Job Interview Question: How Can We Help You Succeed?

Staff retention is a major concern for managers and human resources professionals. The process of interviewing candidates for an open position and onboarding new staff members is a long and costly one. Institutional knowledge is a valuable commodity that employers want to retain.

Interview questions aiming to tease out responses about candidate’s management preferences are becoming increasingly favored by recruiting teams; for example: “What can a manager do to help you be successful in your job?”

This may sound like a hard question to answer, especially for junior level staff, because it sounds like a management question. But really this question is about how to engage and retain the candidate they select for the position.

Thinking this question through is great interview preparation, and it’s also a helpful professional exercise.

Reflect on Fit  

Achieving fit means that you feel engrossed, challenged and confident in the culture, and as a result you are successful there. Think about the job(s) you’ve held that has been a good fit for you. What factors contributed to your overall sense of success? Was it the kind of work you were doing? Was it the vibe of the place? Was it the people around you? Identify what qualities yield fit for you.

If you don’t feel like you’ve achieved this yet in your professional life, maybe you’ve found a great sense of fit in a class you’ve taken or a club with which you’ve been involved. It’s fine to use these examples to discuss fit as well. The important thing here is that you know what you are looking for when it comes to cultural fit and you can discuss an instance where you found it. Finding job fit requires a delicate balance of various factors, and it’s important to know how you got there so that you can recreate it in your future endeavors.   

Reflect on Leadership

Fit doesn’t happen accidentally. Good leaders create healthy cultures that maximize employees’ talents and make them feel a sense of security, community and belonging.  

Think about who helped steer the culture in which you found fit. Analyze how that leader impacted the culture and why you felt comfortable there. Think about that manager’s style. How did he or she facilitate a culture of growth and productivity for you? How did he or she keep you excited about your work and about your team?

Use examples that demonstrate how the manager’s leadership efforts impacted the environment and helped you to thrive. Discuss specific projects that were well-received and that you and your former manager considered victories.

Talking about this gives the interview team a sense of what you need professionally. It gives them the chance to see what you value at work and what constitutes harmony and, ultimately, success for you in your day-to-day work.

Being a good self-advocate and articulating a reflective level of self-awareness is always impressive in an interview. Questions like this one aim to get you thinking in that direction, which is great preparation for a job seeker.