Interviewers have a specific function to perform. They need to go through a selection process that identifies which one of the candidates called in for interviewing is the best one. But what does best mean in this context? What are the criteria involved in making this complex evaluation? After all, people are complex too, and decoding and interpreting all the input and evaluating it through interviewers’ own prejudices and biases make this task even more compound. So, what interviewers want to hear? Here are several general needs the interviewer is trying to satisfy via the job interview process.
- Basics: By means of basic types of questions an interviewer wants to ensure that you have the minimum standard for using sound judgment and that you have key skills being looked for. A typical question might be, What can you tell me about yourself?
- Broad-brush issues: Here you’re being tested for self-awareness, character, integrity, honesty, and values. In other words, you’re being tested for your fit into what the interviewer deems normal, such as via your appearance, attire, demeanor, rapport building, attitude, and behavior? A sample question might be, What are your strengths or weaknesses?
- The next area the interviewer will want to explore is whether you have talent. That means innate ability, aptitude, flair, and capacity for achievement. A question for testing this particular trait might be, Do you see yourself as a winner? Do others?
- The interviewer may want to test your competence by evaluating how you think and perform, the quality of your answers versus those of other applicants, and whether you exhibit growth potential. A typical interview question might be, What was the best decision you’ve made?
- The interviewer might ask about your accomplishments. This isn’t a question about what you did but what you achieved. And it’s asked in order to determine whether you have a desire to plan, execute, and win; whether you have potential for significant results; and whether you have the ability to overcome challenges. Such a question might be, What would you do in the first 90 days after hire?
- It is known that for the hiring manager, one of the most important factors is the determination of whether you’d fit into that manager’s department and the organization. That means would you adapt to the company culture, would you integrate and assimilate into a certain management style, would you be a good team member, and what your personal work style is. The hiring manager might ask a question such as, What is your management style? Or what do you know about our company?
- And last, the interviewer wants to evaluate whether you’re an enthusiastic person? That means can you show authentic excitement about the opportunity? Do you have a fire in your belly? Do you have the passion of a winner and the ability to energize the team? A typical question might be, Why are you interested in this job?
As you can see, a job interview is identical to any competition. In this case, the person who’s able to tell what interviewers want to hear is going to end up being the best candidate and the one who crosses the finish line first. Congratulations!
by Alex Freund