Handling Strange Interview Questions

Written by Scott Brown

In this week's job searching tip, we address an inquiry from a subscriber about an interviewer asking strange questions. As we discuss in this tip, persuading an interviewer to hire you often requires takingrepparttar initiative to find out what their root concerns really are, even if their questions seem strange or even illegal onrepparttar 139084 surface.


In an interview I was asked about what year I graduated. Is this considered illegal since it probes someone's age indirectly?

Also, this may not specifically be a legal/illegal question: I was asked what my GPA was in school, which was 17 years ago. I asked why it would be important torepparttar 139085 position, but then answered it. The interviewer may or may have not been interested in determining my age, butrepparttar 139086 question seemed pretty uesless. Recommendations on how to handle obtuse questions like this one?

- J.O.

Dear J.O.,

Yes I agreerepparttar 139087 question is unusual and quite possibly illegal. Of course reporting illegal questions to government authorities or threatening to sue potential employers probably isn'trepparttar 139088 best job searching strategy. But I'm not a lawyer so you shouldn't use what I have to say as a substitute for legal advice. You can also reviewrepparttar 139089 EEOC's guidelines regarding discriminatory practices on their web site at this address: http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeo/overview_practices.html

Some recruiters are unaware of employment laws and may not know that it is illegal to discriminate against older candidates.

Did you getrepparttar 139090 feeling your age would be a benefit or a liability in terms of persuadingrepparttar 139091 person to hire you? I guessrepparttar 139092 ideal strategy for dealing with a situation like that would be to try to do what salespeople would call "value elicitation" to determine whatrepparttar 139093 interviewer wants.

You could say something like "I did really well in school. In addition to having a solid GPA, I was involved in several extracurricular activities. My college experience has been very helpful in shaping my philosophies about work. It's interesting to contrast my experience inrepparttar 139094 real world with how I thought it would be before I graduated college. How do you feel about experience in relation to this position - are you looking for someone who has been out inrepparttar 139095 workforce and has gained perspective, or isrepparttar 139096 position more suited to a recent graduate?"

What I did with that response was I addressedrepparttar 139097 interviewer's purported concern about grades, and then went further to ask him if he's looking for someone right out of school or if he values experience. Ifrepparttar 139098 interviewer said they were looking for a recent graduate,repparttar 139099 reason is probably that they want someone they can train and/or someone who doesn't want a lot of money. Of course you can ask more value elicitation questions to try to determine whyrepparttar 139100 person is looking forrepparttar 139101 type of person they're looking for. The key here is to make sure your attitude is one of curiosity, not one of accusation or distrust. If you askrepparttar 139102 question with a tone indicating you thinkrepparttar 139103 person's being unfair, you'll put them onrepparttar 139104 defensive and they'll be less likely to cooperate. Your tone should be similar to how a waiter would ask "Would you like fries or a baked potato?"

Optimizing your Resume Presentation

Written by Scott Brown

One ofrepparttar unfortunate realities ofrepparttar 139083 job search process is often, people who are a good fit for a job get passed over because of an inadequate resume. In this age of online recruitment, hiring managers and recruiters may review a hundred or more resumes before deciding on who they want to interview. Given this high volume, they are only able to spend 30 seconds (or sometimes less) scanning a resume to determine whetherrepparttar 139084 candidate could be a good fit forrepparttar 139085 position.

When a recruiter sees your resume, they want to quickly determine which ofrepparttar 139086 following four categoriesrepparttar 139087 resume belongs in:

1. Resume is not appropriate forrepparttar 139088 job at all - for example, a bookkeeper applying for an accounting job. Recruiters hate it when job seekers send in resumes for positions they're completely unqualified for. Some job seekers think it doesn't hurt to send a resume even ifrepparttar 139089 position isn't a match. They think maybe they will be considered for other positions they're qualified for. A recruiter's attitude is often that ifrepparttar 139090 job seeker can't read directions and applies forrepparttar 139091 wrong position,repparttar 139092 person can't be a great candidate anyway and will throwrepparttar 139093 resume inrepparttar 139094 garbage.

2. The person is not experienced or skilled enough to dorepparttar 139095 job. For example, ifrepparttar 139096 job calls for someone who can work independently andrepparttar 139097 resume only shows experience working as part of a team.

3. The person is too senior or too expensive. This is kind ofrepparttar 139098 "overqualified" scenario. If you apply for a job that pays $50,000, butrepparttar 139099 recruiter thinks from looking at your resume that you could make $60,000 -- or thinks from looking at your previous positions that you had been earning $60,000 inrepparttar 139100 past, they will shy away from selecting you. Recruiters don't want to place someone who will end up leaving for a better paying position after just a couple of months onrepparttar 139101 job. With third party recruiters, they don't get paid their placement fee if this happens, plus it may ruin their relationship withrepparttar 139102 client company. With direct employers, they will incurrepparttar 139103 opportunity cost of having to get another person up to speed if you quit prematurely.

4. The person's background matchesrepparttar 139104 position and they would be happy to takerepparttar 139105 salary being offered. This isrepparttar 139106 category you want to fall in.


Your most recent job title should be aboutrepparttar 139107 same asrepparttar 139108 position you're applying for. If you're applying for a position as a Senior Accountant, your last position should ideally have been a senior accountant. Or if your last position was slightly junior torepparttar 139109 position you're applying for,repparttar 139110 recruiter will be looking to see that you spent enough time in that position to learnrepparttar 139111 skills and gainrepparttar 139112 experience someone withrepparttar 139113 more senior title would be expected to have. Your most recent job title should *not* be more senior thanrepparttar 139114 position you're applying for. If it is, you may want to consider "downgrading" it. While lying on your resume is generally a bad idea, this kind of presentation change, which does not promise that you're qualified for something you're not, may be necessary to overcomerepparttar 139115 "overqualified" reaction.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
ImproveHomeLife.com © 2005
Terms of Use