How To Answer The Toughest Interview Question
06.16.14 | Job Search & Career | Kevin Penta, Consultant at Treeline, Inc.
You may be wondering, what exactly is “the toughest interview question.” I mean there are definitely plenty of questions that have left us all stumped in an interview, but I thought I would focus on one of the toughest interview questions that seems so obvious that many of us struggle to answer it effectively.
Why do you want this job?
Like I said, an obvious question with an obvious answer…right?
You are clearly there interviewing with the company for a job opportunity, and you may feel like you being there and interested in the opportunity would answer the somewhat rhetorical question already, so why did they ask it?
The answer seems so obvious that it may actually result in a less than thoughtful answer, and the answer to this question actually depends at what point it is asked during the process.
Timing is everything with this question.
If this question is asked early in the interview process.
You may feel thrown off since you’re not even sure if you want the job yet. Remember, you are there to figure out if you are a good fit for the company and if the company is a good fit for you, so it is okay to express that. You can let the hiring manager know that you are interested in the position, but are there to get more information on the role, the company and culture to see if it could be a good fit. You can share what is important to you as you look for new opportunities, which could be culture, products and services, growth and the executive team. This is still a thoughtful way to answer a tactful question that shows the hiring manager that you are serious about your job search. Avoid generic answers like “I need a job,” or “money is extremely important to me.” Compensation is something you will get to a little later in the process.
If this question is asked later in the interview process.
You should have learned enough information to answer the question effectively and be clear on why you want the role (if you indeed want it). At this point, you should have asked good enough questions that you understand what the hiring manager is looking for. After asking qualifying questions and looking for connections between you and the hiring manager as to why they joined the company and how they’ve found success, you should be able to emulate that in your own answer. Break down the points as to why you would want the role and draw on those connections between you and the hiring manager to emphasize your interest in the position. Did they join the team because they were looking to join a start-up environment that offered growth and is that something that is important to you? If yes, then mention that and you can say something like “it seems what you want in an ideal candidate mirrors what I want in a new position and this could be a good fit.” This is your chance to show that you’ve done your homework. Draw from your experiences, successes and ability to overcome failure or obstacles which in turn has equipped you to succeed in the position you’re interviewing for. Your answer may even squash any concerns or objections that the hiring manager may have about how aggressive and serious you are about the opportunity.
Remember, you are looking for an opportunity to further your professional career that aligns with personal and financial goals, and a company is looking for someone who can help further their goals and growth as well. Both want a mutually, beneficial relationship.
By going through the interview process, you should have an understanding as to what you are looking for in your next role and you should be able to provide an answer with confidence, no matter when the toughest question is asked.
Watch this video on how to prepare for a sales interview and close like a professional.