Sunday, 22 September 2019

Four Core Questions Recruiters Want Answered

Getting flustered at job interview is common. So knowing in advance the four basic questions recruiters want answered can be a tremendous help.


Russell Cavanagh writes about recruitement and career issues for jobseekers over 50.

I've sat both sides of the table when it comes to job interviews. I can assure you that recruiters will be just as worried about not hiring the right person as the interviewees are about putting a foot wrong.

However, it's worth keeping in mind that there are really just four core questions needing answered in any job interview. Everything else is just about filling in detail to make extra sure.

Let's look at them:

"Why should I hire you?"


This question is so fundamental that I admit here and now that it never crossed my mind when I first thought about putting together this blog post. Hey, isn't this question too obvious???

But then I read a short piece on Forbes, "How To Answer The No. 1 Job Interview Question: ‘Why Should I Hire You?’", which provided some essential food for thought.

The article, written by business coach Chris Westfall, answered with five well-considered points. I recommend you read them all by clicking here.

Chris said much that I agreed with and here are three examples I particularly liked:

  • "Playing to win in the career game means knowing where the goal is - so you never lose sight of the most important question." This exactly echoes my own aims in writing here today. It's about keeping focus all the way through the job application process.
  • "Because of his background, he knows the value of hard work - not because he learnt it in a classroom; he lived it his whole life." This is written in point #4 of Chris's piece and older readers of this blog with their own life experiences will know exactly why that statement jumped at me right off the proverbial page.
  • "Don’t just stop and watch the interviewer blink while you wait for the next question. Remember, the best interview is a conversation - so have one." Yup, the recruiter wants to know how interviewees will communicate and interact once they're actually employed in the workplace.

What about those three questions I originally had planned?


  1. "Can this person do the job?" is number one. A recruiter will assess this from the application form initially and confirm at interview stage. This is where it's important to talk about relevant experience and transferable skills while putting them in context of the position applied for.
  2. "Will this person do the job?" An applicant may be very capable of carrying out the work but are they motivated to do so? Are they just filling time before going off to do something else? Does their previous employer's reference detail work attendance records? Do they show enthusiasm for their prospective role in the company or is it purely about furthering their own personal ambitions?
  3. "Will this person fit in?" On one level this question is about personalities, motivations as well as assessing how likely they will function as part of a team but be able to show initiative or leadership where warranted. This is also where a recruiter will take one look and decide whether or not to make a decision based on personal discrimination and bias.
To fail in any of the above three questions means certain rejection at interview. It's therefore worth heeding Chris Westfall where he advised in his Forbes piece:
" ... the reason why anyone would hire you is a simple one: because of what you can do for them. Never lose sight of the person that matters most in your conversation."