How To Ace The World's Toughest Interview Question

job interview toughest question 2012I've been writing about job interviews, from both sides of the desk, for twenty-five years and without a doubt, the toughest interview question going the rounds in 2012 is, "Your job exists to help your employer achieve and maintain profitability. How do your efforts support these goals?"

It's a question that can only be answered when you really understand the guts of the job you are pursuing.

The question actually has two parts. The first part your job exists to help your employer achieve and maintain profitability shouldn't be too difficult, because it is a statement of fact: all jobs exist to support profitability.

You need to think through whether your job is chiefly concerned with generating revenue, protecting assets, improving productivity in some way, or is perhaps a combination of these imperatives. Once you have determined this you have also outlined the correct framework for your answer.

The second part, how do your efforts support these goals, is much tougher to deal with. To answer effectively you need to grasp that the true guts of every job is essentially the same: to identify, prevent and solve problems that occur within your area of expertise, and in the process help your employer achieve and maintain profitability.

You answer by identifying for the interviewer, the ways that you make your small but important contributions towards achieving and maintaining profitability. You do this with these specific strategies:

  • You anticipate the ways that problems can arise in your areas of responsibility and explain how you execute your work with conscious concern for preventing many of the problems typical to your job from arising in the first place. You have an example or two ready.

  • You tackle and solve problems that do occur, because they cannot be prevented, in a timely, effective and professional manner. You'll have an example ready to illustrate how you do this.

  • Do so in a way that is courteous to customers, vendors, and considerate to those co-workers who in their jobs must deal with the results of your work. Again, you'll have recalled an example or two.

If you catch a break next time out and you aren't asked such a tough question, you can make major points with any hiring manager or recruiter by using this understanding to color the way you answer other questions.

Next: Three Questions To Ask Yourself About A New Job Offer

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

Stories from Come Recommended

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

That's supposed to be hard question??

January 19 2012 at 1:44 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Master Chief

...Your profitability can only be maintained if you have someone there to perform that job. The difference is between having a person on the job, and not having one. Your call...
I swear, BS questions like these probably exist in the hiring process to a position which involves such arduous tasks such as screwing a cap on a line of bottles or flipping a burger.. Seems like the best job today is simply interviewing applicants and making their job-search a living hell for your personal entertainment.

January 19 2012 at 1:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
welcome Annie

That is pure bull and even before you walk in the door thay have decided to hire you or make the famous statement ,we will call you. Foks that mean your application is in the trash or a safe to file to get money from the gov't end of the year.Interview questions are for the person that has to make up questions to keep their job and waste company time seeing your reaction as the question is asked.

January 19 2012 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite answer, provided to me by the interviewer, was, "of course you hire the one with the biggest boobs!"

January 19 2012 at 12:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The question is ridiculous and just ask quite blank their skills and go with the past experience
References to me are guine and speak for themselves.
I am an older woman so what difference would it make for me.
these made up questions each year are a waste of time and really a job for the person whom is doing it.
So good for them

January 19 2012 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With oral interview questions there is often no wrong or right answer. The object is to determine the applicants reasoning and value process and if he/she can think on their feet. If the question is phrased properly regardless of the answer given, the interviewer will throw a curve ball as a follow up response. This in turn subjects the applicant to the kind of stress he/she might have to deal with on the job. It also helps ferret out those tell them what they want to hear responses by applicants. The interview should only be one part of the overall hiring process depending on what type of position the organization is recruiting for.

January 18 2012 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Job getting is kinda like catching fish. If the fish are there and feeding, most anyone can make a catch. If there are no fish in the stream, then no amount of high priced gear or smooth talking will get you a fish. Not really profound, just the facts. However there a few smoothies out there that make a nice bundle hustling the less intellegent. Yes Agnes, there are some of those .

January 18 2012 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry Berglof

Anyone who hires someone based on an interview is simply getting the best bulls**tter!

January 18 2012 at 10:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Seems like BS, and from a guy who never held an actual job.

January 18 2012 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have conducted hundreds of interviews over a 50 year career. My advice: if you ever face a loaded question like that, try to answer with specifics of successful previous experience -- right down to the $$ generated, if possible. If not, chances are, you'll respond with generalities and cliches and sound just like everyone else. But, then again, that question is one big cliche in itself...and I'd never hire the idiot who asked it!

January 18 2012 at 4:43 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web