In preparing for your interviews, you may feel overwhelmed by the variety of questions that you must anticipate. But your interview preparation will be less stressful and better organized if you realize that all interview questions are designed to address five key employer concerns.
1. Can you do the job?
• Do you currently possess the skills to do the job at hand and become a productive employee within a reasonable amount of time?
• Have you demonstrated that you can do this job elsewhere? (This is always the best evidence that you possess the required skills.) How successful were you at this job? What types of problems did you encounter? And did these problems draw out your problem-solving abilities and push you to develop new skills, or are they likely to be problems on this job, too?
• If you have not done this job elsewhere, can you provide evidence that you have the necessary skills to succeed at this job?
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS CONCERNS
2. Are you motivated to do the job well?
• Are you interested in and excited by this type of work ? Do you have the energy and self-confidence to do the job? What evidence can you provide to support this ?
• Will be hardworking and conscientious – or will you be absent or frequently late, miss assignments, be distracted or otherwise mess up?
• Will you stay long enough to make a contribution after the expense and time that the company invests in recruiting and training you?
3. Will you get along well with others?
• Will you fit in with the “culture” of this organization – the values, attitudes and personal style of this particular workplace?
• Will you be a team player, and what evidence can you provide to support this?
• Will you be a positive influence on your co-workers – an enthusiastic non-complainer, willing to take on extra tasks when needed – or will you hold grudges, breed dissension and talk down your managers and the company?
4. Are you manageable?
• Do you take directions easily? Do you communicate openly and tactfully? Will you be easy to manage, or will you try to circumvent or undermine your manager’s authority? What evidence supports this?
• Will you fit in with the existing management style? Will you support organizational policies and procedures?
5. Can the company afford you?
• Is the salary range for this job compatible with your salary history?
• Does the benefits package meet your needs and expectations?
The dirty little secret of interviewing
Have you noticed that only one of the five employer concerns is about your skills? The dirty little secret of interviewing and job offers is that the person with the best skills or most relevant experience is not necessarily the one who gets the job. If you are not the candidate with the best skill set, you may still get the nod if you are enthusiastic and very well-prepared, and if you can demonstrate that you are motivated, manageable and a team player who fits in with the organization’s culture.
Conversely, if you are the candidate with the best skills, you can still lose the job if you don’t demonstrate that you are also the best person for the job.