You will be asked many different job interview questions when you’re seeking employment. Some of them will be the common interview questions asked at most job interviews.
Others will be designed to discover more about you, your personality and your match for the job and the company. The goal for the employer is match making. Organizations are seeking candidates who are the best match for the job requirements, the company culture, and the organization. That’s called candidate fit and here’s how you can show that you’re a good fit with companies of interest.
As far as your career path, an interviewer might ask a question about who inspired you as a way to obtain a genuine sense of why you have chosen your career.
The interviewer will then match your ideal role against the reality of what her employer has to offer to determine if you are a good fit. So, even if you are qualified for the job on paper, you still may not be the candidate the employer is seeking.
For example, let’s say that you are interviewing for a Human Resources position. If you were to respond that you were inspired by your internship supervisor because she was so compassionate about the needs of employees, it could trigger a concern with an employer who was looking for an HR professional focused on the bottom line or who would strictly enforce company policy.
Best Ways to Respond
The key to a strategic response will be to keep in mind the expectations of your target employer and to honestly emphasize aspects of your inspiration which will prove that you meet their qualifications.
Think of an individual who has inspired you to pursue your career path in part because they have modeled a skill or attitude which you know will be valued by your prospective employer.
For example, imagine that you are applying for a sales position, and you have ascertained that the sales culture at the company emphasizes carefully understanding the client’s needs prior to making a tailored pitch.
Reflect on your work history and try to identify someone who you admired with that approach. For example, you could say:
“When I first started selling for S&G I was paired with a senior sales person and went along with her on sales calls for two weeks. I was inspired by how much time and effort Jane spent understanding the issues and problems which concerned her clients. She asked the right questions and listened carefully before she started to sell. Jane helped me to realize that I could use my strong communication and listening skills to build relationships with clients without being heavy handed, a style that isn’t natural for me.”
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