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.
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.
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.
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Author: James Innes