Every question you have been asked in a job interview is a subset of a deeper in-depth follow-up to one of the following questions:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love what you are doing?
  • Will the employer and other employees be able to work with you?

These questions may be asked in different ways with different words, but it is a variation on one of the following topics:

  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • How motivated are you?
  • Will you fit in this position?

What are your greatest strengths?

The real question: Can you do the job?

An employer wants to know if you have the talent, knowledge, and skills the organization needs over the short and long term?

Although this question is one of the easier interview questions you’ll be asked, people struggle to answer it.  Figure out what strengths the interviewer is looking – look at the requirements in the job advert.

Sample Answers:

  • My greatest strength is that I know how to lead people and guide them to seek a defined objective (Leadership)
  • I have the ability to welcome challenges, and a willingness to understand and find solutions to problems (Confidence/Motivated)
  • I work hard to achieve positive results and I don’t give up easily (Hard work/Persistence)
  • I am honest and I am determined to meet goals well in time (Honesty/Goal setting)
  • I am a good listener to people who have problems (Listening skills)
  • My adaptability to a new environment or new situations (Adaptability)
  • I can thrive under pressure, be patient and optimistic (Patience/Can work under pressure)
  • My greatest strength is my willingness to give my best effort to achieve positive results (Results-focused)

How motivated are you?

The real question: Will you love what you are doing?

Motivation ranks high as a desirable characteristic and needs to match the job specifications.  An employer wants to know what motivates you, what do you believe motivates others and what type of work environment you find motivating.  Not only are your answers critical to the employer, but also your non-verbal communication.  Show enthusiasm through your voice and body language (look the employer confidently in the eye, lean forward, smile).

Possible questions to test your motivation:

  • Describe the work environment in which you are most productive and happy
  • What goals have you set for your life?
  • How would you define “success” for your career?
  • Observing your coworkers, in your current or a past job, describe what motivated their best performance.

Are you fit for this position?

The employer will have the following questions in mind:

  • Will the employer and other employees be able to work with you?
  • Will the company be better off with you in it over time?
  • Will you be good for the company?

Cultural fit is the nr 1 reason for a new employee’s failure.  Therefore, it is important to do research about the company – talk to people in the company and find out about the company as much as possible.  Employers want to find out more about interviewee’s past behaviours, experience relating to colleagues, attitudes, values, and work environments (BRAVE fit) they’ve created in order to help assess how well they will fit with the company’s current culture and move it in a desirable direction.  This is one area where no one should play any games.  Don’t try to be something different than what you are.

See the interview as an exercise and a chance for you to show your ability to solve the company’s problem.  Highlight your strengths in the areas most important to the company, talk about how you would be motivated by the role’s challenges, and discuss why you would be a BRAVE fit with the organization’s culture.

Prepared by: Careers Office


  1. http://humanresources.about.com
  2. http://www.primegenesis.com
  3. http://jobsearch.about.com


Created: 21 August 2017

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