People always ask me how they can prepare best for an interview. The short answer is to be honest and authentic. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to be authentic, some don’t even know how to be honest.
In this blog post, I will dive into the 6 toughest interview questions that I have come across by now while talking to hundreds of people who went through interviews and I will also show you how to master them. If you can answer them in an authentic and host way, you will do great.
Note: Tonight, 25th September, I am hosting a Webinar on How to Find a Job in Switzerland as an English Speaker. Join me there if you are serious about increasing your chances for job interviews dramatically.
1. What Makes You Unique?
This is a tough one for most people since they simply don’t know. What most people do when they are asked this question is to start talking about their experience, skills and education.
Let me tell you something. These things don’t make you unique. There is always somebody with more experience and a better education no matter what you have done.
You need to come up with a much deeper answer here or you will sound like everybody else. I highly recommend you put some time in creating your WHY statement. This part of the Why-How-What statement is the one that makes you unique. That is what makes Apple, Nike and Google who they are and it’s what sets you apart from the crowd.
Most people never heard of the WHY statement and that is exactly where your opportunity lies.
Communicate your values, your beliefs, what you stand for and you can only win. This is the first thing I always work on with my coaching clients and it’s what sets them apart.
2. Why Do You Work?
This question has a lot in common with the first one. I just recently had a coaching client tell me that she was asked this question in an interview. Thankfully we created her Why-How-What statement before the interview and she felt much more comfortable answering this question.
The reason people ask this question is to understand what drives you. What are your core motivations? Why are you pursuing the work you do? Are you passionate about what you do? If so, why?
If you are not passionate about what you do, it will be very difficult for you to answer this question. Therefore, my recommendation is to find a path that you are passionate about and pursue this one instead of wasting your time doing work you find no meaning in.
Once again, the WHY statement will help you go deep and explore why you do what you do.
3. Why Did You Choose Our Company?
Many times when I work on building the list of target companies with my coaching clients, I ask them why they have these specific companies on that list. Not surprisingly, one of the companies on most of my clients’ list is Google.
Just a few weeks ago, one of my new coaching clients told me the number one company on his list is Google and that he would do anything to work there. So we explored that a little more.
I asked him a lot of why-questions until we got to the root of his desire to work there. He was obsessed with two specific projects that the company was running and he knew absolutely everything about them. The reason he was so obsessed with them was because they matched with his passion and aligned with his WHY statement.
Once you find the deep roots of why you want to work at a specific company and can explain it so the other person understands it, selling yourself becomes easy because it’s simply telling the authentic truth in a passionate, rational language.
If you tell the interviewer that you want to work there because you appreciate the international environment and that it’s only a 5-minute walk from your house, he will nod and write down “boring” in his notebook.
Think about your answers before you are in the interview.
4. Why Do You Want to Work in Switzerland?
This is a question that I always asked job seekers in my corporate career as a recruiter. It’s a very essential question to know for a recruiter, HR person or hiring manager.
Most of the time, depending on your answer they will determine if you are a high risk for leaving the company soon again because you or your family don’t feel comfortable in Switzerland.
Once again, answer the question honestly and authentically. There is no need to invent some fancy sounding answer. If the only reason you want to work in Switzerland is the potentially high income, low taxes or any other superficial reason, you may want to rethink not your answer but your reason.
5. If You Had CHF 100 Million in the Bank, What Would You Do All Day?
During my corporate recruitment career, I had a favorite client. He always asked people this question in the interview. The idea was to find out if they are really passionate about what they do and if not, if they would lie just to get the job.
What would you do if you did not have to work for money? Would you do what you are doing right now? If not, why not and what else would you do?
Since the best performing employees in an organization are the ones who love what they do, these types of questions come up more and more.
6. Could you tell me about a situation when…?
These types of questions are here to determine how you acted in specific situations in the past to predict how you will act in similar situations in the future.
These questions come up more and more since organizations realize that the level of performance of an employee for the most part depends on how well they fit into a company culture.
A software developer can thrive while working at Ebay and completely fail in doing the same job at Apple since the company culture is completely different. Both are great companies but they are completely different like every individual is too.
When you get such a question, never make an attempt of deception. Tell the truth and keep your Why-How-What statement in mind. Find ways to communicate the opportunities you uncovered during the process and positive change you initiated.
Communicate Effectively With HR and Hiring Managers
If you want to make the most out of your interviews and basically any type of communication you have with others in your career, download and work through the Communication Excellence Workbook to craft a powerful Why-How-What statement.