By Kathleen Sullivan
Having the right answers to the right questions is critical to the success of your job interview. However, the interviewer may not always ask the most critical questions directly. To ensure that you cover the three most important interview questions, provide answers to those questions whether the interviewer asks or not. The three most important interview questions to answer:
Question 1: “Can you do the job?”
If the interviewer does not ask this question specifically, he will ask similar questions such as: “What experience do you bring to this job?” or “What are your top three accomplishments related to this position?” Here, the interview is asking how you are qualified to do the job.
To ensure that you convince the interviewer that you can the job, take the following steps: Review the position description closely and highlight the key competencies and experience that is required. Assess the individuals and teams both within and outside of the organization you will interface with such as other managers, staff, colleagues, clients, and vendors. Identify any specialized technologies or tools you will need to use for the position.
Take this information and craft answers for the interviewer that highlight your experience and results using the required skills and knowledge, your past success at communicating with and working with people who will be involved with this role, and how you have learned and applied any of the technologies and tools that will be used for this position. Weave this information and supporting examples into the conversation as you discuss your background, your skills and accomplishments, and your summary at the end of the interview. You will be focusing the conversation on your qualifications for the position and building your credibility with the interviewer as someone who is well qualified to do the job.
Question 2: “Will you do the job?”
Again, the interviewer may not ask his question directly, but he will be trying to find out your level of commitment and motivation for doing the job. This question is more subtle and abstract to answer. During the interview, you may say that you are “enthusiastic” or “passionate” about the job. However, those statements do not provide the interviewer with any substantial or memorable information.
To convince the interviewer you are motivated and enthusiastic about the position, provide examples. Describe actions you have taken and results you achieved because you were dedicated to a project or team. Show that you have faced and overcome obstacles to achieve project or company goals. Explain how you will leverage your energy and drive to meet the challenges and responsibilities required of their position. By providing these examples that showcase your willingness to do the job, you will continue to build your credibility with the interviewer and enable him to see the value you will bring to that role.
Question 3: “Do you fit in?”
Being a good fit for a company is critical to individual, team, and organizational success. Throughout the interview, the interviewer will be assessing your style, language, and attitude to weigh whether you will assimilate effectively into his company. If the company is fast paced and flexible and you appear or sound staid and rigid, the interviewer will have the impression that you will not function effectively within that company’s culture.
To reassure the interviewer that you will fit in there, evaluate the organizational image projected on their website, in their promotional materials, and in the job description. Be honest with yourself as to whether you can fit in there comfortably. If yes, use those images and language in your answers and examples for interview questions, even if the question about fit is not asked specifically. If they have a fast paced and flexible environment, give examples of how you have worked for dynamic environments and teams and have managed ongoing changes effectively. Also, describe the steps you will take to rapidly learn about their company and culture and adapt to their environment.
By drawing these connections, you will be allowing the interviewer to envision you in this role and as part of his organization. Answering interview questions about whether you are qualified to do the job, motivated to do the job, and will fit in with an organization is critical to convince an interviewer to hire you for a position. If the interviewer does not ask these three questions directly, take the initiative, prepare for them ahead of time, and provide answers that show you are the best person for that job.