The Interviewer’s Content Agenda: Job Competence


Job competence (and character) is the main reason that people are hired to fill a role.  As we discussed in the Threshold Competencies section there are a number of factors that are considered.  For new graduates they include intellect (SAT scores, for example), college selected, grade point average, technical and analytical skills, internships.  For candidates with work experience it would also be intellect and actual work experience.

The best interviewers go beyond these criteria to try to understand “how the candidate thinks.”  With the speed of change in the world no one can be sure how long they will be performing a given job.  Consequently, demonstrating the ability to think and flexibility will be critical in convincing a company that you are the best candidate.  The way the interviewer ascertains this is by rating the quality of your answers to questions which is evidence of your preparation and the quality of your presentation of the information.

In addition, the interviewer will try to gain a sense of your perspective.  Perspective entails being able to see possibilities and creating a direction.  Many people are only able to see the box they will fit into and the job they are supposed to complete.  A few are able, intuitively, to see and understand the bigger picture and to have a sense of how the pieces of the company puzzle fit together.  This includes mission and culture as well as how the company makes money or provides services.  They sense quickly how they might fit in and could be helpful to others.

Potential Questions:

  • What is your most significant academic or business success in the last year or two?
  • Tell me about a project you headed and how you set the goals.
  • What is the toughest road block you have encountered and overcome on the way to achieving your goal?
  • Give me an example of when you needed to demonstrate flexibility.
  • What is the most creative thing you have ever done?
  • Give me an example of when and where you showed intuition.
  • When have you set a direction for yourself well before acting on it?
  • Why did you accept and leave each of the jobs you have held?

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