It’s one thing to say you can do something and another thing entirely actually to showcase your professional capability. When it comes to your particular skillset, a future employer will feel much more reassured if they can hear evidence that shows you’ve done something before.
So, they’ll probably ask the following questions in your interview to prompt you to showcase your professional capability. Don’t underestimate the simplicity of these questions. When you hear the following enquiries in an interview, your interviewer wants you to sell yourself. They are looking for facts but in the form of a compelling story.
Questions that help you showcase your professional capability
Can you give an example of when you had to take direction in a past role?
The interviewer wants to know whether you are open-minded and a team player. Can you follow directions, or are you a high-maintenance employee? Hopefully, you’re a low-maintenance professional who’s motivated to ask clarifying questions about a project before beginning! Likewise, you’re also someone who can get on with the job at hand and asks for direction only as necessary.
This particular question may take the forms: “How do you take instruction?” and “How do you accept criticism?” Your answer should cover both points: “I take direction well and recognise that it can come in two varieties, depending on the circumstances. First, there’s carefully explained direction when my boss has time to lay things out for me in detail. Then, there are times when the direction might be brief and to the point due to deadlines and other pressures. While I’ve seen some people get upset with the latter, I’ve always understood there are probably other considerations I’m not aware of. As such, I take the direction and get on with the job without taking offence.”
What’s the most difficult situation you faced at work and how did you handle it?
The question looks for information on two fronts: How do you define difficult? And, how do you handle difficult situations? It would help if you had a story where the situation was challenging, but you could show yourself in a good light. Avoid talking about problems that have to do with co-workers.
You can talk about the difficult decision to fire someone but emphasise that you acted quickly and professionally once you had examined the problem and reached a conclusion. Note that you had the company’s best interests at heart.
“What are some of the things that bother you?”
Alternatively, “What are your pet hates?” or “Tell me about the last time you felt anger on the job.” These questions are so similar that you could treat them as one. You must have remained calm. We’ve all seen a co-worker lose their cool on occasion, which is not a pretty sight and one that every sensible employer wants to avoid. This question comes up more and more often the higher up the corporate ladder you climb and the more frequent you contact clients and the general public. To answer it, find something that angers conscientious workers.
“Do you prefer working with others or alone?”
This question determines whether you’re a team player. Before answering, be sure you know whether the job requires you to work alone! If you work in a team but don’t mind working alone, you could answer: “I’m quite happy working alone when necessary. I don’t need constant reassurance. But I prefer to work in a group; we achieve more when we pull together.”
If you haven’t already, read the six most common interview questions.