Got a job interview coming up? Here’s some expert advice on answering the tricky questions hiring managers ask:

  • “Tell me about yourself.” Management expert Dawn Chandler says many people think of this as an icebreaker, not a serious interview question. Big mistake. A rambling answer makes you look unorganized. That’s why you want to prepare a minute work autobiography. Start with a few sentences about where you went to school, if you graduated in the last 10 years. Then, spend the rest of the time on your recent work experience – but only talk about the things that pertain to the job you’re applying for. So, if you worked as a nanny before you went into sales, you need to make that fit. Maybe the experience dealing with toddlers prepared you to deal with people saying “no” and honed your ability to think fast in stressful situations.
  • “Why is there a gap in your employment history?” Veteran headhunter Chuck Pappalardo says that employers know it takes time to find work. What this question is really about is your personality. An honest answer proves you have integrity. If you bring up the hours you’ve spent volunteering or the classes you’ve taken, they’ll see that you’re a self-starter.
  • “Why should we hire you?” Tony Beshara is the author of Acing the Interview. He says this question shows whether you’ve done your homework on the company and the position. If you have, you’ll be able to pinpoint the skills they’re looking for, and explain why you’re the candidate who can get the job done.

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