Let’s face it, preparing for a job interview could be daunting. A lot of my interview coaching clients struggle with interview performance and are unsure of what the interviewers are really looking for.
You should always answer questions directly and try to use the appropriate examples from your past experience to demonstrate your skills and personal characteristics. Keep your answers concise and relevant. If you cite an example, keep it brief and don’t lapse into telling a long-winded story.
Most interviewers will know that it is difficult to remember every area of your past quickly. They will also appreciate your wanting to provide a suitable response by taking the time to consider your answer. So don’t be afraid to say something along lines of “Let me think about that for a moment.”
Also, making a concerted effort to end your answering of especially difficult questions with a slight, but natural smile should overcome your giving away feelings of discomfort or any other negative emotion.
Being able to tell the interviewer about particular situations that relate to each question will be far more effective and make a far more positive impression than responding in general terms. Being able to quantify results will also be of great help because numbers easily impress people.
You should consider each question posed to you as an opportunity to sell yourself by providing some of your strengths.
You will be evaluated on your answers and not the strength of your resume/CV.
Here is some advice on how to answer three of the common interview questions:
Why do you want to work for us?
This should be fairly obvious… but it isn’t always easy to answer succinctly during a job interview. The key to answering this question is to focus on what the company needs, not what you want.
While there aren’t any right or wrong ways to answer this question per se, you want to indicate that you are knowledgeable about the company and let them know what you bring to the table. In other words, you would really like to work for this company specifically and will contribute in ways that other candidates can’t.
Your best bet is to express your interest in the company and your knowledge of their business. Focus on a specific aspect of the company that you are interested in – their line of business, the technology they use, a new project they will work on – that illustrates that you’ve done your research and weave this into your answer.
What can you do for our company?
Similarly to the previous question, your answer should focus on what you offer the company, not the other way round. The company wants to make sure that you are the right person for their firm.
When a company hires a good person, they are making it harder for their competitors to compete with them. Basically, you want to try to answer this question by letting the interviewer know what you can do that other candidates can’t. Companies hire people to solve problems, so let the interviewer know what problems you’ve solved and how your employers benefited as a result.
Focus on specific tasks in the job description that are critical to the position and tell the interviewer why you are the person to handle them.
Why should we hire you?
Similar to the above question, you are expected to let the interviewer know why you are better than other candidates for this job. Just like you did with your resume and cover letter, you need to separate yourself from the pack and illustrate why you are the best person for the job.
To do this, focus on answering the question by describing your experience, skills, problem-solving accomplishments, and how the company will benefit by hiring you. Tell them why you are the answer to their problem(s).
Back your answers up with examples. Anyone can say that they have good organizational skills for example, but if you say something specific, for example, “I have excellent organizational skills and in the past 12 months I have personally organized and supervised 10 corporate events with up to 300 participants on each one,” you are definitely going to make a better impression than someone giving a generic answer.
To find out how to answer the toughest interview questions, as well as how to uncover the real needs of the hiring manager, sign up for my free 3-day e-course ‘How to win at job interviews’: http://bit.ly/17IUcTb
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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