Ask Yourself This Question: “What Do You Want to Accomplish In Your Career?”

Anticipating questions likely to be asked in job interviews is essential in every job search.  Yet, I’ve talked with several hiring managers who say they are surprised by how many interviewees struggle to answer basic questions. 

Job seekers must do their homework about prospective employers and look for resources that provide insights into how bosses think and interview. 

   Debra L. Lee  

You can get a weekly dose of insight from The Corner Office, a New York Times column featuring CEOs.  Almost every column includes tips about meaty questions bosses ask in order to determine who to hire.  Today’s column features Debra L. Lee, chairwoman and chief executive of BET Networks.  Here are two key questions and helpful interview insights from Ms. Lee:

Q. How do you hire?

A. I like to get to know people as a person when I’m interviewing them. The most important thing for me, in addition to their experience, is just how flexible they seem in their approach to life. That indicates to me whether they’d be willing to take on additional responsibilities, whether they can grow with the company. It’s always been a company where you had to do your basic job, but you also had to be open to doing different kinds of things.

I’m always looking for people who have the ability to grow — overachievers who have always multitasked their whole life, who’ve done more than just go to school, who’ve been active in organizations and been open to new experiences. I also look for people who are compassionate and good people-people.

Q. What other questions do you ask?

A. One would be what do they know about BET and the company and how do they feel about it. The other one is: What do you want to accomplish in your career? I think that tells you about whether folks have thought through the long term or whether they’re just looking for a job.

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