What do you see as the requirements of this position?

No, that's not a trick question. The idea is to see what you understand about the skills and experience required, and it's a very good way of finding out who really understands the role.

It also highlights the very real dangers of trying to answer interview questions on autopilot. At least some job candidates won't have even thought of that issue, at all. The question really does separate the wheat from the chaff.

Your most reliable guide for the position's requirements are the essential criteria.

Obvious?

Nope, because you have to develop those criteria into meaningful skills and abilities in relation to the job.

So the question is also, Why are these skills important?

It's not a simple question.

Don't treat it like one.

Example

Say the job is an IT help desk at ground level, the fix everything sort. That's often not an easy job. You do need reliable skill levels to do it. It's one of the few jobs where just being an expert really isn't enough.

You're asked:

What do you see as the most important requirements of this position?

Obviously, the essentials, but you also need to be able to do all that and more, and apply those skills to the job. So your answer has to include a virtual encyclopedia, when it's an IT job.

You're also being asked about more than skills.

You're being asked if you understand the job.

Yes, you do, and your answer goes something like this:

  • Meeting response targets, and ensuring that any problems are dealt with effectively.
  • Maintaining quality and situation reporting requirements to assist systems management.
  • Identifying issues, system faults, and acting appropriately to maintain system functionality.
  • Advising staff and management effectively regarding IT issues.
  • Helping with basic computer operation problems, explaining and advising regarding daily situations.
  • Maintaining and repairing hardware.
  • Dealing with software issues including crashes and conflicts. Reporting issues promptly with analysis and data concerning any relevant matters.

These are just very basic points. This list could go on forever. If it happens to a computer, it's problem. The interviewer needs to know you understand what's involved, and the importance of the job, which is in fact crucial to the whole organization.

Modern corporations just don't function without IT. They fall to pieces. Which is why this question is so important to the employer.

It's also why the question What do you see as the requirements of this position? very often shows up when the position relates to a key role.

Whether it's IT, or some other important position, you can be sure this question is being asked for a good reason.

The question can show up at higher and lower levels, anywhere from entry level to executive level, when the employer is trying for good quality control.

Candidates who give good answers to this question are usually those who've put in a bit of thought, and those with solid experience, who understand the realities of the job.

Just one more piece of advice:

Never underestimate the importance of this question.