Classic Interview Questions and Answers

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

Alternative and related questions:

Do you feel your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?
Do you feel that you have the skills and experience necessary to undertake this job?

The meaning behind the question:

Answering this question is going to be one of your interviewer’s primary goals. Many of the other questions will lead them towards an answer but sometimes the interviewer will just come out and ask you directly to tell them how you match the job description/person specification.

As well as helping them to gauge how well your skills and experience match what they’re looking for, this question will normally also reveal a lot about how you perceive the job in question.

Your answer:

You’re not going to get away with answering, “Very well!” to this question. What the interviewer expects you to do – and what you very much need to do – is to explain precisely how your skills and experience match the job description/person specification.

Job descriptions and person specifications are often very lengthy and comprehensive. You don’t want to go into too much detail when answering this question – not least because it could get rather boring! The best strategy to adopt is for you to select a handful of issues and briefly talk about each in turn – expressing each in terms of your prospective employer’s needs.

Naturally, you will need to give this some thought and to have determined in advance what skills and experience the interviewer is going to be most interested in.

Example:

I believe my skills and experience are a very good match for the person specification. You’re looking for someone with a significant amount of high-level experience in the retail clothing sector. I now have 25 years’ experience within this sector, most recently as General Manager of a flagship central London store. You need someone with considerable skill in financial management, able to build turnover – and, most importantly, to build turnover profitably. In my current role my branch now has an annual turnover of £5 million – 40% higher than when I took over the role three years ago. Our profit margin has also grown – from 10% to 15%, meaning that profits have more than doubled in just the last three years. The role demands an individual who is adept at managing and leading a large team; I’m currently responsible for 65 retail staff. The role also requires an individual who is able to build profitable long-term relationships with key, high-value clients. Successfully catering to the needs of VIP clients is essential to my current role and certainly an aspect that I very much enjoy. Overall, I feel I’m a very good match for the job but would of course be delighted to discuss any particular points in greater detail if you wish.

This answer has obviously been written from the point of view of someone seeking a very senior role. However, the basic principles can easily be adapted to your own precise circumstances. Remember that my examples are purely intended to help illustrate the points made; it’s essential for you to think for yourself and to create your own answers.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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More classic interview questions and answers

 

How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organisation?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organisations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?

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