The intention behind interview questions

At any job interview, the interviewer is aiming to answer three basic questions about the candidate: are they capable of doing the job (technical competency), why they want the job (motivation) and whether they fit into the organisation (alignment). The interviewer also needs to identify which people will assume responsibilities, take initiative and provide fresh ideas.

In order to navigate this labyrinth, interviewers arms themselves with questions that have a clear purpose. Here are a few examples:

Where do you see yourself in five years? The interviewer is looking for clues about your professional goals and ambitions
Why should I hire you? To check your level of self-confidence.
What are your weaknesses? The interviewer is looking to discover how well you know yourself.
Tell me about yourself. To check your communication skills and see how you present yourself.
If I was to ask your friends to describe you, what would they say? The intention here is to understand whether you are a people person who can speak openly and honestly about themselves.
Tell me about the worst boss you’ve had. To understand how much the candidate learned from previous bad experiences with managers.
Why do you want to work for our organisation? The interviewer wants to know whether the candidate has researched the company or not.
Tell me about a situation in which you failed. Nobody is perfect, so speak honestly about what you learned from that situation. The interviewer wants to hear from you about how you managed the collateral damage from your mistake.
Tell me about a project you worked on and that required analytical thinking. The interviewer is asking you this so you can demonstrate your competence.
What book are you reading at the moment? The interviewer is exploring your intellectual curiosity, your interests and perhaps how you identify with the sector or professional trends.
Tell me about a situation in which you were forced to tackle an ethical dilemma. The interviewer wants to discover your level of ethical conduct and honesty.
Why do you want to leave your current position? The interviewer wants to make sure you won’t leave in six months and that you will be happy in your new job.

HR Analytics
Acciona Human Resources

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