No matter how much you prepare, there’s always a question you’re not expecting during an interview. When you put yourself in the mind of the hiring manager, what would you want to know?
These are questions that have no right or wrong answers, only some answers are better than others. Always angle your answers two ways: Respond to what you know is an issue the hiring manager is looking to solve (check the first 3 items on the position description). Then respond with your strengths that show you are able or have solved similar issues.
- “Give me an example of a high-performance result in your last job?” If you were a hiring manager, wouldn’t you want an answer to this question? If the position description talks about opening new markets, then respond that you managed a major increase in revenue through your efforts in new products, customers and distribution. Or, how you contributed to a major effort to reduce costs. Or, improved productivity.
- “What do you have to offer that others don’t?” Give this question some thought before an interview. What are the goals, direction and mission of the organization? Research, then craft a response that is compatible and in alignment with the needs of the position that is open.
- “How would others describe you as a team member?” Of course, there is no way for the interviewer to know if your answer is correct or not. Hiring managers are looking for all new employee to “fit in” to the ongoing organization, are self-starters who don’t need a lot of supervision, can get up to speed in a short period of time, and can lead the organization to the next level.
- “If hired, what would be your strategy to identify issues and potential solutions?” The hiring manager wants to gauge your potential contribution and how you would go about getting results. You want the hiring manager to know that by hiring you, productivity will improve, problems will be solved and you can create value. Identify how you would go about collecting the necessary data first, then define alternative strategies for solutions before decision making.
- “What is your ultimate dream job? How will you get there?” State that you first want to be a high contributor in the new job, then learn and increase responsibilities in order to grow with the company. You want a positive approach. Don’t aim too high (I want to be President) or say you want the boss’s job. The hiring manager wants a supporter not a competitor.
No matter what the tough questions are, you need to research the industry, business and function to understand what they really want and need. Get insights into their issues that require solutions. Practice responding to these and other tough questions. Your responses should position you to advance your candidacy over others who are less prepared for these questions.
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