Why Should I Hire You?
Bad answer: “Im the best candidate for the role.”
A good answer will reiterate your qualifications and highlight what makes you unique.
Good answer: “Ive been a firefighter for the past five years; my boss has said time and time again that without me, the department wouldnt function as well. Ive also taken the time to educate myself on some of the non-standard techniques used in first response. I can react quickly in hectic situations and handle the responsibilities of a leadership role. Whats good enough for most people is never really good enough for me.”
Why Are You Leaving Your Current Role?
Bad answer: “I cant stand my boss, or the work Im doing.”
Again, stay away from bad-mouthing your job or employer. Focus on the positive.
Good answer: “Ive learned a lot from my current role, but now Im looking for a new challenge to broaden my horizons and to gain new skill sets — all of which I see the potential for in this job.”
What Salary Are You Looking for?
Bad answer: “In my last job, I earned $35,000 — so now Im looking for $40,000.”
If you can avoid it, dont give an exact number. The first person to name a price in a salary negotiation loses. Instead, reiterate your commitment to the job itself. If you have to, give a broad range based on research youve conducted on that particular role, in your particular city.
Good answer: “Im more interested in the role itself than the pay. That said, Id expect to be paid the appropriate range for this role, based on my five years of experience. I also think a fair salary would bear in mind the high cost of living here in New York City.”
1 Describe a Time When You Did Not Get Along with Your Co-worker.
Bad answer: “Im easy to get along with, so Ive never had any kind of discord with another co-worker.”
Interviewers dont like these types of “easy-out” answers. And besides, they know you are probably not telling the truth. Think of a relatively benign (but significant) instance and spin it to be a positive learning experience.
Good answer: “I used to lock heads with a fellow EMT. We disagreed over a lot of things — from the care of civilians to who got what shifts to how to speak with a victims family. Our personalities just didnt mesh. After three months of arguing, I pulled her aside and asked her to lunch. At lunch, we talked about our differences and why we werent getting along. It turns out, it was all about communication. We communicated differently, and once we knew that, we began to work well together. I really believe that talking a problem through with someone can help solve any issue.”
How Do You Explain Your Gap in Employment?
Bad answer: “I was so tired of working, and I needed a break,” or, “I just cant find a job.”
Employment gaps are always tough to explain. You dont want to come across as lazy or unhireable. Find a way to make your extended unemployment seem like a choice you made, based on the right reasons.
Good answer: “My work is important to me, so I wont be satisfied with any old job. Instead of rushing to accept the first thing that comes my way, Im taking my time and being selective to make sure my next role is the right one.”