Giving job seekers the list of the most asked interview questions and answers is a recipe for disaster. Employers can tell canned memorized responses and they do not like them anymore than you like a scripted call from a telemarketer. In addition, as someone that has been in over 1000 interviews coaching employers about how to make the hiring decision, I hear employers ask questions that are not on these lists all the time. I have seen many job seekers freeze when they are asked questions that were not on the list they got at the workforce program. Make sure in your mock interviews you ask questions people will not expect. Teach people to be in the present talking with the employer and not reciting some scripted answers. Employers want a real dialog with a person not a robot!
Secondly, our generic answers do not relate to a specific employer’s needs. An applicant asked, “tell me a little bit about yourself” should give a different answer depending on the job and the employer. An interview should not be a one size fits all situation. You need to teach people how to analyze the ways a specific job contributes to the profits of a business and customize their answers to that analysis. The answer to “tell me a little bit about yourself” should be dramatically different at the lumberyard and the restaurant. The lumberyard answer should include something about safety and the restaurant answer should include customer service qualities because those are profit centers in those jobs. Answers should be different even for employers in similar businesses depending on their culture and market niche. Employers want to hear interview answers that fit their business and a specific job. In your mock interviews, you need to tell people what employer and job they will be applying for and ask them to do some thinking about how to make their answers employer and job specific. Generic answers do not get job offers!
Remember the real hidden interview question no matter what question is being asked is how will hiring this person make us money? For nonprofit and government jobs the hidden question is how will hiring this person help us meet our mission and goals? Job seekers need to shape their answers around the hidden interview question. Every answer should connect in some way as much as possible to the employer’s needs to make profits or achieve their mission and goals. This is called employer specific interview training and it is much more effective than the generic approach used in most workforce programs.
Also, most employers are not stupid! I have heard literally hundreds of job seekers say that working too hard is their biggest weakness. Give me a break! You would not buy that answer and neither do employers. Instead, people should talk honestly about something they are working on to improve themselves that is not a key issue for this job.
Interview answers that are employer and job specific and focus on making a private sector employer money or meeting mission and goals in the case of nonprofits and government agencies, are the ones that will lead to what every job seeker wants to hear “you got the job!” This new way of interviewing is covered in the Larry Robbin training, How to Interview to Meet the New Hidden Hiring Agenda! Contact Larry Robbin to bring this workshop to your program by.