Understanding the psychology at play during job interviews will give you an advantage in landing your dream job.

Hiring Managers will try to get into your head to get answers to questions they will NEVER ask you, but they will also NOT hire you unless they get answers to those questions.

According to Peggy McKee of Career Confidential, these are 4 questions the interviewer is trying to find answers to.

Do you understand the job?


Can you do the job?


Will you do the job?


Do you pose a risk to the Hiring Manager’s continued employment?


Read question 4 as “if you are a bad hire, the hiring manager loses credibility and maybe his job too.”

Of course you won’t get these 4 questions in an interview, but you are more likely to get the 10 top interview questions below that help the hiring manager answer the 4 hidden questions.

To have a better chance of succeeding in an interview, learn to answer these 10 questions.

1) Why should I hire you?

This open ended question is your chance to really sell yourself. You are the product, the hiring manager is the buyer (and you are also the sales rep). Tie in your unique propositions to the requirements for the role. Don’t just say you are good, show with examples and concrete facts.

2) What salary do you think you deserve?

First, let’s address the psychology of salary negotiations. Never bring money up in an interview, until they make you an offer. People are usually fine with the idea of paying more for something they have already decided to buy.

Your task is to do your research and find the salary range for the role in your industry. You should ask for something slightly higher so you can negotiate.

3) Give an example of a time when you showed initiative?

Don’t wait till you get into an interview before thinking up examples to behavioural type questions. You should already have examples you have rehearsed. For taking initiative, simply give an example of when you showed initiative using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) principle.

4) Where do you expect to be in five years time?

The Hiring Manager is trying to decide if you plan to have a future in the company. Unless it is a temporary role, the company hopes they won’t be doing the hiring exercise for this role again anytime soon. Your response should be related to the role and how you see yourself progressing in the company and industry.  If you don’t have a 5 years Personal Development Plan, Click here to download my free 5 Year PDP template.

5) What other companies are you interviewing with?

This question can be tricky. While you are not expected to mention any company specifically, you shouldn’t also pretend that they are your only hope. A simple response will be that you are looking at opportunities in the industry that is a right fit for your skills and competencies. (Note: the follow up question might me ‘so what are your skills and competencies’. Be prepared to answer that. (See question 1)

6) What motivates you?

Money is your worst response here. Never say money (even if it is). Employers know (supported by research) that money alone is not enough motivation for you to work hard. Create a good motivation story that relates to the required skills for the job role. This could be work experiences, hobbies or even extracurricular activities.

7) How do you manage your time and prioritise tasks?

Give practical ways you have successfully achieved this. Employers want staff who can manage workload effectively and organised. Examples could be checklists, ‘to do’ lists, deadline calendars etc.

8) What is your biggest weakness?

I have interviewed people who claim they don’t have any weakness. Everyone does! And saying you have no weaknesses is a bad interview response. Also, don’t select a weakness that will negatively affect your chances of getting the job. Choose something that was once a weakness and you have successfully overcome and can show your improvement process.

9)  Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

If you accuse your previously employer or manager of anything, it will tell negatively on you. So don’t do it. Instead, you want to highlight an area of conflict and how it was resolved to foster good working relationships.

10) Why do you think you will be successful in this job?

Highlight your skills that matches the job requirements and also tell the employer you will develop a plan with the input of your line manager to create short term plans (30 days to 90 days) that will help guide you to success on the job.


Here’s an infographic from Vet Tech guide summarizing the 10 questions.



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