When you’re interviewing for a new job, there is in my view one type of question you should parry. That question is anything to do with being in the role you’re interviewing for.

The question is sometimes phrased along the lines of:

‘Can you describe what your typical day might be if you took this job?’ or

‘What would your priorities be coming into this role?’

You might be tempted to blurt out ‘how the heck do I know? I don’t work here, I don’t know the company, the people, the products, services, challenges, objectives or anything else well enough to answer that. I need to assess the situation first before I decide anything. Alternatively, I can share with you some vacuous generalities if you like…’ Assuming you want to work here, I don’t recommend quite such a confrontational approach to what is an unfair question.

Rather than attempting to answer the 64-thousand-dollar question, it’s much better to parry it with ‘It depends‘ and illustrate the approach you would take to learning the role so that you’d be best placed to answer the question with the knowledge, experience and authority of having lived it for a couple of weeks. After all, that’s what you did in previous roles and look how well they turned out, right?

 

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