What interviewers want to know about you

Interview Ellis Fox Blog

Sitting down to an interview, a common question interviewers ask is: “Tell me about yourself.” For candidates who haven’t prepared for the question, it can be overwhelming. The question is so broad, where do you start?

To help you answer this and other interview questions, we thought we’d share some perspective on what interviewers are looking for when speaking to candidates:

What type of personality are you?

In recruitment circles, we talk a lot about fit. In simple terms this refers to an alignment of values or personality between the candidate and the company. No doubt you want to work in an environment where you get on with your co-workers too.

This is less about being compliant and more about what you will add to the team. Are you able to easily engage with and motivate co-workers. Are you comfortable presenting to senior management? Are you the type of person that can accept feedback, even if it isn’t all positive?

In preparing for an interview, think of yourself in each of these scenarios and what your natural behaviour would be. That’s the best indicator of whether you’ll be a good fit.

Do you have the right expertise?

A certificate or university degree may confirm that you have a certain level of knowledge, but it doesn’t determine if you can actually do the job. Knowledge is only useful if you know how to apply it, so sprouting qualifications won’t always inspire confidence in interviewers.

What they’re looking for is impact. How did the knowledge you have, lead to results? How did you contribute to the success of a project? What specific or unique expertise and experience do you bring that will add value to the team?

Think of how to answer questions relating to your expertise in this context and you’ll be showcasing yourself in the best possible way.

What type of employee are you?

The stereotypes of the person who coasts along or the overwhelmed super achiever are not that far from the truth. At some point in their career most people lose motivation, or feel that they have no choice but to simply work harder.

We’d like to think that the workplace is changing and becoming a more positive environment. But that largely depends on how employees respond to incentives and culture changes. The most valuable employees are those who are agile, who communicate well and are able to accept and give constructive feedback. Consider this when preparing for an interview.