Aug 27, 2012 09:07 AM EDT
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Job Interview Tips: How To Properly Respond To An Employers Questions

By Donovan Jackson
People wait in line to meet with recruiters during a job fair in Melville, New York.
(Photo : Reuters) People wait in line to meet with recruiters during a job fair in Melville, New York.

You've applied for the job and they responded to your application by informing you of their request to interview you. Great, half of the battle is one. The next step is to dominate the interview. Impress the hiring manager or the person interviewing you to the point that they feel you would be a great asset to the company if hired.

However, too often we ruin our chances at a job that we are a perfect match for because of our inability to properly communicate during the interview. Saying the wrong things simply for just a moment or one question could get your blackballed and never called back for the position.

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Here are a couple of tips as to what you should NOT SAY during an interview.

1: Try not to talk so much.
When asked a question about something specific. "Why did you leave your last job?" Answer the question as direct and promptly as you can. Hiring managers do not want you to turn a question that should have been answered in one to three sentences into a full on verbal essay.

 Keep that answer short and sweet. And remember; do not BAD MOUTH your last employer or the job. It takes away from your professionalism.

2: Too much humility is never a good thing.
Humility is a great trait, but going out of your way to be self-deprecating is an interview turn-off.
You should always be candid about your role, but your interviewer doesn't care about your team dynamics or organizational chart. He wants to know what you did. He wants to know how you think.

If you keep downplaying your accomplishments, how is a hiring manager supposed to value you enough to hire you?

It's okay to be proud of the work you've done. It's okay to be confident. Try it: Practice saying, "I'm glad you asked about that project. I'm really proud of the results we got, including a 13% revenue increase in 6 months." See how that makes you feel.

3: I didn't really like the way my boss operated.
Not every boss is a good boss, but that does not mean you should express this thought to your employer.
Instead, be more mindful and respectful of your last position and speak nothing but good things of your last boss. Remember, it is the experience that you received at your last position that has helped you get to this interview.

4: What is your biggest weakness?
Interviewers love to ask this question because it separates the top performers from the average workers. The most common -- and worst -- responses are trite: "I work too hard" or "I have trouble saying no to responsibility."

Hiring managers aren't stupid. They can see right through these canned responses.

So what is the right answer to a question about your biggest weakness?

So instead of a canned answer, explain what a real weakness you have and how you've worked to fix it. Include specifics. Point to conferences you've attended or projects you've taken on.

That's how you answer the weakness question and nail the interview.

5: Leave the salary topic to the employer.
Your interviewer will always want to know how much you made at your last job. But it's not your responsibility to tell them.

In fact, you put yourself at a severe disadvantage if they know your salary. For example, if you tell them you make $50,000, and the hiring manager was prepared to offer you $60,000, you've just lost thousands of dollars from one sentence.

Even in this economy, few companies will reject you for simply not answering the salary question. That's because it costs thousands of dollars to recruit the average candidate. If they really want you, they'll make you an offer, and you can negotiate from there.

When they ask for your salary, here's your line to use: "I'm sure we can discuss salary when the time is right, but for now I just want to see if there's a mutual fit for you and me."

Following these five steps should help ensure that the hiring manager will at least consider you for the position.

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