In the pantheon of job interview questions- the question “If you were hiring for this position- what qualities would you look for?” is easily one of the most traditional and commonly encountered. When a hiring manager asks you this- it might be tempting to read your resume verbatim. But smart jobseekers know this question is not designed to get you to recite your entire job history. Rather- it’s an attempt to gauge a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the duties and responsibilities the position in question calls for. This is a common question posed by businesses looking to make the best hire- and answering it perfectly can get you far in the interviewing process. This can certainly seem like a high-stakes question- but there are a few ways to make it easier to handle. With a little elbow grease- this can become a very easy question to prepare for.
How to Answer the “If You Were Hiring for This Position- What Qualities Would You Look for?” Interview Question
Answer in a Subjective Fashion: The natural inclination in answering interview questions like these is to go into instant salesman mode- talking up your every professional skill- real or imagined- in hopes of making yourself sound like the best candidate. It gets pretty old pretty fast. At best it becomes a chance for you to highlight some of the finer points of your application. But more often it comes off as humble-bragging and tells the hiring manager you don’t have much to offer beyond what was on your resume. The better road to take is being honest and subjective. What would you really look for in a candidate? Would you want someone with many years of experience- or fresh out of college and eager to learn? Sometimes simply showing you can think on your feet and go beyond a bottled answer is enough to get the hiring manager to give you a second interview.
Highlight Your Ability to Manage: Just because you may be hired at an entry or mid-level position doesn’t mean you can’t move up to management- so show off your ability to think like a manager! Broaden your thoughts beyond what would benefit you as a candidate and think about some of the things the entire team and even the business could gain from. What skills would a person have to possess to be a universal benefit to the company? Focusing beyond just one area in your answer shows you are a team player- and that’s a big part of getting on the path to management. Show the hiring managers that you’re the ideal candidate by thinking like they do when asked- “If you were hiring for this position- what qualities would you look for?”
Highlight Your Knowledge of the Position: Anyone can half-heartedly answer this interview question- but nailing it requires specific answers that show you truly understand the position. Emphasize your knowledge by providing detailed- job-specific answers. If you’re interviewing for an analyst position- go beyond simply suggesting you would look for a person with field experience; specify the types of software you would expect the candidate to know. Hiring managers are impressed by candidates who have taken the time to truly get to know what the position is.
Sample “If You Were Hiring for This Position- What Qualities Would You Look for?” Answers
1. When adding an employee to any company- it’s important the new person benefit not only a specific team but the company as a whole. My ideal candidate would be a flexible team player ready to pitch in and help out when the bottom line is at stake. I would want someone who isn’t afraid to work in a group and share credit for work if it benefits the company as a whole and someone who is constantly looking for tools to help himself and his coworkers. Overall I think I would want someone who has a diverse set of practical and soft skills to strengthen our staff in its entirety.
2. One of the most important skills for any receptionist to have is a strong data entry ability. I would look for individuals who are versed in the most relevant software- such as Microsoft Word- and who can provide real-life examples of when they’ve used those skills to expedite a situation. For instance- I might want to know about a time when they were able to quickly turn around a document for an executive on a deadline. Overall- candidates who can show both that they have software skills and how they have applied them would be highly qualified.
There are few job interview questions that come up as reliably as this one. While it may seem like a trick question designed to trip you up- it’s really the attempt of the hiring manager to gauge your awareness of the job’s requirements. Don’t disappoint; use these pointers and you’ll blow the hiring manager away.