Having good questions to ask is essential – it’s your No1 preparation tip.
And their Unspoken Questions are the most important! This post has the never asked but vital interview questions.
Interviewer training is based on a simple foundation – that our past behaviour is the best predictor of our future behaviour. Obviously, there are exceptions to this – we can change in some ways, and of course many of us mellow as we age.
However, studies show that those who were, for example, good leaders and showed good judgment in previous jobs, rarely lose these skills.
Good interviewers structure questions to look for indicators from your past that will deliver success in areas important for their vacancy.
Naturally, the information sought varies by the job. Select the interview questions most likely to be asked for the position you are seeking. Then write down specific examples from your past, and then some summary points. There are sample interview questions below.
Identify the questions that might pose difficulties for you, and consider how to answer them – then practice and practice.
One obvious example is if you’ve been retrenched (as too many good people have, particularly during Covid-19!). Answering “Why was it you who was retrenched?” needs thought, and a short, non-defensive, non-critical answer.
Many interview questions will seek “negatives” in your background or style. The ideal answer to a question such as “What are your weaknesses?” is “I used to have trouble with….. (dumb questions like this – sorry, joking), but I’ve been working on it, and it’s now less of an issue.”
One very common question that might kick off the interview: “Tell me something about yourself”.
Have a thumbnail sketch ready – cover the sort of person you are, your work experience, education, and career goals. Learn a summary of the key points by heart – do it like ‘bullet points’, then you can more easily tailor it for different roles.
It’s a golden opportunity to “tell your story” for a few minutes. Practice means you get to say something meaningful, while most people just waffle.
My story? I was particularly bad at this before I became a recruiter over 30 years ago – I was never ready for this most obvious of questions.
The Unspoken Questions
What interviewers really want to know…
Can You? Do you have the capability to do it?
Will You? Are you motivated by this job – do you want it?
Will You Fit In? How will you get on in our company, with your boss, peers, clients?
In all cases, Good interviewers are usually looking for specific examples – not just ‘your theory’ that you might have read in an article like this.
The Questions you Will be Asked
Here are examples of what you need to nail – so practice them with your job seeking buddy, friends or your family.
What kind of written reports, proposals or submissions have you prepared? Give me an example.
How did you approach the report? Tell me about the content and the reaction when it was reviewed.
What are your career goals for the next 5 years? How do you expect to accomplish them?
What was your career goal when you left university? How did you pursue it?
What have you accomplished in self-development in the last year?
Can you think of a recent issue in which existing or old solutions wouldn’t work? How did you solve it?
What kind of issues have people called on you to solve recently?
What is the most imaginative or innovative thing you have done in your present job?
In what ways do you work differently from your predecessors in the role?