There are certain interview questions where it seems like the hiring manager is giving you the answer already. These questions might be along the lines of:
- Would you rather work for a woman or a man?
These types of "Would you rather" questions seem like you should take one of the two options given to you and then expand on that option regarding why it is the best fit for you. However, an ideal answer will contain elements of both choices. For example, if you are asked if you would rather work alone or as part of a team, then you should convey the fact that you can handle both efficiently. Obviously, being a team player is a valuable trait, but if that is all you say, then the interviewer might think that you can only do your work if you have someone else's help. You also need to tell your prospective employer that you can handle responsibilities on your own, and give examples of times where you did great work as a team member and by yourself.
Similarly, if you are asked if you would prefer working with information or people, then you need to show that you are able to work with both. Depending on the specific position, you may spend a lot of time around people and need to show that you can get your job done effectively around them. You will also likely be spending a great deal of time with files or computer systems, so you need to give examples of those experiences as well. Being as well-rounded as possible is the best approach to showing you are the ideal candidate for the position.
The Purpose of Choice Questions
These types of questions are asked to determine if a job applicant has the valuable trait all hiring managers are looking for: adaptability. Many work environments are rapidly changing, and employers want to know that the people they hire will be able to change when the time comes. They want to know that new hires will be able to accept new roles. Mergers and acquisitions happen on a frequent basis in some fields, and you may be asked to take on new responsibilities you have never had before. You need to use the interview to show you will have no problem putting on multiple hats so that you can provide the greatest benefit to the organization.
Being flexible with your work routine also means remaining calm and collected when something unexpected comes up. If there is a change in the type of technology your company uses, then you need to be able to learn how to use it quickly and potentially teach others how to use it. Adaptability is a desirable trait in leaders because if the person in charge is able to stay confident when tasked with learning a new skill, then the other employees will be calm and professional as well.
Mistakes to Avoid When Answering Interview Questions About Choice
As stated above, many people make the mistake of saying they are only one thing when they should really be saying that they are both. However, being overly vague with your response can make the hiring manager think that you are just saying, "Both" to appease him or her. If you are asked if you would want to work along or part of a team, then you need to provide examples of when you performed both. You should talk about a time where you completed a big project with others and by yourself in order to successfully demonstrate that you possess both traits.
Another common mistake that interviewees make is not preparing enough beforehand. Although you can never be 100% certain of the specific questions that will be asked, you should at least have a general idea of what you need to talk about. You should be aware of your accomplishments at previous places of employment and be able to convey those accomplishments coherently. Job interviews are your time to shine, so you need to show that you possess a wide range of skills and experiences that are likely to land you that position.