Interview questions only have three answers

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Mar 12

When it comes to interview questions, there are only three answers. Yes, pundits will point out many answers to interview questions, but there are only three. Thus, when asked an interview question, you need to frame your specific answer around these three areas. In The New Leaders 100-Day Plan, the authors note only three conditions to hire you need fulfillment and all interview questions meet these three conditions. Let’s take a look at each.

Interview question one: can you do the job?

Hiring managers hire you so you can do specific work. Can you do the job? Thus, the answer to this question is show how you have displayed the job skills necessary to do the work represented in the question.

You should carefully review the job needs before the interview and list the most likely areas of questions about your ability to do the work. Your ability to show specific accomplishments in your past work on each of the job needs is what wins the interview in this category. Practice saying your accomplishments for each of the job skills listed. You may not need them all, but having practiced them will give you confidence in the interview.

Interview question two: will you love the job?

This question tries to show your motivation. Will the job match your values and what you like to do? Thus, the answer to this question is to show how the role fits your values and what work you like to do.

It is necessary to know your values and what you like to do. That should be obvious, but many people do not know the values they bring to work and what work they like doing. Name the top three activities you like to do at work right now. Right off the top of your head, did you have the answer? Most people don’t.

So, you need to have why this role will match your values and what you like to do. This requires some preparation, especially since most job needs don’t adequately describe the work you do.

Interview question three: what people do you like to work with?

The higher you go in your professional career, the more important this question becomes. Just because you have the skills and love the work doesn’t mean the team you are working with will be successful. There needs to be a “fit” with the group.

The world is full of high-powered people on teams that fail. Good hiring managers understand this and look for people who not only can do the job, are motivated, but can also fit into the existing team. In a successful team, each person brings their unique strengths to the job making everyone better than they are as individuals.

These three answers need significant preparation for the interview. But knowing these are the only three areas a hiring manager is concerned with knowing about enables you to custom answer the interview questions.

So, tell me about yourself…

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  • ngo says:

    First of all. Thanks very much for your useful post.

    I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.

    This post also give me some ideal to develop some interview questions.

    Thanks again

    • Scot says:

      @Ngo — thanks for the kind words; I appreciate it.

      Sometimes we lose sight of the purpose of the interview from the hiring manager’s perspective. Hopefully, this post will help focus your answers to the three areas the interviewer is concerned with for hiring you.

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