You've got your sights set on your dream job, but competition for positions is fierce.
Some of these will be explicit questions for which you'll need to prepare answers. Other questions the recruiter may not ask you directly, but will ask nonetheless as part of her due diligence review of your background and your fit for the company and the role that you're applying for.
They're the sort of questions she'll ask about you as she scans your resume, examines your LinkedIn profile, and reviews other parts of your application like letters of recommendation and college transcripts.
From my experience recruiting and hiring over the years, here are some of the questions you'll likely be asked:
1. What skills will enable you to have impact from Day One?
The first thing recruiters will look for is whether you've got the specific skills and experience their company needs now. Skills that will enable you to have impact from practically the first day on the job.
I've seen candidates who have applied for roles that they clearly were not qualified for. This is a waste of the recruiter's time and yours. Don't even try.
If you do have the right skills for the job, then make sure you put them front and center on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and weave them into the story you tell about yourself. And be sure your message is consistent across all of these "touch points."
2. Are you a proactive problem-solver?
Maybe the job you're applying for doesn't require solving complex mathematical equations or crunching numbers on a spreadsheet. But when faced with a problem, can you ask the kind of questions that will help you to accurately diagnose the root cause? Can you break the problem down into smaller pieces? And, most importantly, can you develop solutions?
3. Will you hustle to get the job done?
Some call it being "proactive", or being a "self-starter." I like to call it "hustling." Hustling means you don't just wait for instructions and orders from your manager to get things done. Companies value employees who take the initiative to get things done now, not later. People who don't let a "no" or "maybe" or "maybe later" serve as an excuse for not moving a project forward.
4. Have you done your homework on our company?
Have you done your due diligence of the company you're applying to? Companies today leave very large digital footprints through their websites and social media channels. So unless it's a very small firm or one that maintains a low profile, there's no excuse for not having enough information about the company you're applying to.
If you can't demonstrate enough commitment to learn about the company you're applying to, it's hard for a recruiter to believe you'll have the commitment needed to do the job.
5. Why do you want to work at our company?
This is one question that I've seen many candidates stumble upon. You'll need to articulate a response that demonstrates why you are genuinely attracted to the company, why you believe in their mission, and how you your experience and skills can add value.
6. Are you willing to learn new things?
One of the most valuable skills you bring to any company -- and the one truly renewable skill that will ensure you're refreshing your own skill-set and staying marketable -- is the ability to learn new things.
7. Will other people enjoy working with you?
Many companies use language like "team player" to describe what they are really looking for: Are you someone that your colleagues will enjoy working with? No, the recruiter won't ask you this question in so many words. But she will definitely want to know.
8. Do you have integrity?
This is a hard one to assess from just a series of interviews and an application, but it's what every recruiter will want to know about you. And ask they will (if only indirectly): Are you a person who means what you say, and does what you promise? Can you be trusted?