You can address an employer’s concerns via your interview answers only if you understand where the concerns are coming from and what the employer wants to explore. Interview questions can be grouped by the interviewer’s needs. So, what are such needs? Similar to a personal investment, employers need to do their due diligence in order to explore and then understand what they are buying, as well as to ensure that their purchase will both grow and produce satisfactory results and that there won’t be any hidden surprises.
• First, the employer will want to validate that you’ll be productive on the job and that your skills will deliver as anticipated. If you’ve done this job elsewhere, were you successful? And if you ran into problems, how did you resolve them, and what did you learn from the process?
• Second, the interviewer will want to gain a clear understanding of how much you want this job. Are you strongly motivated and interested enough to perform well and make significant contributions? The interviewer will want to verify certain soft-skill issues such as your determination, desire to succeed, work ethic, and willingness to give 100 percent. Pertinent questions will prompt you for evidence and not just anecdotal stories.
• Third, the big question is whether the company can afford you. The interview would end promptly if the interviewer realizes there’s a significant gap between the candidate’s compensation expectations and the company’s ability to pay for this job.
• And fourth, the interviewer will ask a significant number of questions that assess whether you’d fit into the company’s culture. Of all of the other concerns, this is probably the most critical one, because it is psychologically based and left to the interviewer’s interpretation. For example, you might be asked whether you’re a team player and can bring evidence. Or whether you get along with people or would cause friction. Or whether your personality, values, attitude, and personal style would align with the corporate culture. Or whether you’re manageable and could align yourself with organizational policies? Or whether you’re flexible enough to live with constant change and adapt to it quickly.
The interviewer’s questions can be the well-known, standard, typical interview questions or can be what is called behavior or situational questions. The latter types of questions pigeonhole you into a situation, and you’re asked to give examples from your past that show how you solved a problem or dealt with a specific circumstance.
There’s no question that interviews can be challenging, and—even with live practice with a friend, a family member, or, better yet, a qualified career coach—not result in the desired outcome.