Old School Interview Tips-Step4: Interview Questions

Well, here we are in my last installment of Old School Interview Tips.  Today’s tips are more recent than the “old school tips” I’ve been referencing.  Yesterday I promised to share with you what I believe to be one of the hardest interview questions.  This came to me while exploring other blogs in the boston.com business blogs section.  A recruiter writes a blog titled, Confessions of a HeadHuntress, which I found extremely helpful.

So here goes, and first…I’d like to thank Kelly Moeler for sharing this advice:

Kelly’s 10 Tips for Salary Negotiation
• #1 – You are not there for charity and neither are they. It is a given that you are there to make a living – money is critical to “making a living.”

• #2 – They will rarely if ever quote a salary range to you out of the gate and if they do – it’s a vast range. Ie. This role will pay between $20k and $120k. Very similar to the cable guy’s work schedule.

• #3 – There are ways for companies to verify salary so whatever you do – do not blatantly lie about your prior salary history.

• #4 – I understand that you felt underpaid at your last job but an increase from $40k to $95k may be a hard sell to that company. If you TRULY believe that a $55k INCREASE is something you deserve, have reasons to back it up including what the market cost is for someone completing those tasks.

• #5 – KNOW YOUR MARKET – Are you a copywriter? What do other copywriters make on average. It is a much more convincing argument to say “I am looking for X based upon my prior salary and knowledge of the industry average of X amount.”

• #6 – “I’m flexible” is not an answer to a salary question. Gymnastics questions? YES. Salary questions – no.

• #7 – You should consider your three ranges and know them well. Your ideal salary range, your true salary range, and your bottom salary range – meaning that if you go below that range, paying your bills becomes difficult.

• #8 – Research the company you’re interviewing with – are they known for lower salary ranges but have AWESOME perks/vacation time, etc?

• #9 – Other than salary, what are your motivating factors? Do you want more time off? Do you really want a strong healthcare plan? Is there room for advancement in this company that would warrant a pay decrease in the interim because the overall long-term potential for growth is there?

• #10 – As hilarious as we all find it, $1 million-zillion dollars in the voice of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers is never the right answer.

If in doubt and you are truly uncomfortable, simply say “My most recent salary/current salary is $55k and based upon this role – ” and go from there. It sets the standard for the conversation without backing you in to an undesirable salary range.


I feel like I’ve put myself out of the running a few times by giving a broad range, or by simply reverting the question back to the recruiter. Even if I say that the range is nothing I’m tied to and I’m much more interested in the work, they seem to lose interest in me, which I honestly think is a little wrong, but I guess is the way the cookie crumbles.  Cost of living is still high and unless you want someone uneducated and with no experience, which I guess in some cases IS the case, then there should be a cost associated with that kind of labor.

Now, how about a few other questions to ask the interviewer?  Here I’d like to thank the people at Doostang.

1. Ask questions about fit. “It’s helpful to ask questions like, ‘What was the last person who filled this position like?’, ‘What does the ideal employee look like?’, ‘What happened to the last person that had this position?’  It’s certainly okay to get a sense for what your predecessor was like, because those are the shoes you’re trying to fill.

2. Ask questions about the kind of work you may be expected to do.  “Ask, ‘What big projects are there that might be coming up?’, ‘Will I be working more independently or with a team of people?’”, ‘What is your company’s management style?’”

3. Ask about the company in general. “Example questions include, “’What is the organization structure at the company?’”, “’What are the long term goals of the company and where do you see it going in 5 years?’”, “’What is the future of this industry like?’”

4. What kind of experience will you have at this company? “If you can, try to get a feel for office culture and the company’s attitude towards its employees.  This is a key determinant in how happy you will be at a corporation, and is important to know as soon as possible.  Some questions to ask are, ‘Is the office culture more laid-back or traditional?’, ‘Does the company provide guidance on cultivating career goals?’, ‘How often and in what manner will my work be evaluated?’”

Go get em!

What did you do today?


2 thoughts on “Old School Interview Tips-Step4: Interview Questions

  1. Pingback: The 12 Days of Blogging « Career Advice 101

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