The 4 questions asked in job interviews.

Joann Lukins - Thursday, July 12, 2012
Going for a job interview, rates for many as one of the most stressful things that you can do.  Having worked with many job applicants, most tell me that if only they could be viewed ‘doing the job’ rather than needing to tell someone how good they would be at it, then their likelihood of success would be much greater! Image Unfortunately not many applicants have the opportunity to trial in a position, however there are things that you can do to increase your confidence  and your marketability through the process. Your key objective through the process is to sell who you are and what you can do.

For some people this can feel a daunting task, however the following exercise will serve you well to prepare you for any interview. Most interviewers are not trained; they have just as likely been pulled out of their jobs to interview you for the position.  Regardless of whether they realise it, the interviewer only asks four questions during the interview.  Certainly it may be phrased in a multitude of ways, but if you know what the fundamental questions are and your responses to them, then you can answer any question put to you during the interview.

I recommend to clients to take 4 x A4 sheets, put each of the following questions at the top of each page and write their responses to each question.  Familiarity with your answers will greatly increase your preparation for the interview.

Question one:  Why do you want to work for this organisation? Here is your opportunity to demonstrate what you know about the organisation.  The interviewer will want to know what it is about their organisation that attracts you to them.  Perhaps it is the opportunity to work in a team environment with people with a particular skill set; how might the position within the organisation be different to what other organisations offer? You certainly need to do your research in preparation for this question and often the internet can offer you a range of information to help you prepare for why this organisation and the position being offered is going to be a great match with who you are and your skill set. 

Example questions: What interests you about this job? What do you know about our company?

Question two:  What can you do? You may have certificates or a degree or years of experience in a particular industry …. but what can you do?  Interviewers want to know your skillset.  They want to know that when you walk through the door as an employee that there are certain skills that you can already do. For this question it would help you to think about the achievements you have made in previous positions and be able to give specific examples to illustrate the points you are making.  It will also help if you can identify the key qualifications for the position and then to connect them to your experience and skill set.

Example questions: Tell us about your experience in relation to this position? What skills do you think will be essential in this position? 

Question three:  What are you like? ‘Fitting’ in with an organisation is a key priority for most interviewers.  It’s one thing to be able to do the job, its another to do it in a way that brings harmony rather than tension to the team.  The interviewer will want to gain a sense of who you are and what you are like to see if you are going to fit in with the organisation. Here is your opportunity to sell your attributes and the strengths of your personality.

Example questions: What type of work environment do you prefer? What are you passionate about?

Question four:  What will you cost us? Every employee comes at a cost to the organisation, both financially in terms salary and the resources of the organisation needed to support the employee in the position (eg. Staff training, IT support etc). Often the question of salary is set at the interview; however there may be some scope for negotiation.  The employer will assess your skill set and the needs you will place on the organisation as an employee. 

Example questions: What are your salary requirements, both short and long term? What are your training requirements over the next 12 months? The job interview needn’t be as daunting a task if you are organised and prepared.  Having a clear idea in your own mind as to who you are, your skills, what your career goals are and what you want from your career is a great preparation to helping you do a great interview. What have been your interview experiences?  What are the questions you have found challenging to answer?

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