Do you have a firm grasp of what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for during your interview? What does it take to reveal yourself as the ‘ideal candidate’ through your comments and responses? From the interview classics to addressing your work history, future goals, job specifications, and more, our friends at The Muse recently constructed a supremely extensive guide to answering any question that may come your way. Join us as we break down a few of our favorite examples and offer our reaction and comments:

“Why Do You Want To Work Here?”

Clearly, the job listing and description caught your attention if it brought you to an interview, but hitting the bullet points from the job listing is too generic of an approach. If you want to stand out as a candidate, you must point to what makes the company unique and why it appeals to you. Take a deep dive into the history and foundation of the company. Provide specifics as to how and why you want to be a part of their success long-term, and allow your passion to take over. For example, you can reveal how you took a keen interest in a company’s new product line, marketing initiative, or management change. If you can’t come up with specific reasons or you are struggling to convince yourself of your own words, the position is likely not the right fit for you. 

“Tell Me About a Challenge or Conflict You’ve Faced at Work, and How You Addressed It.”

When your interviewer opens the floor to discuss your work history, keep in mind that they already reviewed your resume, and merely reiterating your content will be seen as a waste of time. Although no one prefers to discuss their conflicts and work-related stress, employers will want to hear how you’ve overcome obstacles in your career. Be open and honest, but remember to remain calm and professional, especially if it is not a fond memory. To showcase you are open to learning from difficult experiences, emphasize what you would choose to do differently. Lastly, keep the focus on the resolution more than the conflict.

“Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?”

Here’s a question you can certainly expect to be asked by your interviewer. Whether you were let go due to the pandemic or choosing to leave on your terms, any organization considering hiring you will want to know the details surrounding your exit and the relationships you carried. Do you want a salary/promotion your prior employer wasn’t willing to give you? Did you not get along with previous management? There is nothing you can gain from trashing a former employer or manager. Keep things light and straightforward while maintaining an eagerness for the job at hand.

Questions Concerning Your Goals & Preferences

In getting to know the candidates, employers will want to discover what makes you tick. What are your long-term and short-term career goals? If you are asked about your preferences in a work environment and what you want out of a job, the obvious route is to hit the specifics of the company and position to which you are applying (if it truly is the one you want).

As much as you need to prepare for your interview and position yourself as the best candidate, you cannot lose sight of the interview being a two-way street. Ask your interviewer questions such as:

 – Why is this position available? (Is it new, or did someone leave the role?) 

– What is keeping employees happy and long-tenured?

– Upon getting hired, what are the first steps?

– What makes someone successful in this role?

The most prominent leaders are tenacious and decisive, but also adaptable and introspective. If you see the makings of this leadership style within an organization, you may have found a great place to accelerate your career.

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