Job Interview Articles

What Job Interview Questions are REALLY About

Don't waste your time trying to memorize answers to job interview questions that someone may have told you to prepare for. Each interviewer will have his or her own set of unique questions related to the open position. However, you can plan for the job interview questions that are most likely to be asked, even if the wording is different than you expected.

Focus on One Underlying Question

The underlying job interview question is this. "What can you contribute to our company?" The interviewer may ask it in several different ways, including: "What are your job skills?" "What training have you undergone for this job?" "What makes you unique regarding this position?" Think about how you can answer what the hiring manager is asking between the lines. He or she wants to know if you're a good bet. Will you be an asset to the company or a liability? If you can present yourself and your talent in a thoughtful and insightful way, then you'll have a successful interview.

Just keep in mind, however, that interviewers rarely ask this basic question forthrightly. They spread it out over several questions or may even hint at it, hoping you'll pick up what they want to hear. For example, some job interview questions focus on the technical expertise that qualifies you for the job, such as how you would solve a particular problem or manage a complicated process.

The Second Underlying Question

"What kind of employee are you?" Here is a job interview question that every interviewer is interested in asking, though he or she may use different words from those here. Just listen for what the employer is trying to get at. He or she wants to know if you're a team player and if you have leadership and organization skills, are attentive to details and dedicated to the company's mission. Such intangibles, in addition to the practical aspects of employment, contribute to one's success in the workplace. There's no need to be nervous about this. Just be yourself and answer truthfully.

And finally, some job interview questions focus on the kind of person you are. Job interviewers usually have two reasons for asking this type of question. Number one, they want to know you can get along with co-workers and managers. In other words, you're not a 'problem child.' And number two, they want to know your passions, your interests, and your motivations. If they could, they might ask, "What makes you tick?"

The best answers are those that spring honestly from your heart and your experience. They might not touch on everything about you, but you can fill in as you wish. You can talk about yourself and your victories in the workplace without feeling self-conscious. As is true in so many areas of life, it's not simply the words that matter, but the manner in which you say those words. Be true to yourself and you will do just fine.