Know the Answer to Every Interview Question

ID-100146476You’ve done everything you can to prepare for your interview.  You did your research, you practiced and you made it to the interview on time.  Now your challenge is to impress the interviewer with your answers.  Here are some tips that will help you provide the answers that will make the employer see that you are the right fit for the job.

Anticipate what they will ask.  If you have thought about the question ahead of time, it is easier for you to deliver a response that is both smooth and detailed.  Most of the questions that the employer will ask you are easy to predict.  A good place to start is to make a list of questions that are commonly asked at interviews.  After that, you can identify the key skills and personal attributes for the job and frame questions around them.  Even if they frame the question in a slightly different way, you will be prepared to demonstrate that you do possess those skills.

Make sure that you understand the question.  One of the most important interview skills is listening.  You need to carefully listen to the question that is being asked so that you answer it completely.  There is nothing more annoying to an interviewer than a candidate that comes up with a fantastic answer to the wrong question.  You can even ask a clarification question if necessary, but don’t start to answer until you are sure that you understand what is being asked.

Find the question behind the question.  Often when the interviewer asks you a question, there is a particular concern hiding behind the question that they are hoping that you will address.  For example, if the employer says, “Wow, you are involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities.  Are you always this busy?”, what they are really asking is, “Would you be able to devote enough time to this job? Will you be available when I need you?”  Whenever the employer is making a comment or asking a question that doesn’t directly relate to the job, there is a good chance that there is a particular concern behind it.  If you can successfully identify the employer’s true concern and address it, you will have a much better chance of receiving a job offer.

Provide examples.  You never want to tell the employer that you have lots of leadership experience or that you have excellent communication skills.  These statements are vague and weak.  Instead, provide them with an example of when you took a leadership role at work, or a sample of your work to demonstrate your excellent communication skills.  Whenever possible, you want to provide the employer with examples of what you have accomplished and let them judge your skills for themselves.  This approach is more convincing and more memorable.

By putting in the time to prepare for your interview, you give yourself the best possible chance to succeed.  However, your work doesn’t end there.  You need to focus on the questions and provide detailed answers that demonstrate that you have the required skills for the job.  Even if you are surprised by the odd question, don’t panic; just answer the question as best you can and don’t forget to smile!  Good luck!

(Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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