To Ace the Interview: Quit Trying to Read the Recruiter’s Mind

MindreaderThe main reason job seekers fear – and fail –at interviews? They’re attempting to read the interviewer’s mind; or they try to anticipate the next question asked instead of actively listening to the current question.

Even worse, then give answers to questions they think the interviewer wants to hear, rather than showing the impact their work style, and history, will bring.

This job interview mind-guessing game does not – will not – work… and is destined to fail.

Many interviewers will use behavior-based interview questions to find candidates who will fit the job, fit the team, and fit the company. These are open-ended questions designed to drill down and uncover evidence of the competencies needed for the position.

This is where a good understanding of the PAR/CAR/SAR interview concept will be helpful to the job seeker. If he or she knows how to develop success stories demonstrating problems faced, actions taken and results obtained, it puts them in a better position to ace the interview.

Below are five questions chosen from the many commonly asked by recruiters. Immediately following is why the recruiter asks that question, and the a strategy for answering that question.

Instead of trying to read the recruiter’s mind, try this approach during your next job interview!

Recruiter Question No. 1: Why Should I Consider You?

Why should I consider you a strong applicant for this position? What have been your most significant achievements in your previous job?

What the Interview Really Wants to Know:

Does this candidate understand the duties and responsibilities associated with this position? Does he have the specific skills, abilities and the right experience that demonstrate a high level of proficiency?

Your Strategy:

Review the job posting very closely and identify the skills and knowledge that are critical to the position. Then offer your specific achievements that directly or closely relate to the job.

Recruiter Question No. 2: What Are Your Significant Accomplishments?

What were three of your most significant accomplishments in your previous role that directly relate to the position we are discussing today?

What the Interview Really Wants to Know:

Is the candidate aware of the contributions she has made to the employer? Has she left a legacy that has had significant impact on the company? Did she make or save the company money?

Your Strategy:

Recall and tell stories of instances where your efforts made significant impact on the company’s bottom line and where you saved the company time or money. Also mention any awards or recognitions you received for your efforts.

Recruiter Question No. 3: What Would Your Last Boss Say?

If I were to contact your supervisor, what would she say about your ability to complete a difficult task? What criticism would she have about your technical competence?

What the Interview Really Wants to Know:

Is the candidate someone who accepts or resists management directives? Does he have a good work ethic? Does he willingly pitch in to help coworkers with challenges?

Your Strategy:

Focus on the teamwork / collaborative competencies that directly relate to the job for which you are interviewing. Give specific examples of how you get along with your coworkers and how willing you were to go the extra mile to get the job done.

Recruiter Question No. 4: Describe a Situation Where…

Describe a situation when you worked with someone whose work style was different from yours. What problems did you encounter? How did you resolve the problems?

What the Interview Really Wants to Know:

Can this candidate work with different personalities? Is she accepting of others? Is she flexible? Is she aware that there’s more than way to accomplish a task?

Your Strategy:

Offer stories that demonstrate flexibility and tact when dealing with people and problems. Relate your cross-cultural experience and your respect for diversity.

Recruiter Question No. 5: Tell Me About a Challenge…

Tell me about a challenge our company is facing and offer a solution. Why do you feel this solution is the answer?

What the Interview Really Wants to Know:

Does the candidate understand our industry and can he offer some insights into potential challenges the industry is facing?

Your Strategy:

Tell stories that demonstrate a thorough understanding of the industry and offer ideas for solutions. Give examples of ideas you offered that were accepted in your previous role. If you can do this you will be an extremely desirable candidate.

Here’s the best part: by thinking ahead, and applying the PAR/CAR/SAR concept to any interview question, you will nail the interview (even without trying to guess what is on the recruiter’s mind)!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Musings!


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daisy wrightAbout the Author: Daisy Wright is an award winning certified resume strategist and career management coach known for helping mid-career professionals, managers and executives tell their career stories and get hired FASTER! She works collaboratively with clients to understand their needs and develop compelling resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, and other career marketing documents that differentiate them from everyone else. Connect with her on LinkedIn andTwitter.



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