wonders, “Is this person really able to handle the job?”…”Is he or she a ‘good
fit’ at a place like ours?”…”Will the chemistry ever be right with someone like
this?” But the interviewer never raises such questions because they’re illegal.
So what can you do?
that just because the interviewer doesn’t ask an illegal question doesn’t mean
he doesn’t have it. More than likely, he is going to come up with his own
answer. So you might as well help him out.
How? Well, you obviously can’t respond to an illegal
question if he hasn’t even asked. This may well offend him. And there’s always
the chance he wasn’t even concerned about the issue until you brought it up,
and only then begins to wonder.
So you can’t address “secret” illegal questions head-on.
But what you can do is make sure there’s enough counterbalancing information to
more than reassure him that there’s no problem in the area he may be doubtful
For example, let’s say you’re a sales rep who had polio as a child and
you need a cane to walk. You know your condition has never impeded your
performance, yet you’re concerned that your interviewer may secretly be
wondering about your stamina or ability to travel. Well, make sure that you hit
these abilities very hard, leaving no doubt about your capacity to handle them
So, too, if you’re in any different from what passes for
“normal”. Make sure, without in any way seeming defensive about yourself that
you mention strengths, accomplishments, preferences and affiliations that
strongly counterbalance any unspoken concern your interviewer may have.
Prepare for this question by thinking of how you can position yourself
as a desired commodity. If you are still working, describe the possibilities at
your present firm and why, though you’re greatly appreciated there, you’re
looking for something more (challenge, money, responsibility, etc.). Also
mention that you’re seriously exploring opportunities with one or two other
If you’re not working, you can talk about other employment
possibilities you’re actually exploring. But do this with a light touch,
speaking only in general terms. You don’t want to seem manipulative or coy.
“After my job was terminated, I made a conscious decision not to jump on the
first opportunities to come along. In my life, I’ve found out that you can
always turn a negative into a positive IF you try hard enough. This is what I
determined to do. I decided to take whatever time I needed to think through
what I do best, what I most want to do, where I’d like to do it…and then
identify those companies that could offer such an opportunity.”
“Also, in all honesty, you have to factor in the recession
(consolidation, stabilization, etc.) in the (banking, financial services,
manufacturing, advertising, etc.) industry.”
“So between my being selective and the companies in our
industry downsizing, the process has taken time. But in the end, I’m convinced
that when I do find the right match, all that careful evaluation from both
sides of the desk will have been well worthwhile for both the company that
hires me and myself.
Have a few heroes in mind, from your mental “Board of Directors” –
Leaders in your industry, from history or anyone else who has been your mentor.
Be prepared to give examples of how their words, actions
or teachings have helped inspire your achievements. As always, prepare an
answer which highlights qualities that would be highly valuable in the position
you are seeking.
You know that your key strategy is to first uncover your interviewer's
greatest wants and needs before you answer questions. And from Question 1, you
know how to do this.
Prior to any interview, you should have a list mentally
prepared of your greatest strengths. You should also have, a specific example
or two, which illustrates each strength, an example chosen from your most
recent and most impressive achievements.
You should, have this list of your greatest strengths and
corresponding examples from your achievements so well committed to memory that
you can recite them cold after being shaken awake at 2:30AM.
Then, once you uncover your interviewer's greatest wants
and needs, you can choose those achievements from your list that best match up.
As a general guideline, the 10 most desirable traits that
all employers love to see in their employees are:
A proven track record as an achiever...especially if your
achievements match up with the employer's greatest wants and needs.
decent human being.
Good fit with corporate culture...someone to feel
comfortable with...a team player who meshes well with interviewer's team.
Likeability...positive attitude...sense of humor.
Good communication skills.
Dedication...willingness to walk the extra mile to achieve