Interviewing is about more than just looking the part and demonstrating your skills. A key part of the interview process is overcoming an interviewer’s objections.
Over the course of an interview, the interviewer is building a mental map of you, composed of both your positive qualities and any doubts, concerns, or objections they may have about your application.
Near the end of the interview, many interviewers will put these objections to you. The manner in which you deal with these objections can determine whether or not you progress to the next interview or land the job.
These objections are an opportunity to iron out any creases in your application, put any concerns to bed, and close the deal. To help you effectively work through interviewer objections, I’ve compiled some of the more common interviewer objections and provided tips and model answers to show you how to overcome them.
1. You’ve held a lot of jobs in the past few years, and we’re concerned you might not stick around long.
The employer is concerned about your loyalty and whether you might be a problem employee who can’t fit in. Address these concerns in your answer. See my sample response:
“I’ve held 6 jobs over the past 3 years. These jobs were temporary contracts and I worked out the term of each contract and was a loyal employee in that respect. I have excellent references from my employers in all these jobs. Being in so many companies has made me highly adaptable to any environment. Yes, the positions and sectors were varied, but I was experimenting with a range of roles to find my ideal career path, which is the job and career path offered by your company, and to which I am committed for the long term.”
2. You seem like you may be overqualified for this position. Do you think you might get bored?
The interviewer’s concerns are clear. Turn your experience into a virtue, not something to be feared, and show some humility. See the model response:
“I am pleased that you acknowledge that I have all the skills to do the job. The additional skills and experience that I have will not be wasted; rather, they allow me to be more productive and efficient. I could also be a valuable mentor if you wished to use me in this way. I am a good value for the money, and you’ll get a bigger return on your investment.”
3. You have a long commute to this job. Do you think you can handle it?
Here, you need to show awareness of, and preparedness for, the difficulties that a long commute may present:
“I understand that a long commute can add additional working hours and strain to the workweek, and I have taken this into account. I really want to work for your company, and the benefits of working here far outweigh the drawbacks of the commute. I am not expecting any problems, as I have tested out the route in rush hour. On the off chance that the commute becomes a problem, I have already discussed it with my partner, and we would have no reservations about moving closer to the business. I’d be happy to make it a condition of employment.”
4. You are a strong candidate, but we are not sure we can meet your salary expectations.
You’ll need to concede some ground here to take this forward, as it’s a genuine objection, but don’t roll over: they are most likely looking to open a negotiation.
“I will be pleased to enter salary negotiations. I am flexible and open to hearing alternatives, and I am confident that we can come to an agreement we are both happy with.”
5. You have potential, but are lacking experience and skills in these key areas.
This is an opportunity for you to show how your potential and positive attitude can be an antidote to your lack of experience.
“What I lack in experience, I more than make up for in passion, enthusiasm, and potential. I am well aware of the areas that I need to develop in order to achieve in this role, and this is why I have committed to doing an additional five hours a week of off-hours training to help accelerate my learning in these specific areas. We all have weaknesses, but I have a plan of action and the passion to address mine.”
These are the most common objections you are likely to face at interview. If you spend time preparing to overcome these objections, you will be much more likely to close out the deal and receive the offer you desire.