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kwanfan1818
03-30-2011, 08:27 AM
I disagree with the advice about not lying as a blanket statement. I would agree that it is counterproductive to lie about something that could be verified, but there are good reasons not to disclose personal information and to have alternative narratives.

For example, a friend of mine was laid off by a major company as part of two big cuts. He had enough money saved, and he was eligible for generous Washington State unemployment insurance ($550/week), which meant he barely had to touch his severance package (6+ months salary). However, he was so stressed about being unemployed, that he started a job search in a frenzied state within two hours of getting laid off.

Our unanimous advice to him after a week of :wideeyes: was to take a month off and try to get himself back to his normal, calm, human self, because he was scaring people. If he wanted, he could do all the paperwork in the world, but he was not, under any circumstances, to do any face-to-face.

If a few months later a potential employer asked him what he did for the first month after the layoff, had he responded, "I freaked out, questioned my competence, railed against fate, and had to lock myself in a room to calm down" -- the truth -- this would have been counterproductive. His official line became that he took two months off to think about what he wanted to do in the next phase of his work life, which just happened to align well with the job he was applying for. Three months after the layoff, he got a year-long contract on the third interview while waiting for an answer on the two others.

About salary negotiations, the advice I've heard from many professionals is that not only don't you want to talk salary before you've been made an offer, during the offer you don't want to be the first to mention a number at all, which can turn into a big game of chicken. In this case, silence and a calm stare-down is supposed to be your friend. Salary is only part of the package, anyway.

"I'm sure if we're serious/you're ready to make an offer we can come to an agreement that works for both of us." (but now we're trying to determine if this is a good fit for us both.)

"I've been paid fairly/well-compensated for my abilities and education/training, etc."

"I'm sure you know that [ex-company] pays 50% of the industry average, but also offers stock options/five weeks vacation/flex-time, etc."

BaileyCatts
03-31-2011, 10:19 PM
Okay, how would you answer this one that I got:

Question: Do you have any regrets?

Me (in my head): what the hell kind of question is that!?! :confused:

Do I have any regrets? Regrets about what? Well, sure I have regrets, doesn't everyone? What the hell are they looking for here?

overedge
03-31-2011, 10:33 PM
Okay, how would you answer this one that I got:

Question: Do you have any regrets?

Me (in my head): what the hell kind of question is that!?! :confused:

Do I have any regrets? Regrets about what? Well, sure I have regrets, doesn't everyone? What the hell are they looking for here?

As a wild guess I'd say they're trying to find out what you regret :P

And from an interviewer's perspective what you decide is an appropriate answer could be very telling. If you say something like "The night I danced on a bar table and had no underwear on" that would suggest to me that you don't have a very good idea of what is and isn't appropriate information to share in a professional setting (unless the job you are being interviewed for is bar table dancer).

OTOH if you say something like "That I did not study harder for the final exam I flunked which ended up ruining my GPA" that would suggest to me that you are able to recognize mistakes and how to avoid making similar ones in the future.

agalisgv
03-31-2011, 10:48 PM
Was this in response to a work-related discussion? Or were they asking do you have regrets in general?

I would say something like, "While it's common for people to have some regrets, I personally prefer to focus on making the most of opportunities available to me so that I can feel satisfied I've done my very best work and given 100% of my energy to the task at hand. I've found that cuts down on feelings of regrets in the future."

Always keep it positive and talk about being hard-working and productive.

genevieve
03-31-2011, 10:49 PM
kwanfan1818: there's being honest, and there's oversharing :lol: agree with you that a circumstance that your friend was in shouldn't have been told to a prospective employer, but I don't think the angle he put forward was a lie (even if he had to be talked into taking that time by his friends :) ).

BaileyCatts - go back to the beginning of this thread. The question about regrets, like a lot of interview questions, is less about exactly what you say and everything about how you respond to a left field question. It seems like these types of questions really unnerve you, or perhaps you're trying to come up with the "right" answer. Neither will serve you well in an interview. It's hard to find the balance between being yourself (important) and knowing just how deep to go (even more important and a hard skill to gain). It's always ok to take a moment to think, and if you honestly can't think of anything that's applicable (here's a hint - going into detail about a poor choice in boyfriend or girlfriend is never a good idea :P), it's ok to say you can't think of something - but you need to be able to put a positive spin on it - such as how agal mentioned.

agalisgv
03-31-2011, 10:56 PM
It seems like these types of questions really unnerve you, or perhaps you're trying to come up with the "right" answer. Neither will serve you well in an interview. I get the sense that Baileycats doesn't think well on her feet in interviews. That's a decided disadvantage. I would recommend doing mock interviews with your friends, BC, just so you can improve on that front. Being able to remain calm under pressure and not freak out when thrown a curve ball is an important work trait.
It's hard to find the balance between being yourself (important) and knowing just how deep to go (even more important and a hard skill to gain). In non-profits, doing some self-reveal is often very important in landing a job. But in the for-profit sector, I tend to think it's all about selling yourself as the most qualified, enthusiastic, team-oriented yet independent-working person for the job. So every answer in an interview needs to highlight that in some way IMO.

genevieve
04-01-2011, 12:00 AM
I would recommend doing mock interviews with your friends, BC, just so you can improve on that front. Being able to remain calm under pressure and not freak out when thrown a curve ball is an important work trait.
I second this. Have someone ask you really out there questions and give honest feedback about how you respond.

Cupid
04-01-2011, 12:33 AM
Okay, how would you answer this one that I got:

Question: Do you have any regrets?

