy to say you have a given strength, it’s much more impressive when you can give specific examples.

That Balance Careers has a couple examples of how to best answer this question, here’s one:


“I am a skilled salesman with over ten years of experience. I have exceeded my sales goals every quarter and I’ve earned a bonus each year since I started with my current employer.”


In this short example, a strength is given, and followed up with proof. Do the same, and you’ll knock this interview question out of the park. Good Luck!