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You are awfully young for this position, aren't you?

See the answer above. This question without the following statement may more relate to your "fitting in" than your age. So, it might be a good idea to clarify the question in your answer. Something along the line of, "I have found that maturity is more an issue of contributing to an organization than one of age. I have been fortunate enough to be in situations where I was able to contribute and grow. Are you asking this because there are few people in the organization my age?"

Once you get the answer to your question, you can assure the interviewing or hiring authority that you have been in this situation before. Saying something like, "I have always been in departments where I have been younger than most anybody the group. In checking my references you'll find that this has never been an issue for them or for me" will get the job done.

You will be older than anyone else here. How does that make you feel?

This is a dumb question, but you may hear it. The answer is simple: "I have worked in organizations where I was older than the majority of the employees, and it wasn't a problem. In fact, I've provided a great balance of 'experience' that others didn't have. It was great."

You will be younger than anyone else here. How does that make you feel?

Another dumb question. Refer to the above answer.

You live a long way from here. It will take you 45 (or 1 hour or 1.5 hours) minutes to get to work one way. With the price of gas, as well as your time, after a while you might lose enthusiasm for the job.

Companies certainly worry about this because they have employees who complain about the commute to and from work. The answer is, "I have had to commute before and I am not bothered by it. In fact, it gives me a great opportunity to listen to motivational tapes and CDs. I use the time to learn and get better. If you check my references, you will find that I was rarely late for work."

Were you ever denied a pay raise, got a poor performance review, or were passed up for a promotion? What did you do?

This is a very loaded question. The biggest concern that an employer or hiring authority is expressing in this question is, if you don't get a raise, or if you get a poor review or are passed over for a promotion, you will leave. An answer along the line of, "Well, I've never had a poor performance review (be sure it's true), and the one or two times in my career that I might have been passed over for promotion, it worked out best for the organization, and therefore it worked out well for me. My experiences have shown me that if I perform well, pay raises, promotions, etc., always take care of themselves."

This job and this company are real big risks. We don't know how long we're going to be able to make it. What do you think?

Well, this is a question that comes up from time to time. Sometimes it is a question to "test" you to see if you are a risk taker. Sometimes it's simply to tell you the truth about how the company is doing. Sometimes the interviewer wants to see if you'll make a mad dash for the door at the first sign of trouble. If you're not sure of the reason for asking the question, then keep in mind that you have nothing until you have an offer. I've known people that have taken tremendous risks with companies that were on the brink of failure and wound up being phenomenally rewarded when they turned around and were successful. So, the answer to this question is something like, "I am by nature a risk taker. I don't have a problem with a risky company or a risky opportunity as long as the rewards are there."

Your resume shows that you been with one company a long time without any appreciable increase in rank or salary. Tell me about this.

You absolutely have to say something along the line of, "I really love my job and the company that I work for. We aren't the kind of company that has a lot of turnover, so opportunities to get promoted have been very rare. My company has given salary increases when it can, but it has been strapped for the last few years. One of the reasons that I am looking to leave is to experience personal and therefore economic growth. Frankly, that's why an interviewing with your firm."

If you badmouth your present employer and bitch, moan, or complain about not getting promoted or not receiving salary increases, you will shoot yourself in the foot. You communicate that you are a poor employee and that's why you haven't received promotions or salary increases.

When do you expect a promotion?

This can be a trick question. If you say you hadn't thought about that, you won't appear ambitious. If you say something that communicates that you expect a promotion quickly, you won't appear patient enough and you will appear to be the kind of person who is more interested in a promotion than doing the work—and that you might leave if you don't get a promotion you think you deserve. So, an answer something along the line of, "I have found in the past that promotions have come after I have performed successfully. In the past I really haven't worried about promotions, because I know that if I do my job and I do a better than others, the opportunity to go beyond my position will present itself."

When do you plan on retiring?

This is especially difficult if you are over 55 or 60 years old. The answer, simply, is, "My goodness, I love working so much, I don't know that I would ever retire."

How long will you stay with us if you are hired? Or, how do I know that you will stay with us for a reasonable period of time to be effective?

I know that this sounds like a really stupid question, but people get asked this quite often. Now, there is no way of being able to tell anybody how long you will stay on a job. If you stayed on your last few positions for a long period of time, then you might answer, "Well, as you can see, I've been very stable in the positions I've had before, and I would expect that as long as the opportunity is fulfilling and the company is pleased with my work, I will stay equally as long here. As you can see, I have never really left my jobs so much as the jobs have left me for one reason or another." Or, something along the lines of, "My experience has been that as long as I'm challenged and the company I work for is pleased with my work, we both grow. As long as both of us are growing, there's no real need for either one of us to make a change."

 
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