Three questions interviewers are asking in 2021 (and how to answer them)
The world of work is changing…
Twenty years ago, few of us could have dreamed of jobs such as social media manager, app designer or rideshare driver. The same will be true in the coming decades – with new roles emerging at an even more rapid pace.
We might not know the specific jobs that will be in demand in the future, but we do know that there will be an ever increasing focus on skills. And not just technical skills, recruiters also want to see how people’s transferable skills and soft skills can fit into their business.
As a jobseeker, this means adapting your interview style to convey your soft skills and leave a lasting impression.
In James Reed’s bestselling book, ‘Why You: 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again’ he covers some of these emerging questions. Here are just three that will become more commonplace in 2021 – and his advice on how to answer them.
When was the last time you changed your mind about something important?
Translation: Are you flexible enough (and humble enough) to change your views when you receive new information?
Because the world of work is constantly changing, being able to adapt well to new situations will be key to ‘The Future of Work’. It’s no longer a case of learning all the answers. Instead, we need to keep learning. And it’s this desire for continued growth that will really stand out to recruiters.
As Amazon boss Jeff Bezos put it: ‘People who are right a lot listen a lot, and they change their mind a lot. If you don’t change your mind frequently, you’re going to be wrong a lot’.
What the interviewer really wants to see when asking this question is someone with the curiosity to gather new information – even if it’s at odds with their previous point of view. The STAR technique is a great way to structure things here.
Prove that you’re not the type to cling stubbornly to outdated ideas and you’ll be on the right track.
Example answer: At my last company, video content was all the rage – and I was initially a big advocate. But when I delved deeper into the metrics, although lots of people were seeing our video content, sales hadn’t actually improved. We reassessed our marketing activity after that and spent less time and money to generate sales.
How would you manage your work if you weren’t allowed into the office?
Translation: The world can be unpredictable (see: 2020). Can you handle the unexpected?
It’s safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we work. It’s only logical that this change will be reflected in interviews.
Whilst working from home has been adopted by many companies out of necessity, how they’ll operate post-pandemic is still uncertain. So it’s likely that recruiters will want to scope out their options here.
In other words, if they do offer remote working as part of the role, or if we face a similar crisis, will you be adaptable and self-motivated enough to handle it?
Explain how you’d get your work done at a distance, being as specific as possible, and show how you’ve previously succeeded at working well remotely.
Aspects of remote work you might want to discuss include:
- How you’ve communicated well with key stakeholders remotely
- Tools you’ve used to collaborate
- Time management strategies
- Managing business expectations
- How you’ve measured success
Example answer: Working remotely was a big part of my previous role, so it’s something I’m very comfortable with. Using tools such as Trello and Slack has been great for team collaboration. I also find working from home helps with my productivity, allowing me to really focus and keep track of my core KPIs. There are definitely advantages to working in the office, especially for that ‘in the moment’ feedback. But when it comes to hitting deadlines and meeting targets, where I work doesn’t matter too much to me.
If you had to calculate the cost of not hiring you, what would that cost be and why?
Translation: Do you know your own worth? And are you able to put it across clearly, and concisely?
If you get asked this question, you can breathe a sigh of relief: the interview is probably almost over.
This means you’ve most likely covered the role in detail at this point, as well as your own skills and previous experience. What the interviewer is really looking for here is a closing statement.
What value will you bring the company, if they hire you? And can you express that value clearly and confidently?
Start by reiterating your strengths, and how they line up with the qualities the interviewer is looking for. Then use relevant examples to demonstrate what sets you apart from any other candidate.
Tread carefully here though – there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
It’s the ultimate high-risk, high-reward question. But, when answered well, it could be the perfect way to end the interview on a high.
Example answer: I know you’re looking to really scale up your community management on social media, which can have very strict moderation requirements and penalties for getting it wrong. Although I’ve never worked in the charity sector before, my recent experience as a social media manager for a large tech company taught me how to successfully build loyal communities while adhering to various regulations and guidelines. I believe my unique experience in managing large online communities, combined with my passion for the work you’re doing, are the unique strengths you’d miss out on by not hiring me.
Need more interview answers?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball to tell you which interview questions will come up on the big day. However, we can help you prepare for every eventuality and avoid any interview nightmares.
Buy James Reed’s latest book: Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again to find out how.
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