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Underlying Questions Interviewers Want Answered

Your resume will say a lot about you before you speak with a recruiter or hiring manager.  They know a lot about your background and experience before you meet, but a few hours of interacting with the hiring manager or team can be the determining factor of whether you get hired or not.  So what is it that they really want to know about you when you go for a face to face interview? Here is what they want to know without directly asking you.

“What will you be like to work with”

“That means that a lot of what will determine the success of the interview is social. Yes, you need to be knowledgeable about your field, but you also need to help people envision you as a member of the team.”  Many people approach an interview as if they are going to take an exam, they answer the questions and are trying to give the right answer.  But the interviewers want to know if you can be a valuable college and someone they enjoy interacting with.  The interview should be viewed as an opportunity to get to know one another, and build rapport.

“Can you Learn”

Oftentimes there will be an interview question that trips you up, maybe the wording is confusing and you are unsure of how to answer, or if you understand the question it is possible that you just can’t think of the right thing to say.  Interviewers are good at picking up on phony answers so it is better to not bluff your way through the question.  This is your chance to admit that you don’t know or understand, ask for clarification or reshape the question.  “If the question that brings you up short involves addressing a scenario from the workplace, ask the interviewer whether you should think through the question aloud so that they can see how you work on new problems, or if they would like to talk with you about how this issue is normally handled within the organization (or both). Your goal here is to show the interviewer how you approach challenges while demonstrating that you are open to learning.”  Or simply ask if there are any continued education opportunities, if the company offers any seminars or a tuition assistance program.

“Do you take initiative”

The best was to demonstrate that you take initiative is to come to the interview prepared.  Do your research about the company, what they do, their history, weaknesses and strengths.  Also prepare to answer common interview questions and practice them so that you can recognize where the gaps are in your knowledge and you can fill them before you even arrive for the interview.


“Ultimately, the best way to stand out in interviews is to think carefully about what prospective employers really want to know about you before you are hired. From there, you will be able to address concerns before they even have them.”