A Closer Look At Two Interview Questions

By: Judi Perkins

A job interview is stressful. The person who hasn't made a lot of changes isn't practiced at what is involved (nor should they want to be), and the person who has made a lot of changes doesn't have any idea as to what's involved either, or they wouldn't be making so many changes!

Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably. Yet, 78% of all candidates - regardless of the level for which they are interviewing - wing it! And frequently cause themselves to be weeded out in the process.

Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you'd be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That's basically forfeiting your ability to drive up the percentage of a positive outcome.

For instance, in response to the question, "Why do you want to work here?" some people will say things such as:

"I've worked in this industry for 15 years and been very successful. I feel I can make a difference in your organization. I have a proven track record of leadership. I've read in the paper that your company is having some problems, and with my experience as a Director of XXXXX, I can help straighten those out."

That answer may sound good and appear to suffice, but on a scale of 1 - 10, it ranks about a 4!

Why? The answer shows no research, no thought, no consideration. It sounds stock and could suffice for any number of companies. Overall, unimpressive.

In my experience as a recruiter, I've found that while mid level management tends to UNDERanswer the question, upper level management will often OVERanswer the question. One group doesn't provide enough information because of a limited lack of experience. The other group has been around, worked their way up the ladder in more than one company, and in their attempt to sound thoughtful, intelligent, and wise, end up saying very little at all.

Let's look closer.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?
Here's where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you've learned about the company, and why it's appealing to you. SPECIFICS are the key here.

Relate those specific examples from your experience to what you've learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from where you learned of this opportunity.

For instance, perhaps their ad stated that they were looking to establish a marketing department from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, making things happen - there's your answer - along with examples of how you have grown, established, or done market research in a parallel situation.

And you might ask, "What if it's not a high profile company? What if it's on the small side and local?" Right. Not every company is the size of General Electric or even a regional public powerhouse that you can look up in Dun

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