1. IT IS EVIDENT THAT THERE IS SOME GAP WITH REGARDS TO YOUR WORK HISTORY. WHY SO?
Indeed, I was feeling depleted following years of constant work. That is why I chose to take a break and invest some time with my near and dear ones on a rejuvenating break. I am glad to have returned completely revived.
2. HOW MUCH SALARY DO YOU EXPECT?
I am of the opinion that an ideal compensation for any position perceives the skills, acknowledges the performance and gives the employee a chance to enjoy his hobbies and interests. I am certain that this organization additionally takes care of these.
Highly would recommend from my own experience in interviewing & being the one interviewed, that you stand out. A great way to do this is to have an elevator pitch on why you? An elevator pitch is a 30 second timeframe to highlight who you are in a concise & compelling way by including your background and experience. Practice your pitch with every opportunity you get when you meet someone new and want to perfect your pitch for the real deal, like an interview. You don't have to get ready, if you stay ready!
I've been on both sides of the table, so I think I can help. Interview prep isn't about preparing with specific questions in mind. Questions are definitely part of an interview, but when I'm interviewing someone I'm more interested in their stories. A job interviewer may ask about how you cope with change in a job environment, or workplace conflict, or even about how you were first interested in the job, but what we're looking for is who you are and how well you'll fit with our group. I'll walk you through how I prepare for an interview, and what I look for when I'm interviewing candidates.
To create your stories, create them using the "STAR" template. "Situation, Time, Action, Result." It's important to talk through the result (good or bad) so that you can show personal and/or professional growth. For example, "My coworker and I disagreed on how we should complete a high impact project--it was due tomorrow. To complete the project on time, and build a better relationship with the coworker, I wanted us to take both of our ideas and find an amicable solution so we can move forward. We decided to go with a hybrid of our ideas, and we were able to complete the project early. Not only was our boss happy, but we both learned something about ourselves."
Your first story should be about your journey up to the interview. Depending on the interview, this can be things like your role in school clubs, activities, interests, etc. That gets the interviewer bought into who you are. Prepare to answer generic interview questions like "tell me about a time where you were working on something and what was needed changed" or "tell me about a time that you had a workplace conflict and how did you deal with it" or "tell me about a time where you had to learn a new process and react quickly to a changing environment." A lot of those questions are available online and come in a variety of forms. Create stories that match with those, so that you can use those stories when you're asked a question like them.
Most importantly, don't go into an interview thinking that you've got all of the questions down. There will always be questions that throw you off, or a response you weren't expecting. Don't be afraid to take a breath and think through the question, and answer as best you can. Interviewing takes practice, and you get that by applying to whatever you can. Don't be afraid to apply to positions that you may not want, because--even after you go through the interview--you don't have to accept anything.
When I'm interviewing someone, I look for someone who is passionate about what they do, and someone that wants to take their passions to the work that they will be doing. It's not always about who has the most experience, or the best technical knowledge, or even who has the right degree. I can teach you processes and how to do the job, but your personality and drive is something that only you can bring to the table.
I realize I wrote you a small book, but I hope this helps. Feel free to follow up with any additional questions. Don't stress about interviews, you're going to do great.