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Do Your Homework to Get Work

Knowing how to answer these frequently asked questions will help you ace your next job interview.


8. Get the names of your interviewers: Don't leave the without getting at least the name and title of everyone you've spoken to, even people you've briefly met. Better yet, ask for each person's business card as you are wrapping up a conversation with him or her.

9. Find out what comes next: At the end of the interview, ask about the expected time frame and when the team expects to make a hiring decision. Also mention that you're available for follow-up interviews.

The Tough Questions
Older job seekers are often anxious about age-related questions. Despite your best effort to come across as age 39, it's time to face the music. My advice? Be proud of your age, your lifetime of achievement, and your wealth of capabilities. At the same time, be prepared for the classic unsettling questions:

Do you think you're overqualified? In response, don't get huffy! Explain why you want the job and why you would not jump to a more challenging or highly paid job. Focus on your capabilities, knowledge, skills, and achievements.

How old are you? It is legal to ask  this question, provided age is a legitimate factor for the job. Answer it plainly and with pride. The same advice applies to the more subtle, "When did you graduate from school?"

Why do you want to work? This is a popular question. Tell the recruiter precisely why you are motivated to secure the job. State the number of years you plan to work (ideally, your answer should be, "at least five to seven years or longer").

Why are you unemployed? Be ready to answer this. Among the best answers are the following: "I am looking for growth," "our company had a staff reduction," "I took an early retirement package," or "I want to do something new." If you were fired, answer truthfully but carefully.

What pay are you looking for? Answer along the following lines: "I am sure you have a pay structure and that you are concerned about internal equity. I am confident that if you make a reasonable offer, I will be inclined to respect the proposed salary." If the interviewer repeats the question, tell him or her your lowest acceptable salary. The alternative is to say, "I believe it is premature to talk about payment."

Are you in good health?  This is an illegal question. If you have a visible, chronic illness or disability, let the interviewer draw his or her own conclusion. At the same time, focus on showing your motivation, stamina, and energy.

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