Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew the questions that will be asked in a job interview? Well shucks, there are only three primary questions for which hiring managers want to know:
- “What results have you achieved in the past and give me examples with metrics?”
- “Are those results directly transferable to my organization, short and long term?”
- “Will you be a comfortable fit and positive influence in my organization?”
These questions may not be asked in this specific form, but no matter how roundabout hiring managers approach the interview, these three questions are what they want to know. If you understand these questions it makes your job easier. Figure out how to answer these three questions in a way that:
- Shows how your high performance of the past will segue to contributions in the new job
- Increases your value to the objectives of the hiring manager
- Removes any concern about your ability to smoothly integrate into the current team
If you do it right, you’ll be placed in the top tier as a finalist candidate. Of course, there are secondary questions beyond the three primary ones. Usually those secondary questions are focused on more detailed explanations of the primary ones centered around the “how”: How long before reaching results? How did you train the staff? How much did it cost? How did you sell the idea to management? How could your results be implemented here?
These are some thoughts as to how to prepare to answer the hiring managers questions:
- Take your resume line-by-line and create a short story about how you contributed to the results of that item as a group or team
- Be prepared to discuss your individual performance as a “team” member
- Discuss the metrics of how you measured your results. Give specific examples.
- Discuss how you expanded your skills to prepare for this open job
- Identify how you have worked with co-workers to obtain better performance
- Make sure you aren’t negative about your current company or management
From the company’s view: Their primary question is: Will you add value to achieve the organization’s objectives, both short and long term? You need to be able to have a targeted answer to that question.
From your perspective: Your primary question is: Will you be able to contribute at a high level, grow professionally, fit the new culture, and prepare for a move up the organization?
If these primary questions can’t be answered in the positive, you may want to take a second look at the job. You need to understand the risk / reward ratio before accepting an offer. If a problem occurs and the wrong person is chosen, the organization can easily make a change and move on. The individual, however, may not recover for a long time.
Remember: The risk is always greater for the individual than it is for the organization. Make sure you’re the right person for the right job.
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