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Illustrations of questions per the 6 categories

5 Categories of Questions

The 5 categories of questions that interviews probe are listed below.

1.  Your background, skills, and experience = Can you do the job?

Questions in this category or area are aimed at one thing:  Can you do the job?  Interviewers probe your experience, skills, certifications, background, to find out if you have:
    - Hands-on experience in each of the key performance areas?
    - Managed the key performance areas (if the job is managerial in nature)
    - Managed subordinates, teams, or colleagues at designated experience levels, educational levels, salary levels
    - how handle employees who can’t perform, or misfit

This question also gets at salary level.  Experience tells experienced and “compensation-knowledgeable” recruiters what your level of experience pays in the marketplace.  This is a concept that often surprises job seekers; companies employ teams of “compensation experts” whose role it is to constantly survey their industry to ascertain what skills and experience pay in the marketplace and in various geographic areas of the marketplace.

2.  Your goals and objectives
Questions in this category or area gauge if your goals are appropriate for the job, the program (in the federal contracting arena), the department, the company, the corporate culture.

This area of questioning probes motivations for wanting the job.  Are you under-motivated for a “cracker-jack” company culture; or are you aims too high or aggressive for a more laid-back organization.

If you’re not in sync you will make folks in the company uncomfortable initially, irritated later.  And, you’ll feel like a fish out of water?

How much do you want the job?
Hint: There is only one answer to the question: “Are you open to relocation?”

3.  Your education and training
Questions in this area seek to determine if you have the right amount of education and training,

This area of questioning probes goals/motivation:  Are you under-educated or are you over-educated?

or if you are amenable to getting the right amount.

Hint: There is only one answer to the question: “Are you open to going back to school?”

4.  Your weaknesses and potential problems = Potential land mines!
Questions in this area uncover “landmines” which the company would prefer to uncover before they step on one.

In the words of a employment manager colleague of mine, “I don’t need to hire another problem; I’ve already got enough problem walking around here.”

5.  Sensitive issues or areas
Questions in this area

Answer the following two questions for each category:

    (1)  What do you think the interviewer is looking for when probing this category?

    (2)  What would your best strategy be to make the most of the opportunity in answering the question?
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