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Interviewing is a Two Way Street

Interviewer: “Why do you want to work with this company?”

Interviewee: (thinks)“I don’t know whether I do yet!”

This interview question ranks in my top ten most hated clichéd interview questions.

The reason why this question is so poor is not only that it is a question that is used with boring regularity by employers, but because it makes a statement that is arrogant and demonstrates a lack of understanding that good candidates have a choice of employers, and the person being interviewed has probably not decided yet that they want to work for the company they are interviewing at. In a sense the questioner has asked them to entertain a lie; a pretense, where they articulate a phoney interest because they read in a book that this is the way to answer this question. They may be excellent for the company, and the company may be excellent for them, but they simply may not know it yet.

The likelihood is that the candidate will answer the question in the best way possible and tell the interviewer what they think they want to hear, but what they have heard is that the interviewer sees themself and the company as more important than the interviewee. It is not a good impression to project especially if the company is considered to be forward thinking company.

Forward thinking companies are increasingly recognising that if they wish to compete for the very best candidates they need to take a more humble approach to how they interview. They need to recognise that while they might want to have a choice of applicants, the very best candidates may well have a choice of employers. In other words, the employment market for the best employees is a “two way street”.

A more enlightened approach is to establish how aligned the companies requirements are to those of the candidate. Therefore a better question would be this:

“From what you know of our company, and what you have been told about the role, how well would you say it matches to your requirements and why?”

This gives the candidate an opportunity to articulate what they know and to demonstrate their suitability.

“The two way street” is something that interviewers need to be constantly cognisant of. The question forward thinking interviewers should be asking is “why would this candidate want to work for me, and have I demonstrated that to them properly?”

Article author: Nigel Job, CEO

For more advice and support on your job search journey follow @theinterviewspecialist on Instagram or Top Tips for Job Seekers on Facebook and Linkedin

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