How should I answer the questions interviewers typically ask?

by Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

Q. I never know what to say when the interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself" or asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" Most of the time I don't, because the interviewer has given a good description.

Then there's "What are your salary requirements?" I know you should not discuss pay, but how do you get around it without sounding really bad?

A. To get a good idea of the job you are interviewing for, ask what expectations and objectives the supervisor or manager has in mind. You may also want to know the scope of responsibility of the job, and whom are you expected to interact with to get the job done. These questions will give you some indication of how the job is expected to function in the organization.

In addition to finding out details about the job, ask your peers or prospective coworkers. For instance, what are their current responsibilities? What projects have they been working on? What kind of support and/or resources do they receive to complete their projects? Once you have a good sense of how the department functions and what is expected of you, then you can talk about salary.

Finally, if the company uses pay grades to administer salaries, ask the interviewer where you would fall in the range. Also ask what has been the average merit increase over the past two years. This will give you some idea of what to expect in terms of annual increases when you join the company.

Ask about incentive plans. If you feel the company doesn't offer a competitive base salary or competitive merit increases, try to negotiate an incentive plan that will meet your overall salary requirements.

Good luck.