The five unspoken interview questions you need to answer

It can be pretty scary going to a job interview, but it might surprise you to know that the interviewer is also likely to be nervous. There is pressure on them to make the right hire, and they are depending on you to give them the information they need to make that decision.

Behind every interview question are some basic concerns – and, as an interviewee, you need to meet these needs and reassure the interviewers.

1. Does the candidate want the job?
Show them you have a realistic grasp of what the day-to-day job involves, and be enthusiastic about it. Don’t be afraid to be upbeat and say how the work matches your aspirations, work experience, interests and career plans.

2. Can the candidate do the job?
Interviewers want to see potential and willingness. Demonstrate that you have the skills and qualities the job description asks for through specific examples of times you have used these skills.

3. Is the candidate the best fit for the job?
Employers favour people with good interpersonal and communication skills. Take an interest in what other job roles and people are in the organisation and ask questions about them. Find out in advance about the organisational culture, and show them how this might fit your personality and work style.

4. Does the candidate have other job offers or interviews lined up?
This information will help them timetable their final decision. Don’t pretend that you do – or don’t – have other things lined up. But don’t be shy about mentioning other job applications you have pending. If they’re similar to the one you’re being interviewed for it shows that you’ve really thought through your career choice.

5. How do I feel about the candidate? Are they lying or behaving strangely?
It’s best to admit if you don’t know the answer to a question, aren’t sure what you’re being asked, or don’t feel you’ve yet developed the skill you’re being asked about. And if you have a problem on the day of the interview that’s likely to affect your behaviour (such as an illness or bereavement), it’s wise to flag this up at the start.

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One Comment on “The five unspoken interview questions you need to answer”

  1. Often interview candidates are advised to consider what questions an interviewer is likely to ask, by means of preparing responses that demonstrate specific skills for the job. It is good however, to think (as the questions above prompt) about how you come across and meet an employer’s broader requirements: is this person going to be an enthusiastic, honest and reliable colleague… are they really committed… are they going to be a handful?

    I remember when I went to the interview for my first job after graduating – I think I probably did well on covering 2, 4 and 5, but I know that in the interview I was slightly reserved and maybe a bit hesitant about showing enthusiasm.

    Having since interviewed a lot of graduates for entry roles, a realistic enthusiasm is very engaging and is often the deciding factor when I have to chose between two people with similar skills and experience. And, yes, as an interviewer, I do get nervous because I too want to make the right match for my organisation (and my other colleagues who will work with the new team member!)

    Maybe it was a naive thing to do, but I did actually call the interviewer a couple of hours after my interview to express that I was genuinely interested in the job and felt that I definitely had the skills to do it.


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