Decoding Job Interview Questions: What They Really Want to Know
2 min read

Decoding Job Interview Questions: What They Really Want to Know

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What they really want to know with job interview questions
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

When you go to job interviews, your interviewer really just wants to know 3 things:

  • 1. If you worked a similar job before
  • 2. If you have the right skills
  • 3. If you fit the company culture

However, they'll ask this in all sorts of different ways. See these classic questions:

“Tell me about yourself"

Tell where you worked and what roles. Your interviewer wants to check if your past experience is relevant to the open role they need to fill.

Build a bridge between your past jobs and this role. Your interviewer wants you in the next round - help them!

“Why do you want to join our company?”

That's your opportunity to highlight relevant experience and say: "That's why I'm confident I’ll bring a lot of value".

The interviewer just wants to check that box. Give them a story they can tell internally to justify hiring you.

"What motivates you?"

Don't exaggerate on the past experience in a way that diminishes the challenge in front of you.

The best framing is, "I have this very relevant past experience, and I'm motivated to join your company because I'm confident I'll bring a lot of value"

"Tell me about a time you worked under pressure"

Don't mention that your manager threw you under the bus on that day.

Instead, tell how you used your skills relevant to this job description in a way that created a tangible impact to your employer. 

Again, it's about the skills.

“What's a professional achievement you're proud of?”

They really want to know if you fit the role's technical requirements.

Tell them a past situation when you used skills that are relevant to this role and tech stack. 

Perhaps an integration with an API mentioned in the job description.

“Have you ever worked at a startup?”

They want to check if you worked in a similar company before. Prepare this in advance and build a bridge to check that box.

Similar for industry, company size, etc. Just checking if you bring any risk to the current company culture.

“Have you worked in a remote team before?”

Again, culture check. Don’t simply mention you worked from home during lockdowns. Because everyone did.

Mention interfacing with international people in different time zones (team members, clients, etc), how documentation is important, etc.

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