According to Wikipedia, an interview is a conversation between two or more people where questions are asked by the interviewer to elicit facts or statements from the interviewee. Questions are integral to the interview process, and even though many interview questions are pretty standard, many people are taken unaware by the questions posed to them. One common question posed by a recruiter or human resources professional may ask you is “What’s important to you?”
An Important Interview Question
It’s imperative that you can not only answer the question, but define your answer. For example, “growth” might be important to you. But what does that mean? It may mean having a clear succession plan. It may mean continuing your education, or obtaining various professional certifications. Whatever “growth” means to you, you need to be able to elaborate to the interviewer.
How Not to Answer
While what’s important is different depending on the person, there are a few answers to stay away from:
While any of them might in fact be what is important to you, you shouldn’t mention them as the primary reason. These answers give the wrong impression. If I’m interviewing someone and he says “Well Larry, I really like the idea of working fewer hours,” I’m no longer impressed. What he effectively said is, “I want to work less. I am a clock watcher. I don’t want to work.” No, that’s not what he meant. He just meant it would be nice to not have to work 80 hours a week like he is at his current job. But it just doesn’t sound good. You need to come across as someone who is interested in doing the work, not just the payout.
Self Assess Before The Interview
The best answer you can give for this question is one that’s career related. Focus on things like career opportunities, advancement, finding a conducive environment for yourself, etc. If someone answers that question with “I’m looking forward to being challenged professionally” and they sound earnest about it, now I’m interested in this guy. He sounds like someone who wants to work. Regardless of what specific answer you give, it’s about knowing what’s important for you and being able to define that for the interviewer. so before you even leave your house for the interview, do a little assessment. Figure out how you will answer this question before you even leave the house. Run your answer through your head a few times, make sure it sounds right. While this may not be the most critical question you’ll answer in the interview, it’s still pretty important. Larry Sracic is a recruiter for one of the oldest executive search firms in Pittsburgh, W.T. Glover & Associates. If you’re looking for a new career in Pittsburgh, contact us now, and see how we can help you find it!