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Interpret the interviewer's intentions

Sometimes an interviewer will have an intention that is not always clear through the wording of their question.

This means that you need to think carefully about the reason why the interviewer is asking you the question. Even the simplest questions can have hidden motivations or meanings and it is up to you to be sensitive to these. Keep in mind that there is a purpose behind most, if not all, questions the interviewer asks you during a job interview.

This scenario looks at what an interviewer might intend with a question that seems very simple. 


Which answer do you think is the most effective?

Why did you apply for this position?

She seems invested in the direction of this company and genuinely interested in being a part of it. She has also done her research by reading our strategy report. It is likely that she will fit in well.

It is a good fit with my qualifications.

She does not really seem motivated to be a part of our company. This answer shows that she has little understanding of our business.

I really need this job. I have been out of work for a few months now.

Is that the only reason she applied for this role? She shows no motivation to work for this organisation and no knowledge of the company’s goals. She probably won’t be a good choice.

View Transcript

Migrant: I need to show that I am motivated to work for this company and that I will fit in well with the culture of the company.

Migrant: “I am really keen to join an organisation that is developing fast and has an exciting future. I see from your latest business strategy report that the company wants to expand into Asia. My experience working in Asia means that I can help the company achieve its goals. I also like working with people and this role has lots of opportunities for this.”

Employer: She seems invested in the direction of this company and genuinely interested in being a part of it. She has also done her research by reading our strategy report. It is likely that she will fit in well.

Migrant: I’m applying for this job because it is the only place that seems to hire people with my educational background.

Migrant: “It is a good fit with my qualifications.”

Employer: She does not really seem motivated to be a part of our company. This answer shows that she has little understanding of our business.

Migrant: I am desperate for this job!

Migrant: “I really need this job. I have been out of work for a few months now.”

Employer: Is that the only reason she applied for this role? She shows no motivation to work for this organisation and no knowledge of the company’s goals. She probably won’t be a good choice.

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