How to Navigate Tough Questions During a Job Interview

Monday, April 5, 2021
Acing a job interview often hinges on preparation for every kind of question—especially awkward or inappropriate ones about your current salary, family responsibilities or other subjects.

Despite some employers’ efforts to boost inclusiveness and combat biases and ageism, such queries can arise during recruitment. At The Wall Street Journal Job Summit in March, executives, career coaches and economists advised job seekers how to navigate thorny questions during in-person or video interviews and avoid potential pitfalls. Here is their advice:

Reframe questions about your current salary

It’s an interview question many candidates dread: “What are you earning at your current job?” In many cities and states it is illegal to ask a candidate what his or her salary is—which doesn’t mean that a hiring manager won’t try.

If the question does arise, Trier Bryant, co-founder of workplace consultancy Just Work, recommends responding “I don’t feel comfortable answering that.” Then, say what you expect to earn based on your skills and experience...

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