And it’s not some Hollywood style paranormal ability to hear their thoughts
No doubt, many of us will have nerve-inducing memories of being put through the mill to secure a highly prized role. A three-stage interview with a five-year strategic plan and a PowerPoint presentation have now become de rigueur for securing even the least demanding of middle manager roles.
Whether your application-to-appointment experience has been as quick as Bolt’s 100 metre dash or as gruelling as the Marathon des Sables, ultimately employers are simply looking to have just three questions answered:
All about the skills and experience needed to do the job
Can you do the job? This is all about your knowledge, skills and experience that’s needed to succeed at the role you have applied for.
Employer may ask direct questions about your qualifications, having undertaking specific tasks or how you dealt with particular scenarios in the past. Equally, they may go slightly off-beat (Do we really need to know how many tennis balls can fit into a Boeing 777?) in their questioning.
Whatever their approach, the employer is simply trying to find out whether or not you have the hard skills needed to get the job done.
The best way to prepare for this question is to read the job description with great care. Make sure you understand all key responsibilities of the role, tools and technologies you’ll need to be familiar with and what you’ll be accountable for. And don’t forget to think of at least a couple of good examples from your past roles that demonstrate your first-hand experience of each of the key duties of the role.
All about the motivation and desire to do the job
Will you do the job? In other words, why do you want this job? That’s right, this question is all about your motivation for the new role. “I’m bored with my current job” won’t cut it. “I’m looking for a new challenge” is also a bit lame. Are you jumping ship because you’re having a challenging time in your current role?
Your new employer wants to establish that you really want to work for them and that you are not simply running away from your current role.
You will need to be honest with yourself about your motivation for finding a new job. Perhaps it’s a natural step up in your career trajectory. Maybe the new employer offers greater opportunities for personal development and growth. Whatever your reasons, you will need to be able to articulate the specifics to convince the employer of your true motivation.
Remember, it’s not just about your raw skills and your ability to do the job but also about your genuine desire to do the job. Sometimes, the latter may be more important than the former.
All about the ability to get along with people
Will we all get along while you do the job? This question is all about the cultural fit. It’s about your ability to get on with other people, to be a great team player and / or an effective leader.
If the other two questions are the main ingredients, this is the binding agent that makes the whole. You can have all the necessary skills and the motivation to do the job, but if you fall short of the cultural fit, you are unlikely to get the job.
The best way to find out if you and the employer are a good mutual cultural fit, research the company thoroughly. Start with the employer’s website and social media pages. Take a look at Glassdoor for employee reviews. Checkout LinkedIn for current and past employees of the company and if possible ask for their thoughts from one or two of them.
Once you know more about the culture of the company, ask yourself whether or not you’ll be the right fit.
Remember, all three questions carry pretty much equal weighting – an A-plus in one won’t necessarily make up for a C-minus in another. Best of luck in acing your next job interview!