What the Job Interview Questions are Really About

Job Interview Secrets

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"

Job candidates who prepare by studiously remembering elaborate answers to job interview questions are wasting their time. Chances are, the questions they will be asked will not exactly match the questions they have worked hard to prepare for. But there is a better way to get ready for the job interview questions that you are most likely to receive. Prepare for the questions the interviewers are really asking, even if they are using different words.

In a nutshell, the job interview questions that you are asked boil down to one simple one: What can you do for this company? If you think about how you will answer that in the most convincing, thoughtful and truthful manner, then you are well on your way to having a great interview. The thing is, interviewers very rarely come out and ask that question forthrightly. Instead they break it into a couple of other questions, delivered with varying degrees of subtlety. For instance, some job interview questions focus on your technical expertise at the job itself. These questions probe your experience solving specific problems, and how you would go about solving those problems in the future. A point that is worth remembering about these questions is that the interviewer is often less interested in your final answer than the process which you use to arrive at it.

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Another category of questions is the "What kind of employee are you?" questions. In this line of questioning, the employer is trying to get a sense of your teamwork skills, your leadership, your dedication, your attention to detail and the other intangibles that contribute to your success working with other people in the company. As you answer these questions, remember to be your true self.

The last, most informal kind of job interview questions go to the issue of what kind of person you are. Job interviewers want to know this for two reasons. First, they are going to have to spend a lot of time in the office with you, and want to know what you are like personally. Second, they are trying to get a sense of your passions, your interests and what motivates you. In other words, they want to know what makes you tick. Again, like the previous line of questioning, the best answers are the ones which are the most honest, but that don't reveal the kinds of shortcomings and personal foibles which all of us have. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn during all portions of the interview. This is the time for you to talk about your successes. As in so many things, however, it's often not what you say but how you say it that matters. Often tone and context are what makes honest self-confidence sound like bragging.

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