One of the most stressful parts of job hunting is sitting through the inevitable job interview. You can look polished and full of confidence, but the minute the interview questions start, you feel your blood pressure rise and your palms begin to sweat. If you develop an understanding of why interviewers ask their questions, you are much likelier to sail through the interrogation process. Consider the following five facts, shared by executive recruiter Beth Peelle, the next time you land an employment interview.


When a prospective employer asks you questions that begin with the phrase “If you had,” they are assessing your planning skills. No, they don’t really want to know about your dream vacation or what you would do with a million dollars. They are trying to get an idea of whether you are impulsive or a detailed planner. Impulsive people can cause problems for an organization. The better you can highlight your ability to plan carefully, the better your chances are of securing a second interview.


When an employer asks you about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, they want a better understanding of how well you know yourself. They are not interviewing you because they want to be your best buddy or nominate you for the saint of the year. They want to see if you are self-absorbed and clueless as to your problem areas or whether you have the ability to accept criticism and take it to heart.

Goal Setting

If you are asked where you see yourself in 5-10 years, your interviewer is trying to understand your ability to set goals. They want to know if you are happy to plod along in life or if you have the drive and determination to set attainable goals for yourself. If you can articulate how you plan to achieve your goals, you will showcase not only your planning skills but your inner drive and determination too.


When you are asked about the worst job you ever had, a prospective employer wants to know how agreeable you are as an employee. Are you a troublemaker who will cause disturbances within their workforce? Are you the type of employee who is never happy and always needs something to grumble about? If you can discuss your worst job while explaining the valuable lessons you learned from that job, your chances of getting hired significantly increase.


If an interviewer asks you why you want to work for their company, they are testing your research skills. Did you send resumes to dozens of companies and accepted any interview requests that came your way? Do you honestly know anything about their company or are you willing to take just about any job that is offered to you? The better you can explain your desire to work for their company, the better you will showcase your research skills.

Performing well in an interview is crucial if you want to land a job. Without excellent interview skills, your chances of being hired significantly diminish. Will you think about these job-hunting tips the next time you are asked to come in for a job interview?

About Beth Peelle:Collaborative and passionate, Beth Peelleis an Executive Recruiter with over 25 years of professional experience. As the founder and president of her own agency, Peelle and Associates, she blends her talent acquisition and human resources skills to create win-win situations for thriving businesses and happy employees.