Three Questions Every Job Candidate Should Be Prepared to Answer

By Barbara Pronin

Graduation’s over, and a whole new crop of job-seekers will be competing for positions in a less-than-flourishing job market. One good way to improve your chances is to sharpen up your interview skills.

“There are three things I look for in every candidate, Lori Senecal, CEO of the CPM Partner Network, told Adam Bryant of the New York Times. “I always ask three questions to determine which job-seekers can deliver.”

Savvy candidates would do well to address the issues behind Senecal’s three main questions—whether or not they are specifically asked – at some point during the interview:

What have you invented? – This doesn’t mean you have to have built a robot that brings beer from the fridge, explained Senecal. It’s to establish that you have a creative mindset and an ability to find fresh solutions – a new, more efficient way of doing something…or filing something…or approaching something. What in your school years or a previous job moved you to solve a problem?

What is your greatest achievement? – This may be less to learn about your achievement (which has probably been answered with question one) than to test your willingness to be part of a team. Senecal finds an ‘I/we’ mindset more significant than an ‘I/me’ perspective. Think about a time when you worked with a team to achieve a positive outcome.

Have you ever had to stick your neck out for the greater good of a mission – "I want people who are willing to take bold action to move the mission forward," Senecal said. She looks for talent that embodies original thinking, passion and dedication, and a spirit of collaboration—traits it will most likely take to excel in a creative work environment. Was there a time when you bucked the established view in order to get something done?

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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