Me (in my head): what the hell kind of question is that!?! :confused:

Do I have any regrets? Regrets about what? Well, sure I have regrets, doesn't everyone? What the hell are they looking for here?

Were they asking about your previous job? How did you respond?

Japanfan
04-01-2011, 02:29 AM
would say something like, "While it's common for people to have some regrets, I personally prefer to focus on making the most of opportunities available to me so that I can feel satisfied I've done my very best work and given 100% of my energy to the task at hand. I've found that cuts down on feelings of regrets in the future."

Always keep it positive and talk about being hard-working and productive.

Great answer. I would have looked for something I regretted that could be turned into a positive, such as being so dedicated to a standard of excellence in work or studies that I took more than I could be expected to handle.

But circumventing the experience of regret is an even smarter reply.

skaternum
04-01-2011, 02:21 PM
I would say something like, "While it's common for people to have some regrets, I personally prefer to focus on making the most of opportunities available to me so that I can feel satisfied I've done my very best work and given 100% of my energy to the task at hand. I've found that cuts down on feelings of regrets in the future."

To be honest, I hate hearing this kind of answer when I'm interviewing someone. It always comes across as total generic BS and sounds like it came right off a "How To Interview Well" website. If I ask a specific question, I want the interviewee to answer the question I asked, not make up some positive-sounding stuff. :)

Aceon6
04-01-2011, 02:30 PM
To be honest, I hate hearing this kind of answer when I'm interviewing someone. It always comes across as total generic BS and sounds like it came right off a "How To Interview Well" website. If I ask a specific question, I want the interviewee to answer the question I asked, not make up some positive-sounding stuff. :)

I agree. So many people "flip" the questions to those psychbabble answers, it gets annoying.

The answers I like best tend to be along the lines of "I wish I had discovered X topic sooner" followed by more information about why the candidate is passionate about X, or "I think my career progression might have benefited from relocating to Y when my company offered it, but at the time, I had family obligations that prevented it. Had I relocated, I would have been exposed to ..." Both of those types of responses actually answer the question and give the candidate the opportunity to provide background information that expands on the resume.

agalisgv
04-01-2011, 08:45 PM
If I ask a specific question, I want the interviewee to answer the question I asked, not make up some positive-sounding stuff. :) Ideally a job candidate should be able to think on her feet, discerning based on the interview dynamics and the specifics of the particular job and company what is an appropriate amount of disclosure in answering any given question, and know how best to communicate that while also developing a rapport with the interviewer through projecting a sense of confidence, friendliness, and competence. That's the ideal.

But not every applicant is an ideal interviewee. And in those cases, I think it's better to keep it simple and professional by stressing one's strengths than potentially becoming visibly uncomfortable when certain questions are posed, or worse, fidgeting nervously for several seconds while saying nothing, and simply responding with a quiet "I don't know."
The answers I like best tend to be along the lines of "I wish I had discovered X topic sooner" followed by more information about why the candidate is passionate about X, or "I think my career progression might have benefited from relocating to Y when my company offered it, but at the time, I had family obligations that prevented it. Had I relocated, I would have been exposed to ..." Both of those types of responses actually answer the question and give the candidate the opportunity to provide background information that expands on the resume. Except how would any of this apply to BC's situation? BC has worked at the same place of employment her entire adult life. She has said she has no desire for upward advancement or for working away from where she now lives. The only workplace regret she has ever expressed has been not still working at her former place of employment--a place she has said is widely known in her community, and has a reputation for retaining its employees. What regret exactly should she communicate then? "I wish I was still at my last place and not interviewing with you"?

overedge
04-01-2011, 09:08 PM
Except how would any of this apply to BC's situation? BC has worked at the same place of employment her entire adult life. She has said she has no desire for upward advancement or for working away from where she now lives. The only workplace regret she has ever expressed has been not still working at her former place of employment--a place she has said is widely known in her community, and has a reputation for retaining its employees. What regret exactly should she communicate then? "I wish I was still at my last place and not interviewing with you"?

The question wasn't asking specifically about workplace regret. She could answer about regrets involved with education, training, any other personal opportunities...those would all be very relevant to an employment interview.

agalisgv
04-01-2011, 09:22 PM
The question wasn't asking specifically about workplace regret. She could answer about regrets involved with education, training, any other personal opportunities...those would all be very relevant to an employment interview. The problem with expressing regret over education/training in this particular case is that would involve something that happened twenty some odd years ago. The question then invariably arises if you had regrets over that, what did you do to address that? If she didn't do anything, then that makes her look like she has no initiative. "Yeah, I regret my college major, and looking back I would have done something different. But I never went back to school or took any steps to change it. So it is what it is."

And since BC hasn't said anything about regret over her education or training, she may be happy with all those choices (and indeed has said she really likes her line of work and doesn't want to change). That leaves her with regrets from her personal life. And IMO regrets from one's personal life are completely off-limits in a job interview.

Aceon6
04-01-2011, 09:53 PM
Except how would any of this apply to BC's situation? BC has worked at the same place of employment her entire adult life. She has said she has no desire for upward advancement or for working away from where she now lives. The only workplace regret she has ever expressed has been not still working at her former place of employment--a place she has said is widely known in her community, and has a reputation for retaining its employees. What regret exactly should she communicate then? "I wish I was still at my last place and not interviewing with you"?

Aw, give BC some credit. Regrets come in many forms. I was upwardly mobile, relocated, changed career track and did a bunch of other stuff, but if I was asked that question in an interview, I'd be likely to tell the interviewer that I wished I had started golf earlier or that I regretted not attending college in Boston. I figure if I got that deep into an interview, a bit of my personal history wouldn't hurt.