28 Feb 2012 · Connect
Answering any interview question
There are three fundamental questions any potential employer wants answered, regardless of the question they ask.
1) Can you do the job?
2) Are you whom you say you are?
3) Will you stay?
If you craft your answers to succinctly answer these questions using real life examples from previous work environments you will increase your odds of receiving an offer.
For example, a common question during an interview may be 'how do you cope with conflict in the work place'?
These types of questions mean 'we have conflict in our work place'.
A good answer will cover off the three questions in the interviewers mind.
For example, 'during my last role at XYZ company I was required to _________ . Conflict sometimes arose, when ___________ .
At this time I would remind my team we shared a common goal and we successfully met targets (or other tangible achievement), during my three-years with XYZ Company'.
The above example illustrates that you can do what you say you can do, your referees will confirm this, and ends with a reference to your time of service.
Obviously everyone will have different examples, life experiences and career obligations.
However the underlying motivation for the question and subsequent answer remains the same.
In today's competitive job market it is vital to get across to the employer that you can do what they need you to do.
Often we see people with transferable skills failing to secure meaningful employment because they can't convince an employer they can do the task required.
For example, I have a journalist friend who writes for news-papers, but his skill as a researcher, composer and communication specialist is invaluable.
A client of mine recently wanted a 'creative writer', yet my reporter friend thought he wasn't qualified for the job, or at least reluctant to compromise his journalistic credentials by writing commercial propaganda.
He agreed to meet with the employer anyway and soon realised his skill at taking abstract information and putting it in a relevant and meaningful context was exactly what the employer needed, even though she hadn't exactly figured it out herself.
During the interview he interviewed the interviewee. Like a good salesman he tried to understand what the potential employer wanted to achieve then structured his pitch to appeal to her needs and wants.
Using real life examples of what he'd composed for print, and how his style could achieve the results she desired, he secured the contract and the company in question now consistently uses his work.
He is not a copy-writer by definition, yet using the journalists' tool-box he adds value to his employers business by presenting quality information the company can use for PR, sales fodder, web-site content, promotion and marketing.
Unlike many PR publications there is not a single meaningless superlative in his copy and readers respond to the real news values he writes into his work.
My writer colleague secured the contract because he answered the three fundamental questions, but then took his sales pitch to the next level.
He was able to show my client how he could add value to their business.
Next week we'll discuss adding value to the employers business.
But in the mean time, feel free to post your questions, comment or critique in the box below.