/ Asked by Sarah
What is the best way to answer a salary question in an interview? How can I build self-confidence? How do I identify strengths and weaknesses? I'm interested in working for an eco-friendly textile company in the Southeast. Where can I start besides retail, or marketing as a pattern maker/dyer?
Answered by Sylvia, Hiring Expert at HP Enterprise, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Hello, lots of great questions, let’s take it one at a time:

Salary – Do you research and come prepared! While I understand most people are hesitant to give a number, it’s to make sure everyone is in the same ball park. If you are flexible in the range you are looking for, mention that as well.

Self-confidence – during the interview? I would recommend a few mock interview practice runs. This will help you be more comfortable in your answers, which will drive confident delivery of your answers. You also want to anticipate questions and answers. During you research, you should also search for information about the company interview process and potential find past interviewers comments and questions they have been asked.

Strengths/Weaknesses – Take a step back and analyze yourself or ask peer/friend/colleague for their advice. Think of weaknesses as areas that you can control, and have the power to improve. It can be anything ranging from professional to social skills. I would first start with creating 2 lists: what you want to improve on and what you think you’re a rock star at!

Eco-friendly textile Industry – I would start by knowing who the top players are in the industry. I would than look for any conventions/conferences/seminars/etc. If you can attend one, that would be great, if not, check out the topics discussed, who and where they have worked in the past. I would also look up folks with the job titles I see myself in 5-10 years from now and try to see how they started their careers.
Hope this helps! Good luck!
Answered by Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on Monday, December 17, 2018

Thanks for the questions.  Here's a few of my thoughts:
  • As for the salary question, you can be honest and say that you "aren't ready to answer that now" or "are negotiable based on the total offer and benefits".  That's a fairly common response I get when I ask the question.  I also feel, and this might be just me, that if a recruiter asks you what your expectations are, you should be allow to inquire as to the range for the role.  Be sure to ask about any bonuses, as well, as that might influence the total compensation.  
  • For self-confidence, I would suggest doing as much preparation as possible.  I also feel more confident going into interviews, when I feel that I have done my part to 1.) research the company, 2.) prepare individual questions for each interviewer 3.) understand the role and job description, and 4.) practice responding to typical interview questions (a Google search will uncover some of these).  
  • Strengths are pretty easy.  Get an idea of those, and make sure to have actual examples on hand on how to address the "what are your strengths?" question.  Don't just rattle off a bunch of attributes unless you can provide examples to back it up.  For weaknesses, be honest in outlining an area or two that you might need some improvement in.  But, after you discuss those, provide specific, concrete examples of what you are doing to improve those areas.  For example, "my Spanish fluency isn't where I want it to be, so I'm currently taking an online course to get better at it."  
  • I'm not too sure about getting into the textile company (my company sells sticky paper), but I always recommend that people identify entry-level jobs and work their way up from there.  That will allow you to understand the nuts and bolts of the business, before getting into a spot where you have more responsibility.  

Thanks and good luck with your search!
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