Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why Recruiters Ask The 5 Toughest Job Interview Questions

by Mark Babbitt

During a job interview, there are five questions you must absolutely be ready to answer.

Why these five? Because old-school recruiters and hiring managers have come to count on them as the best possible way to gauge your confidence, passion, sincerity and knowledge of the role for which you’ve applied as well as the mission of the company.

There’s a down side to this, of course: because these questions are asked of everyone there is almost no such thing as an original answer. While the recruiter is smiling, nodding and exuding professional politeness the chances are good they are really thinking:
“For the love of Pete… Can’t anyone give me a good answer to this question?!”

With that in mind, here’s why a recruiter is really asking these questions, and what they really want learn from your answer:

“Why should we hire you?”

As complicated as this question sounds, it is designed to help the recruiter learn three simple things:
  • How well do you know – and how well can you articulate – your strengths, skills and qualifications?
  • How much do you know about the mission of this organization and the role for which you applied?
  • Have you considered how working here, in this specific role, will help us accomplish the mission?
So when answering this question, don’t dive into your hometown, what you enjoyed most about college, your hobbies or family life. Don’t simply regurgitate the company mission statement. And definitely don’t give some generic “Miss America” contestant answer about wanting to change the world.

Instead, focus on answering the three “real” questions the recruiter is asking. Tell the recruiter about your unique value proposition. State your version of the company mission – and be sure to include “why” the company does what it does. Then, deliberately talk about how you being chosen for the position will help them meet their organizational goals.

That is what the recruiter really cares about. That is what they are really asking!

(By-the-way, this exact same approach can easily be used to answer two other tough job interview questions: “Tell me about yourself?” and “Why do you want to work here?”)

“Describe a problem, then tell me how you solved that problem?”

With this question, interviewers are measuring your ability not just to think critically and develop solutions – but to see if you understand the impact of the solution.

Regardless of the specific issue, phrase your answer in the form of a fairy tale. Specifically, tell the recruiter:
  • The beginning: What was the problem? Why was the hero necessary?
  • The middle: How did the hero solve the story? Who was helped? Who was impacted? How did lives or business change?
  • The quantified end: What was the real impact of the hero’s work? How many dollars were saved? What percentage of operations were impacted? What was the effect on the customer? Who lived happily ever after?

In job interviews, storytellers make the best sellers. This is more than just a good question. This is your opportunity to tell a good story.

Questions and Answers 3-5 and the complete article

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