The most important (and forgotten) interview question

One of my friends told me that her son went for an interview at one of the big banks.  He is a charming and charismatic guy and things went really well until the interviewer asked why, in particular, did he want to work for the bank


The only answer that came into his head was that his mother worked there and that’s not what most interviewers want to hear.

At first, I rolled my eyes.  Geesh …who does not have an answer to that?

But I think lots of people get caught in this trap.  You work so hard to prepare for the skill questions and the “tell me about a time when…” questions, that you forget all about the most basic question of all:  why us?

There are several ways to answer depending on the role and your place in the world.

  • I love your products.
  • You have an award winning brand.
  • I know people who have built rewarding careers here.
  • You are on the 50 Best Employers List and I would like to be a part of that.
  • I can help you navigate through this period of incredible growth you are going through.

Even if it’s partially true, you might not want to go with things like:

  • You fired my uncle and I want to make things right.
  • It’s the only game in town.
  • All my friends work here.
  • You pay well.
  • If I do some time here, I’ll be able to move into a real job somewhere else.

So before you talk to someone about an opportunity, know something about their values and what they offer.  Going to an interview should not be like going on a blind date for you or the interviewer.



1 Comment

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One response to “The most important (and forgotten) interview question

  1. Like in all sales meetings, the “client” needs to have their needs met. Seems kinda basic, but you are right, lots of people forget to forget about themselves and focus on the other person/company.

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