According to an article in Forbes, these are the three things that hiring managers really want to know:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Will you be a good fit for the company?

Geoff Bagg, CEO of Bagg Group, says these questions “address the three essential considerations when hiring: skills, drive, and fit.” But they’re not good questions to actually ask because “they don’t require the candidate to provide a genuine, thought-out response.”

After all, what can you say beyond “Yes” or “I think/hope so”? So, instead of “Can we work with you?” or “Can you do the job?” they might ask you to “describe the way you’ve dealt with conflict,” which will answer the question in a more roundabout way, and give them a better sense of your character and ability to communicate.

How can you prepare for these kinds of questions? By focusing on ways to highlight your skills and interests, and the way you’d fit with the company.

Let’s look at these three questions seperately.

Can you do the job? 

Another way this might be phrased, says Bagg, is, “Can you tell me why you know you can do the job?”

To prep for this question or its variation, “the candidate should be ready to show their expertise with examples of how they applied the required skills with impressive results.”

He outlines the S-I-R strategy (also known as S-A-R, for Situation, Action-taken, Result):

Situation: In a sentence or two, describe the situation. Initiative: Briefly show how you dealt with the situation. Results: Sum up the benefits of your initiative.”

This approach will also help to make a list of all your applicable skills and, where possible, how you’ve used benefited from using them. Memorize this list, and have a few stories ready to illustrate your skills and experience.

Will you love the job? 

“Hiring managers often phrase this question in different ways: ‘What would make you love this job?’ or ‘What is it about this job that you would really enjoy?'”

This is where you need to be a keener.

“The candidate needs to do some prior research to understand, as best as possible, the culture of the company. The interviewee should relate to the qualities of the company. For example, if the company is an innovator, an out-of-the-box thinker could speak of the personal satisfaction that comes from being encouraged to brainstorm. If the company is known as an excellent corporate citizen, the candidate could mention his/her own interest in volunteerism,” Bagg says.

Apart from boosting your confidence going into interviews, doing your research shows that you care enough to put in the extra effort.

Will you be a good fit for the company?

Being prepared and doing your research into the company’s culture and mission statement can help show you’re a good fit, but that’s only the start.

“First impressions can be wrong. The young candidate with piercings and tattoos may not be a rebel but a loyal and supportive worker. The seemingly reserved candidate may be great with clients, but just not comfortable in the interview chair. It’s not easy to assess fit instantly,” Bagg says, adding that many hiring managers will ask the following to get to the bottom of this: “What’s a great day at work look like for you?”

The important thing for candidates to remember is to be honest.

“The candidate should consider the type of social environment in which she or he thrives. Do they like a casual atmosphere or are they more comfortable in a formal structure; are they team-oriented or prefer to work solo; do they relish an open-door policy or do they like to keep their door shut so they can work uninterrupted? In this instance, the candidates do themselves and the company a disservice if they strive to give the “right” answer as opposed to the honest answer,” Bagg says.

In other words, fit should be as important to you as it is to them. Ask yourself some questions, and know what it is you’re looking. Do you think this company can give it you?