The reality is that some careers are best suited for certain personality types or work styles. These can be a bit more ambiguous than the more technical aspects of what a job requires such as the ability to type a certain speed or use a particular computer program. However, they are no less important. The interviewee wants to know about requirements such as whether it will be necessary to work in a team or if it's necessary to be a self-starter and motivator.
Points to Emphasize
Although you want to be honest and realistic throughout the interview, this is a particularly important question to answer directly. The last thing you want is someone who doesn't work well under pressure, for example, in a job that will constantly require this.
- Discuss whether jobs in this field tend to be team-oriented or individual.
- Be realistic about the level of stress involved.
- Talk about how much direction the person will be getting versus the need to be self-motivating.
- If success is dependent on working late nights or on weekends, let the person know.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Take a moment and consider a broad spectrum of people working in this field. While there can always be exceptions, there are typically tendencies toward the type of person who finds it easier to be successful in any given career.
- Do not answer the question with regard to the exceptions to the rule but, rather, the typical profile of a successful person in this field.
- Do not downplay the need for a certain type of work style, if any.
- Be realistic about the levels of stress that are inherent in the field.
- Be realistic about the personal sacrifices that may be necessary for success.
The best answer will let the interviewee know what tends to make a person successful in this field, including from a personality standpoint. While he or she may not tell you at that moment whether it is or is not a fit, it is vital information for making a good decision for both the interviewee and the company. You might say:
The types of people who tend to be most successful in this field are those who are self-starters, can keep themselves motivated, and work well under pressure. The nature of this career is such that there are many last-minute projects that require some late nights and weekend work. However, we do try to balance that with some additional time off when we are going through a lull in the workflow.