by Joe Turner
Most job-search books provide sections of sample questions indicating you should memorize the "correct" answers so you can pass muster. In reality, an interview is just an opportunity for a company to get the answers to five rather simple questions. If you don't or can't answer any one of these satisfactorily, you will not be hired or brought back for a future interview.
The 5 questions you will need to answer in any interview:
- Why are you here?
- What can you do for us?
- Describe yourself. Will you get along with our values and culture here?
- What makes you different from everyone else that we may have talked with? Will you go that extra mile?
- How much will you cost us?
Before you begin any interview, here is how you deal with the above... Change these five questions into five statements:
- Why are you here? Tell the interviewer what you like or what impresses you about this company.
- What can you do for us? List the skills needed for the job (assuming of course you have these skills) and cite evidence from your past that supports these skills.
- Describe yourself. Discuss the needs or challenges that you find unique and intriguing in the job.
- What makes you different? Highlight what is unique about the way you perform these skills.
- How much will you cost? Don't get into a discussion about salary here. If the interviewer brings up compensation, it's only to allay any early anxieties about whether the organization can afford you. You only need to demonstrate a willingness to work within the confines of the organization's compensation structure at this point. Keep it general now. Employers who really want you will find a way to pay you what you're worth at closing.
Final Thoughts on Succeeding in Job Interviews
Your objective in an interview is to stand out and be remembered positively from all the other job applicants. By answering these five questions in your own unique style, you'll separate yourself from the pack and win either a callback or a job offer.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their career. He makes it easy for anyone to find and land the job they really want all on their own in the shortest time possible. Discover more insider job-search secrets.
Have you taken advantage of all of our job interviewing resources? Find articles, tutorials, and more -- all written to help job-seekers learn how to succeed in all types of job interviews.