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Tips for Overcoming Objections during an Interview

You will never have an interview where you are considered the perfect fit for the job. When culling through resumes, most recruiters select those with as little as a 75% fit rate for interviews. Therefore, when the time comes, you will be faced with an interviewer (or group of interviewers) who have concerns and objections about your suitability for the job.

This is the common; this is normal, and says nothing about your character, your reputation or your integrity. You are simply talking to a group of people who want to make the best decision possible.

You need to learn how to positively address the objections that he (or they) have about you, all the while understanding that in most (if not all) cases, these objections will never be asked directly or even spoken. Objections towards a particular candidate can rear their ugly head simply in the tone of voice the interviewer employs or his/her body language. You simply need to pay close attention and address any/all concerns:

You have a significant gap between positions
If you have taken time off from your career, either voluntarily or involuntarily, you need to position it properly. If you:

  1. Took time off to raise a family, you need to show that you did something related to your field of world during this time. It can be in the form of volunteer work, assisting a family member with their own business, etc.
  2. Started a company, you can acknowledge this and then provide references for this time period.
  3. Were laid off during the last recession and struggled to find a job, you need to establish yourself as an exception to the opinion that the long-term unemployed are somehow less skilled or less productive.

You don’t have enough experience.
If you are applying for a creative job (such as advertising, architecture, art, design, writing, etc.), review your portfolio during the interview. A portfolio is a visual way to demonstrate your skills, experience and accomplishments, so (in many cases) it is necessary to bring this to an interview.

It is important to review all of your job positions/responsibilities and accomplishments before the interview AND make sure that they are reflected adequately on your resume. Be prepared to discuss these with the interviewer. Regardless of the industry or job for which you are applying, your resume should act as your portfolio, highlighting your measurable accomplishments and responsibilities. For more information on how to construct this resume, read our article “Craft a Persuasive and Compelling Resume”.

I’m not sure how you will fit in with the team.
This objection deals with the idea of a “cultural fit” between the new hire and the current team of employees. If the interviewer is not sure how you will “mesh” with the current team, then this objection will be raised. During the interview, they will look to see if your personality will fit together nicely with the other, already-established team members. Will your presence cause others to look for another job or (worse yet) affect the team’s productivity? To counter this objection, be prepared- with specific examples- to talk about how you have worked in collaboration with a team or taken on the leadership role within a team.

I cannot pay you as much as you are looking for.
This objection needs to be handled carefully; you do not want to begin a salary negotiation during the interview process. Your goal is to have the interviewer conclude that you are the best fit for the job AND then you can begin salary discussions.

To address this objection, simply emphasize that salary is simply one part of the total compensation package, and be honest about your desire to seek out new opportunities. Sincerity is the key. In all honesty, there are other parts of the compensation package that can be quite lucrative given a certain person’s stage of life (i.e. flexible schedule, expense reimbursement policy, benefit package, 401(k) match, etc. ). Focus on those. Highlight that you are looking for a new opportunity because of a desire to be part of a particular organization or for advancement opportunities, skills acquisition, and exposure to new processes, etc.

You are overqualified
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for the best-fit candidate. If you are interviewing with someone who feels that you are overqualified, you need to address this. To learn how, visit our Candidate Connection Blog – 4 Ways to Show that Having Qualifications is Different that Being Overqualified – for a step-by-step plan.

During the actual interview

  • Remain confident. The list above is not all-encompassing. You will probably be asked a question that you had not considered. If that is the case, do not show that you are discombobulated; simply gather your thoughts and be confident in your reply.
  • Answer a question with a question. Do not employ this tactic every time you are asked a question. If you are not prepared to answer immediately, asking a probing question or asking for an example can give you time to formulate your response as well as provide you will much needed additional information
  • Get to the root of the objection. Not all objections are obvious and many are not even spoken. Listen closely to what the interviewer is asking and pay attention to their tone and body language. If you can identify the hidden motive, you can address and also highlight the fact that you are adept at addressing and solving problems.

Finally, do not take anything personally. The people you interview with are human beings and enter the interview with a set of opinions and expectations based on their unique history and past experiences. Your job is to make them see through all of that in order to see that you are the best-fit candidate for the job.