Every question 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 using different words, but they are always a variation on one of the following topics:

  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • How motivated are you?
  • Will you be a good fit for this position?

The real question: Can you do the job?

The employer wants to know whether you have the necessary talent, knowledge and skills for the organisation over both the short and long term.

Although this is one of the easier questions asked during an interview, many people struggle to answer it.  Looking at the requirements stated in the job advertisement will help you to identify the strengths the organisation is looking for in an employee.

Sample Answers:

  • My greatest strength is that I know how to lead people and guide them towards a defined objective (I am an effective leader).
  • I welcome challenge! I have the ability to understand problems, and I am willing to work at finding solutions to those problems (I am self-confident/motivated).
  • I work hard to achieve positive results and I don’t give up easily (I am hard-working/persistent).
  • I value honesty, and I am determined to achieve my goals well within the given timeframe (I am honest/goal-oriented).
  • I am a good listener, and people can come to me with their problems (I have good listening skills).
  • I am easily able to adapt to a new environment or a new situation (I am adaptable).
  • I function well under pressure, I exercise patience, and I exude optimism (I work well under pressure, I am patient and I am optimistic).
  • My greatest strength is my willingness to give my very best and to go out of my way to achieve a positive outcome (I am results-oriented).

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

Motivation is high on the list of desirable characteristics and must match the job specifications.  An employer wants to know what motivates you, what you believe motivates others, and what type of work environment you find motivating.  Not only your spoken answers, but also your non-verbal communication, are critical to the employer.  Demonstrate enthusiasm through your voice and body language (be confident, make eye contact, lean forward slightly, and 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” in your career?
  • From your observations of co-workers, past or present, what has motivated their best performance?

Are you fit for this position?

Keep 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?

Poor cultural fit is the number-one reason for a new employee’s failure.  It is therefore important to research the company ahead of time – talk to current employees and find out as much as you can about the company.  The employer will also want to know more about you in order to determine whether you will be a “BRAVE” fit for the organisational culture (this relates to your past work-related Behaviour, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and Environments). This is one area where you should never “play games” – do not try to be someone you are not.

See the interview as an exercise and an opportunity to convince the interviewer of your ability to solve any problem within the company.  Highlight your strengths in the areas most important to the company, talk about how you would be motivated by the challenges of the job, and describe how you would be a BRAVE fit for the organisation’s culture.


  1. https://humanresources.about.com
  2. https://www.primegenesis.com
  3. https://jobsearch.about.com
  4. https://www.forbes.com
Uploaded: 08 March 2020
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