Stepping Into An Employer’s Shoes: 3 Things They Really Want To Hear At A Job Interview

Ever wondered why employers ask certain questions? Nope, it's not to trip you up. In fact, understanding their motives could be the key to interview success.

Job Interview

You’ve done it. You’ve sent off your CV, been invited in for an interview and now there’s only one thing that stands between you and that amazing job; er, those tricky interview questions. Employers only ask them to trip you up, right? Er, wrong. In fact, understanding why employers ask certain questions is super important to understanding what they’re after in a potential new star employee.

“When preparing for interview, it’s important to learn how to step into an employer’s shoes psychologically and consider what their wants and needs may be when evaluating a potential employee,” explains careers coach Carmel Morrissey. “Interviewing is generally a time consuming and often expensive process, so if you’re called forward to interview it’s because they genuinely believe that you have potential for the role.”

Right then, so how do you close the deal? Carmel recommends you consider the following three elements, both while prepping for and during that all-important interview.

Are you capable?

“The first question a potential employer is interested in is can you do the job?”,” Carmel explains. “You’ve sent in your CV highlighting your skills and achievements, but can you talk comfortably and competently about your responsibilities and achievements? Do you recognise areas that potentially challenge you in this role and do you have an action plan in place?” she asks. If it’s a no, then you’ll need to put in a little extra work beforehand, ensuring you can rhyme off your skills with confidence.

Are you eager?

The next big question on the mind of your potential new boss is, do you actually want the job? “Obviously, we all need to generate an income,” Carmel points out, “but a potential employer needs to feel that you are passionate about the role that you are applying for, even if it is a stop gap role. Always ensure that they’re aware of how much you want the role, and be sure to compensate for a lack of experience with enthusiasm.” Got it.

Do you fit?

Now that they’ve figured out that you can a) do the job, and b) you actually want the job, the last consideration is whether you’ll actually fit within the culture of the company. To make sure you’re compatible with the company’s culture Carmel suggests you research them online. “What are their values? What do they value in an employee?,” she asks.

“Included in this area is the question of whether or not they can afford you,” says Carmel. This is a tricky one as it’s important not to over price or indeed under price yourself.”

So what should you do? A possible approach to answering questions around salary is again to stress your enthusiasm for the role, so for instance, “this is a role that I really want and if you were to make me a fair offer, I would be more than happy to accept.”

“Remember,” instructs Carmel, “ultimately, employers want to know if you have the right ability, personality and motivation for the role, so the next time that you’re in an interview and you’re asked a question, consider stepping into the employer’s shoes before you answer.