Monday, September 12, 2016

How to Answer the REAL Interview Questions...and Get the Job

By Richard Kent Matthews, Career Coach

Getting ready for that interview? How are you spending your time? Wisely, I hope...

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"Learning how to get just a little better at job interviews is one of the best-value things you can do for yourself, pound for pound and minute for minute." James Reed, executive recruiter

In his book 101 Job Interview Questions You'll Never Fear Again,* James Reed suggests not only the questions, but the REAL question beneath the question. And how to answer it without looking foolish.

Sound odd? 

When you are called in for an interview, there is a series of questions your prospective employer will most likely ask. But they can be deceptive. (Even the employer may not realize just how deceptive those questions can be.)

The motive of the employer is always about his/her/their own needs, not yours. They are looking for specific answers not only to the question at hand; they expect you to somehow see beneath the surface to their actually concerns. Can you do that? Maybe not 100% of the time, but Reed says you stand a good chance if you can ascertain even a fair number of those real questions and answer them the way the employer hopes you will. 

In most cases, it will put you way ahead of any competition.

Here are a few examples of questions and the real questions hiding underneath them:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Real question: Who do you think you are? And will you know what to leave in and what to leave out? (Can you be specific without too much bragging?)
  2. Why are you applying? Real question: What can you do that we need you to do? Do you even know what we need you to do? (Have you done your research on the company before the interview?)
  3. What is your greatest strength? Real question: Do you really know yourself--and do you know what our problem is here? (Are you sure your skills will fit?)
  4. How does this job fit in with your career plan? Real question: How much do you really want to solve my immediate problem? What about after? (Are you a job jumper? Are you willing to make a commitment to this company?)
  5. If offered the job, what would be your first priority or thing you would change? Real question: Can you strike a good balance between consultation and initiative? Are you going to charge in and step on toes? (Will your personality fit with the company culture?)
These are just a few of the questions in Reed's book. He covers everything from company fit to company fortune. And everything in between. 

There is always a hidden reality beneath the surface question. Are you ready to go deep? Now you can. And you'll be the wiser for it. 

Good luck in your upcoming interview.

* I highly recommend this book. You can pick it up at bookstores or go to Here's the full info:

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