Solve the interview mystery

Everyone knows about the great mystery of interviewing that every job candidate wants to solve:  How can I demonstrate that I am perfect for this job?

Job applicant giving thumbs up While your employer research and review of common interview questions are important, they aren’t enough. You need to go deeper to show that your abilities, character, and understanding of the position will dovetail with the job and serve the organization.

In a recent blog for employers, Robin Reshwan outlined three interview questions that help uncover the likelihood of a job candidate’s long-term success in a job. Job seekers can turn the same questions to their advantage, whether you’re an experienced professional, a recent graduate, or have been out of the workforce for a while.

1)  How would you handle this situation? (The employer describes a business scenario and asks the candidate to role-play their resolution.)

To answer this question effectively requires familiarity with the typical challenges of workers in the field, such as running over budget, angry customers, missed deadlines, physical risks. Review related experiences from your past. How were they handled, for the good and the bad? How do you wish you and others had handled them?

The most important take-away for the employer will be the values demonstrated by your answer. Did you emphasize a strong commitment to customer service? Keeping costs down? Restoring team morale, leadership of others, handling conflict calmly? Consider what your response tells the employer about how you will contribute in their environment.

2)  If you aren’t hired for this job, then what will you do?

A surprise question! Will you binge watch old tv shows on the couch? Start a garden? Haven’t given it any thought? This question is designed to ferret out the genuine, unpolished you.

The best way to prepare for surprise questions like this one is to actually have a plan for your career, and think through how positions you apply for align with it. Then your spontaneous answers will come from a positive, well-positioned place. An ideal response shows that you’ve done your research, understand the industry, and intend to pursue your career whether with their position or somewhere else.

3)  Describe what you think this role is about and why it is important to our company.

Your answer will demonstrate your understanding of the key needs of the position—the skills and qualities it takes to be effective and successful in this role. Your company research will help, but you may need to do your own analysis to describe the position’s importance. Consider the company’s mission and key commitments. Is it involved in new projects that require more workers or different skills? Are new credentials or talents needed to keep up with industry changes?

You aren’t expected to know everything about the position, but your understanding of the nature of the job and how it serves organizational priorities, will help you solve the great interview mystery, and show your suitability for the job.

Learn more about preparing for interviews on CareerOneStop.


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