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2 Types of Job Interview Questioning

Updated: Aug 25

Naturally, we are most confident in the delivery response of things which we are most assured, yet when it comes to interviewing, we are not so sure what questions may be asked, nor how we should respond.



Job interview questioning is designed to best understand the (what) and the (how) of your actions and experiences. The (what) exemplifies the actions you took, what you did, in relation to performance achievements. The (how) exemplifies the behaviors behind your actions, your character—personality, and disposition as they relate to your accomplishments, skills, and proficiencies.

"The interviewer is not a mind reader, so unless you tell them, they will never know."-Jo Mayo

Now, interview questions are purposely open-ended to disclose actions/behaviors (what/how) behind a candidates’ performance, which may not be as transparent on a job application, cover letter or resume. Your primary goal is to communicate and demonstrate what they will gain by hiring you. This is actually why you have been selected for the interview process. Typically, there are two interview questioning types:


1. Getting to Know You


This type of questioning is geared towards better understanding how your skills and experiential knowledge align with the job role. When addressing getting to know you questions, position your strengths to align with each of your responses. Use the opportunity to allow the interviewer to learn more about the level of your achievements as they relate to the job role.


2. Behavior Situational Competency


Unlike getting to know you questions, this line of questioning is catered more toward assessing how you react under certain conditions/circumstances. Often referred to as selective targeted questions, this line of questioning is based upon the principle that past performance and behaviors are indicative of future performance and behavior under analogous or like conditions.


The intent of using both approaches is to assist the interviewer(s) in their efforts to hire the best-fit candidate. Of course, there is no way to determine specific questions that may be asked at an interview. However, practicing interview questions which are closely aligned with actual interview questions, allow you to best prepare and become more confident in the delivery of your responses.


As you prepare to demonstrate, convey, and provide evidence of your knowledge and competencies, take some time upfront to think about your most achieved accomplishments. What's your competitive advantage? What's your value add, or rather the value you will add to the role? Importantly, don't be presumptuous. Pay close attention to what the question asks, then answer the question making a direct connection between your strengths and how they will benefit the company.


Familiarize yourself with both types of questions so that you are adequately prepared. Begin to think about and compile comparable like scenarios. This will significantly increase your chances of being prepared to address (getting to know you) and (behavior-situational competency) questions. Create narratives that allow an interviewer to readily assess how your skills and experiences best align with the position.


Be prepared to demonstrate and convey your highest and best self. Go to the store and download your copy of "Position Yourself! How to Ace Job Interview Questions."


-Coach Jo

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