Have you ever walked out of an interview thinking, “Well that could’ve gone a lot better”? It might be because your hiring manager was looking for a certain answer, but you didn’t deliver. In this article, I give you common questions and what the hiring managers are REALLY looking for in your responses.

June 21, 2023

What Hiring Managers Are REALLY Asking During Interviews

Career Development

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Decoding the Hidden Questions

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, with candidates often feeling unsure about what hiring managers are truly seeking to uncover. While interview questions may appear straightforward, there’s often an underlying subtext that goes beyond the surface level. And if you’re looking for ways to best prepare for interview questions, check out this free resource, here! In this article, I’ll delve into the hidden questions hiring managers are asking during interviews, helping you decode their intentions and increase your chances of interview success.

“Tell Me About Yourself”

One of the most common interview questions, “Tell me about yourself,” serves as an opportunity for hiring managers to assess your communication skills, confidence, and ability to present a concise and engaging overview of your professional background. While it may seem like an open-ended invitation to share personal anecdotes, focus on highlighting relevant experiences and skills that align with the position you’re applying for. In this article, I go in depth on how to best answer this popular question.

“Why did you leave your previous job?”

This question is often aimed at understanding your motivations and assessing your attitude towards previous employers. Hiring managers want to gauge whether you left your previous job on good terms, the reasons behind your departure, and your level of professionalism. Be honest, but avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer. Instead, emphasize the new opportunities you’re seeking or the desire for professional growth.

“What are your strengths and opportunities?”

While hiring managers do want to know your strengths and opportunity areas, they are also evaluating your self-awareness and ability to handle constructive criticism. When discussing your strengths, highlight relevant skills and experiences that directly relate to the job requirements. For weaknesses, focus on areas where you are actively working to improve, demonstrating a commitment to personal and professional growth.

“Describe a challenging situation you faced and how you handled it.”

This question aims to assess your problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and resilience. Choose a challenging situation from your past and explain the problem, the actions you took to address it, and the positive outcomes. Showcase your ability to remain calm under pressure, collaborate with others, and learn from setbacks. Remember to focus on the process rather than dwelling on the problem itself.

“Tell me about a time when you failed.”

Hiring managers are interested in understanding how you handle failure and whether you take responsibility for your actions. Choose a specific example where you encountered a setback, explain the lessons learned, and demonstrate your ability to bounce back and grow from the experience. Emphasize the steps you took to rectify the situation and the positive outcomes that resulted from it.

“How do you handle working under pressure or tight deadlines?”

This question evaluates your ability to perform well in high-pressure situations. Provide examples from your past experiences where you successfully managed tight deadlines or stressful circumstances. Highlight your organizational skills, ability to prioritize tasks, and your calmness and focus during stressful times. Share strategies you employ to stay organized and maintain productivity.

Job interviews are not merely a question-and-answer session; they provide hiring managers with valuable insights into your skills, character and potential fit within their organization. By understanding the hidden questions behind their inquiries, you can provide thoughtful responses that align with their expectations and increase your chances of securing the job. Remember to prepare ahead of time, practice your responses, and showcase your unique strengths and experiences to make a lasting impression on hiring managers. Good luck!

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