Get Top Marks on Each Interview Question

You have an interview scheduled.  You are comfortable with the big stuff.  You know what you will wear, and how to conduct yourself.  However, you aren’t confident that you will be able to nail every interview question.  Since you don’t know what the interviewer will ask you, it is important that you have a general strategy of how to handle interview questions.


Here are some rules for answering any interview question effectively:

1.  Make sure that you understand the question.  If you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to clarify.  Even if you have to ask the interviewer a second time to rephrase the question, it is better than answering the question wrong because you don’t understand it.

2.  Don’t talk on and on.  Be direct, and keep focused on the question.  Your answer should be between 20 seconds and 2 minutes long.  Make sure that you are actually answering the question.  Many people waste time and provide an answer without any actual substance.  If you make that mistake, your interview will be forgettable and you won’t stand out.

3.  Use examples.  Don’t rest on general statements when answering the questions.  Provide detailed examples of your work history and achievements.  Prove that you are capable of doing the job by showing how you have excelled in the past.

4.  Figure out the intention behind the question.  There is a purpose for every question that the interviewer asks you.  Your job is to identify the question behind the question.  For example, if the employer asks you “How does this position fit in with your future carer goals?”, they may be wondering how committed you would be to the organization.  When answering this question, you could express your passion for the position and explain that you are hoping to grow your career within the organization.  This is an opportunity to address any doubts that the employer may have about hiring you.

5.  Don’t exaggerate.  Don’t embellish your experience or your skills.  If you mislead the employer in your interview, they will almost definitely figure it out eventually.  Be honest and confident about what you have to offer.  If this position isn’t a great fit, the next one will be.

If  you follow these rules, you will be ready for any question that the interviewer throws at you.  Good luck!

(Written by:  Karen Bivand, Photo From:  Rawich /


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