Got an upcoming meeting with a recruiter or headhunter? You need to be prepared to strategically position yourself as a lead candidate. Often the first questions interviewers pose are designed to raise possible red flags in the quest to fill coveted executive and senior leadership positions.
Have you faced – and failed – these in interviews “Walk me through your resume” and “Why are you interested in leaving your current job”?
These common job interview questions aren’t softball questions: They’re specifically designed to help the headhunter weed out the individuals who aren’t qualified or won’t fit in with their client’s corporate culture. Planning your response to these tricky questions is the best way to perform well.
“Walk me through your resume.”
Prep for this question by working through the chronological order of your resume. The key is to keep the prospective employer’s needs in mind, and use each previous job, certification or educational opportunity to highlight how your skillset matches the job description. Use language from the job posting in your answers, demonstrating how your qualifications and experience fulfill the job’s requirements.
A final recommendation: Don’t dismiss your answer to this powerful job interview question, thinking you can wing it. According to Wall Street Prep, “it is a deal breaker for some interviewers and is one of the few questions that you can prepare for because you should be expecting it.”
“Why are you leaving your current job?”
If there is one guiding factor to consider when answering this question, it’s to be positive. Never answer this question with a negative, saying “I was bored,” or “My boss was a pain.” Indeed, interviewers will view answers that reveal negative patterns as a sign that you’re not an ideal candidate.
The story you tell needs to be a positive one, demonstrating how you excelled at your job and are at the top of your game. Avoid any answers that diminish the role at your existing employer. Create a compelling reason which includes a summary of your skills and experience related to the hiring manager’s needs. i.e. “This opportunity truly grabbed my attention as you need someone who has expertise devising and leading enterprise–wide change initiatives. As I have 10 years’ experience driving innovation and change in order to successfully reposition organizations as market leaders, I saw this as an exciting opportunity I wanted to explore.”
Here are some additional strategies for effectively navigating this common leadership interview question:
- Always paint your employer in a positive light. Interviewers want to hear positive responses that also show enthusiasm for new opportunities. U.S. News and World Report reiterates this advice, “because [the answer] demonstrates your loyalty and respect for the company, even though they obviously know you’re not happy there. They see that you’re able to ‘play the game,’ keep emotions out of it and protect the image of the company even if and when things don’t work out.” Try praising your current employer during the interview but show excitement about the future.
- Reveal the goal you’re focusing on. Instead of talking about what you’re leaving (a challenging coworker, for instance), discuss what you’re moving toward. Keep in mind that the reason you’re sitting in front of the interviewer is for possible opportunities in the future. In this way, you can avoid having to bring up a hard-to-work-for boss or being passed over for a promotion.
Overcome the challenging but sure-to-be-asked interview questions, “Walk me through your interview,” and “Why are you interested in moving on from your current job?” With careful planning and practice, you’ll avoid bumbling around for answers. A successful answer will drive you to the next stage in the hiring process, and bring you one step closer to landing the job.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in coaching professional and executive clients and providing career advancement strategies. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
Reboot your Career: Launch into Fall with the 30 Day Career Shift Challenge
Feeling Stuck in Your Career? Needing a new career challenge, or a new job? The Fall is a great time to regroup and strategize next steps. Let’s connect for a complimentary 30 minute telephone Career Consultation to determine what’s getting in the way of your moving forward. By identifying this root issue or roadblock, we can then determine next steps to reaching your career goals and getting more of what you want in your career.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional