Off Target

Q How can I sell myself during a job interview when the interviewers is asking the wrong questions?

A Despite the rapidly changing workplace, interviewers are still using much of the same criteria and questions that were used decades ago, says Gaye Hazard, principal at OSA Partners Inc., an executive recruitment firm in Boston. Old favorites such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” can be limiting–if you let them. Highlight the contributions you made at your last firm by turning the interview around. You must clearly articulate your achievements and be able to show how they affected productivity or the bottom line. “Knowledge of organizational operatives and the ability to think critically by putting a fresh thought on an old issue is key ” adds Hazard.

When you up against a bad interviewer, be ready to volunteer information. Think about how your strengths can be used in the organization. Interviews are dialogues. If the right questions aren’t being asked, don’t wait–ask them yourself.

It’s perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer what they are looking for in a prospective employee, too. Remember, you are evaluating the company. Putting your questions on the table may help you better direct your answers and land that job.

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