Daily Mail: What are your weaknesses and how much is your current salary? Careers expert reveals how to answer the toughest interview questions - Michelle Gibbings
  • A careers consultant revealed how to answer the toughest interview questions
  • These include what are your weaknesses and how much is your current salary?
  • Rather than lying to a curly question, you need to learn to answer cleverly

In this article by Sophie Haslett and featured on the Daily Mail website, Michelle has revealed how to answer the toughest interview questions – including what are your weaknesses and how much is your current salary?

If you’ve ever been asked why you are looking for a new job, you’ll know that while it’s uncomfortable to tell the truth, it can be even harder to lie under pressure.

An expert at Seek revealed exactly how you should tackle a curly interview question – and how you can frame your answer without having to fib.

Question one: Why are you looking for a new job?

Everyone hates being asked why they are looking for a new job.

But whether you hate your boss or are tired of your current role, principal consultant at Catalina Consultants Merilyn Speiser said you need to focus on ‘what you’re looking for in the new role rather than the reasons why you might be leaving a job’.

She told Seek that you should never mention that you’re desperate to leave an old job.

Rather, you should talk about your career aspirations, what you love about the company you’re being interviewed for and what you’re hoping to achieve with the role you’ve applied for.

Ideal answers: ‘This new role offers me a greater level of responsibility that I’m ready for.’

‘This opportunity represents the next stage in my career development.’

‘This is something I’ve always been interested in and I’ve never had the chance to explore it before.’

Question two: What is your current salary?

It’s a fact of life that we all hate talking about how much we earn.

But without discussing it, you’ll never get a pay rise or truly know your worth.

If you’re asked about your current salary, Merilyn recommends you answer the question fully but cleverly.

For instance, if you’ve been offered another role with a higher salary, go ahead and mention that – she said.

Otherwise, try one of these answers.

Ideal answers: ‘In my current role, I’ve been on X amount for X amount of time, but I feel that this role will stretch me in different ways.’

‘I can see that this is the next step for me and that my value would rise accordingly.’

‘I really want to accept this role but I’ve been offered a job that pays $10,000 more. Have you got any wiggle room to compromise between that offer and this one?’

Question three: What are your weaknesses?  

The age-old question about weaknesses usually elicits a response of ‘I’m a perfectionist’.

But Merilyn said rather than trying to mask a strength as a weakness, you need to talk about areas you’re consciously trying to improve.

These could be time management or organisational skills – something she said we are not always born with.

Ideal answer: ‘Managing priorities is something that has taken me a while to learn, but now before I leave for the day I look at what I’ve got on for the next day. I put tasks into order of urgency. It’s something I’ve been honing over the years.’

What are the top six questions you need to ask at an interview?

According to Australian careers coach Michelle Gibbings asking questions at the end of an interview is essential as it not only demonstrates preparation, research shows people who ask follow-up questions tend to be better liked.

1. What do you see as being the essential attributes for being successful in the role? 

2. Where are the biggest opportunities to make a difference?

3. What are the biggest challenges your team is currently facing? 

4. What are the top KPIs (key performance indicators) for this role? 

5. How would you characterise the team’s/organisation’s culture? 

6. What is your vision for the team/organisation and what part does this role play in helping bring that to life?