What Criteria Are You Using to Choose Companies to Interview With?

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It doesn’t seem fair — you’re on a job interview- all prepared to answer questions about your work experience- your personality or your skills. So why are they asking you “What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?” You’re already nervous enough! When it comes to trick interview questions this may seem like the leader of the pack- engineered expressly to make you sweat. But this is actually one of the most common questions used by companies looking to find the most suitable candidates for open positions. It can be tricky- but nailing it can help you impress a hiring manager with your sense of organization- purpose and professionalism.

Luckily it’s easier to excel at this question than you might think. Use these tips to show the hiring manager you’ve done more than simply answer a classified ad. You’ll come out looking organized- well-rounded and like the best person for the job.

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How to Answer the “What Criteria Are You Using to Choose Companies to Interview With?” Interview Question

Know Your Top 3 Companies: While job seekers naturally spread their resumes far and wide- it’s typical to have a handful of dream jobs at a handful of dream companies. Now’s the time to recollect your top three. Think of those ideal companies and consider the shared characteristics each of them has. Perhaps they’re all supersized corporations? Maybe they each have a well-established mentoring program- or perhaps they all share a very active community-serving profile. Focusing on the main things your top dream companies have in common allows you to quickly come up with an ideal company profile. It can serve hiring managers by giving them a solid idea of everything from your personal principles and values to your work habits and time management skills. Later on- use this list to help you apply for the most suitable positions. As a bonus- answering “What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?” like this lets companies know that you have a strategy about applying for jobs and aren’t simply blanketing your resume with plans to take the first job offer.

Focus On the Positive: It’s surprisingly easy to answer interview questions like this one by focusing on what you didn’t like at a company. But that’s not the point of the question- and it doesn’t make you look like much of a team player. Instead- turn the things you most disliked at your least favorite jobs into positive statements. For example- if you didn’t like that people talked loudly at their desks at a job- try mentioning that you like a very conservative- professional environment. If you were bothered by the lack of upward mobility at a job- mention how much you value businesses that have clear opportunities for advancement. Answering this way keeps you from sounding like you have sour grapes with past employers and can establish you as the type of glass-half-full person that many companies value.

Find Similarities Between Their Company and Your Ideal Firm: It’s always best to be honest during a job interview- but there’s no harm in also being strategic. Companies like to hear what you appreciate about their business approach. Why not use this interview question as an opportunity to show off to hiring managers what you know about their company and impress them at the same time? Take a moment to think about what motivated you to apply to this company. Use that bullet point to answer the question and fold in this target company.

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Sample “What Criteria Are You Using to Choose Companies to Interview With?” Interview Answers

1. It’s very important to me that my next job be a place where I can learn- grow and thrive professionally. For that reason I’ve taken inventory of my own work values and have spent time researching companies that align with those closely. For me- this means I’ve been looking for large firms with strong reputations for community service and flawless ethics. I want to interview with firms that are financially healthy and offer more than just good pay- but a solid- lasting career.

2. I don’t believe in negative experiences- only opportunities for growth. Through trial and error at different positions- I’ve gained a clearer picture of what type of environments best suit my professional development and I’m focusing my job search on firms that align with those environments. At this point in my career- that means firms that have a strong corporate vision- a conservative office environment and opportunities for increased responsibility and advancement. What I like about this company is how neatly you all align with those values. For instance- I’ve noted how quiet and respectful team members here are of each other’s work space. That’s really something I’m looking for in an office and a team.

What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with? is one of the hardest interview questions to prepare for. But with a blueprint and an idea of how you can organize your experiences into a good answer- you’ll be ready to knock this question out the park.

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