By Dean Gualco - April 17th, 2017
Interviewing for a job can be nerve-racking, but being prepared can give you the necessary tools to cool down and put your best foot forward. Once you’ve figured out what to wear to your interview and how to answer tough questions, you also need to make sure you can handle the commonly-asked questions.
In the post below, Dr. Dean Gualco, CSU Global’s human resources program coordinator, lists the four questions you will most certainly be asked in your next interview. Prepare your honest answers to these four questions to make the best impact at your next interview and land the job you want.
When preparing for an interview, keep in mind that the goal of the interviewer is to learn as much about you as possible. For the interviewee, you try to position yourself in the best way to impress and continue progressing through the hiring process.
With that as a background, the style and manner in which you perform in the interview can be paramount, along with your ability to provide competent answers. In nearly any interview, there are four general questions that you can almost always count on.
Prepare answers for each of these top questions and you’ll feel comfortable and confident in your next interview.
1. “Why did you apply for this job?”
The interviewer wants to assess your motivation for applying for the job, along with the qualifications you feel make your application credible. Answer by detailing your knowledge of the company, some specific skills you have related to the position, and why you feel this position is in your best career interest.
Think about how this job utilizes your past experience, while also setting you up to move forward in the future. Research the company to speak to their specific needs, industry, and what you can contribute to their overall mission. Not only does this show the interviewer how serious you are about the position, but it provides a gateway to speak more realistically about the role and your influence.
2. “How do you handle and resolve conflict?”
In nearly every organization, conflict will arise between coworkers or customers or supervisors. You’ll typically be asked about a past conflict you experienced in the workplace and how you successfully resolved it. You may also be asked what happened if you could not resolve the conflict or, in looking back, how you would have handled it differently.
Have an example of conflict resolution ready to answer this, or a similar question. Identify the steps you initiated or followed and be able to describe the outcomes – good or bad. If the resolution wasn’t successful, be able to comment on why it didn’t work and provide suggestions to improve a similar conflict in the future. If the resolution did work, comment on why you believe it was a success.
3. “How do you contribute to a team?”
Teamwork is an important component of an effective organization and you’ll most likely be asked what you can add. Highlight your personal talents or contributions and how you utilize them as an integral component and contributor to the organization you hope to join.
Speak not only to how you can contribute to small groups, like your department or team, but also the organization as a whole. Think big if you hope to move up in the position to let the interviewer know you’re thinking long term.
4. “Why should you be hired over the other applicants?”
This is where you get the opportunity to detail the specific qualifications you have that make you ideal for the position. Sell yourself here; make sure there is no question that you are both qualified for the job, and the best candidate for the culture. Clearly convey how interested you are in the job and why you feel it would be an outstanding use of your skills and abilities, thus allowing you to contribute greatly to the organization.
As always in an interview, be honest. You may think lying or embellishing your resume or personality will help you get the job, but that could negatively impact your job satisfaction down the line.
If you’re honest and they don’t hire you, at least you know the job isn’t for you. If you’re not honest and they do hire you, it might be a bad fit since they were looking for the person you were pretending to be. Honesty is always the best policy to find the best career fit, and being prepared will help you land it.
Dr. Dean Gualco has been the program coordinator for the human resources program at CSU-Global for the last 5 years. He earned his master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California and his doctorate in education from the University of the Pacific. He is also the author of 8 books, the last published in 2016 titled, “The Good Manager: A Model for the 21st Century Manager.”