Why should we give this job to you rather than another who is equally qualified? Why do you want to work for our company? What do you think determines a person's progress within a company?
Would these questions rattle you if they were thrown at you in a job interview? If so, you need to think beyond preparing your 30-second — or two-minute — summary about your skills and interests.
Being able to concisely and clearly cite your credentials is exceedingly important in formal job interviews.
However, many job interviewers would press you for far more than your qualifications.
What are your feelings about working overtime? What interests you about our products (or services)? How would you describe your ideal job?
It's pretty easy to see that your answers to these could open the trap door beneath your feet.
Skilled interviewers will ask such open-ended questions to get at what makes you tick, to probe your personality, your work ethic and other hard-to-quantify traits.
What two accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Do you feel you did the best work at school that you were capable of doing?
Hirers look for workers who seem to be both self-starters and good team players. They want to see a strong work ethic. They want adaptable, flexible folk. They want to see confidence, not boasting.
And they want a good answer to the key question:
What can you do for us?
The author is a workplace and careers columnist