Daily Archives: June 6, 2008

The Real Questions Behind Interview Questions

Ever wonder why you didn’t get the job you thought you landed? Or, have you ever walked out of an interview scratching your head and wondering what was the point of some of the questions? Well, employers often ask questions that give them insight into the type of person you are, your experience and how you handle certain situations. Some questions can seem strange or off-topic if you don’t know the purpose of the questions asked.

To help you understand the questions behind these questions and prepare you for your next interview, take a look at the few examples below.

1. Question: Describe a time when you were working on a project and things weren’t going your way. What did you do, and what was the outcome of the situation?

The Real Questions: How do you handle yourself under pressure? Can you set goals and push past barriers? How do you manage stressful situations?

How You Answer: First, take the time to think of a project that was challenging but you provided a solution that was successful. In a few words, explain the project, its purpose, your role, the challenge, and the steps you took to overcome the issue and accomplish your goal.

2. Question: Describe a time you worked on a team project and there were obstacles to overcome. What were the dynamics of the team, and how was it handled?

The Real Questions: How do you get along with co-workers? What was your role, and how did you relate to others? Can you stay focused when working together on a team?

How You Answer: Briefly describe the project, your role on the team, what tasks and goals you set for yourself and/or others, the outcome of the project, and what you learned from that experience.

3. Question: Why do you want to work here?

The Real Questions: Do you know what we do? How motivated are you to work for this company? How well did you prepare for this interview?

How You Answer: Talk about why you’re interested in the position. Tell them how it relates to your passions, hobbies, or personal goals. Also, use this opportunity to build up the company’s self esteem and how it can have a positive impact on your career. But don’t brown nose – keep it simple. Provide details you’ve learned from your research about the company through the internet or from other employees prior to your interview. Show that you have taken the time to learn about the company and the position you’re applying for.

The next time you prepare for an interview, remember that employers are wanting more than just a yes or no answer – they want to know more about you and how you’ll impact their team. By knowing the questions behind the questions, you’ll have a better shot of providing the answers to set yourself apart and make their choice clear to hire you.