Interviewing Tip #4 – Puff Ball Questions

There is absolutely no excuse for not being ready for the most commonly asked interview questions.  Knock these out of the ballpark by being prepared ahead of time.  I’ve included a list of questions commonly asked during interviews Here.  Don’t necessarily memorize your response word-for-word, but definitely know which points you want to make and practice this using role play with a friend or family member.

There’s one common question I’d like to cover directly in this article because it seems to be stressful for most people.  “How much are you looking to make?” or “What is your salary requirement?”.  Many people try to wiggle out of answering the question with responses like these:

  • I’m just looking to make whatever the market rate is for this type of position
  • I’m open to considering offers in a range of salary
  • Salary isn’t the most important thing to me.  I’m evaluating opportunities based on a broad range of factors.
  • At my last job I made $xxK

There’s nothing terrible about the above responses, but what about something like this: “Salary is only a part of my overall selection criteria but I’m being considered for roles that pay in the $xxx – yyy range”.  There are some advantages to this approach:

  1. You highlight the fact that it’s not just about the salary
  2. You hint that you’ve either gotten other offers or are expecting some
  3. You communicate a range, which increases the chances the company’s budget for the role will be within the range

I know you’re thinking that they will just take the low number of the range and think that’s what they can offer you but because you say you “being considered for roles”, it hints at possible competition and has the possibility of getting an offer in the middle or upper part of the range if they determine you’re the best fit for the role.

I hope this information is helpful to your job search.  See the rest of my series on Interviewing Tips here.   I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Job Hunting.

Author: Gordon Daugherty

Over the past 15 years Gordon has seen nearly 1,000 startup pitches, advised more than 200 entrepreneurs and been involved with raising over $45M in growth and venture capital. Throughout his 28 year career in high tech, serving twice as President and three times as CMO, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200M acquisition exit under his belt. Now his emphasis is purely focused on helping startups and early stage tech companies. Through his Shockwave Innovations advisory practice and as Managing Director for Austin’s Capital Factory startup accelerator, Gordon is an active angel investor, VC and startup advisor.

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