Do You Know How to Answer These Interview Questions?


Savvy job seekers know that there are many components involved in securing that perfect job. Essentially, they are your resume, your network, and the interview. Unfortunately, too many job seekers are wholly unprepared for the work that’s involved in finding a new job, and if they can’t ace the interview, they’re not going to land the job.

In preparation for your next interview, familiarize yourself with the following questions and start crafting your answers to help you get hired!

“Tell me about yourself.”

You might think this is an easy one; after all, who doesn’t like talking about herself? But it’s really a trick question in a lot of ways. Technically, an interviewer can’t ask you questions about your marital status, age, sexual orientation, health history, religion, or political affiliation (and some others I’m sure I’m missing), but when they ask you about yourself, you might just share that information.

What you should do here is to keep your answer brief, professional, and targeted to the position on the table. How did your education and experience end you up in this office right now? Don’t talk about how you’re a single parent with aging, ill parents; what the employer will hear is, “I’m never going to be available or able to give 100% to this position because I’m too preoccupied with my life.” Perception is reality.

“Tell me about a time when….”

You will have already written your resume by the time you’re in the interview, so you will have gone through the exercise of thinking about accomplishments. Accomplishments are built based on the formula: challenge, action, result. In this question, you’re being provided the challenge, and you need to supply the action and result. Since you’ve already done this work, these answers should come naturally.

If the interviewer provides you with a scenario that stumps you, buy yourself a little time with the response, “That’s a good question, and that’s happened to me numerous times. Let me think of the best example to share with you.”

“Why should I hire you?”

I used to provide job seekers with the answer to this question — until I realized they really needed a framework for their answers, rather than memorizing what I offered them. So now I give everyone a three-part formula for sharing their value <>. In a nutshell, it’s lifted from Sales 101:

The way to NOT answer this question is to talk about how you’re a nice person and work well with others. Everyone will say that, so stand out from the crowd with a memorable answer.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

Just as the interview is concluding, you might be asked this question. Most times, job seekers either don’t know what to say or they start asking about compensation. Neither of those is a strong choice.

Instead, turn this question around on them and ask, “Is there any reason why I would not be a good fit for this position?” It’s bold, yes, but if the interviewer is willing to answer, you may come away with valuable information.

Close Big!

Remember that it’s your job to stay in control of the interview, so before you walk out the door, hand the interviewer your prepared sheet of professional references. Simply say, “It was a pleasure speaking with you today, and I look forward to joining your team. I’m going to leave you with a list of my references so you can go ahead and start contacting them. They’re all expecting your call.”

This is pretty much the same as saying, “I know this job is mine, and you just need to follow protocol before you can make me an offer.”

If you practice all of these questions and answers, go into the interview with confidence, and fulfill the position’s requirements, you might well be on your way to your dream job before you know it!

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