Answering Interview Questions

Posted By team

The best way to stay cool, calm and collected during a job interview is by being prepared before you go into it. You can do this by knowing how you plan to answer the interviewer’s questions and knowing how you want to direct the conversation to highlight what you can do for the company.

You need to be able to answer the interviewer’s questions, but you also must come to the interview with a message about yourself that you plan to deliver, regardless of the questions you’re asked. You don’t want to just hope the interviewer asks you the right questions. Instead, plan to directly answer each question, then steer your answer so that you can also include the information you want the interviewer to know about you. Think of each response you give as the answer plus the important points you want to convey about your qualifications.

This strategy works only if you prepare for the interview beforehand. The first step in doing this is studying. Learn as much about the job, the company, and its executives as you can. This information will help you answer the questions directly and also know what the company needs from you so that you can add information on how you can fulfill those needs.

You also want to learn what struggles and challenges the company is facing. This way, you can tailor your answers to demonstrate to the interviewer that you will help the company improve on its weaknesses. For instance, if you learn before the interview that the company is struggling financially, you can add to your answers that not only do you turn in your work on time, but also within your designated budgets. The key is to steer the conversation so that you can clearly demonstrate to the interviewer how you will be valuable to the company.

This strategy also works with very general questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.” If you know what difficulties the company is facing, you can tailor your answer to demonstrate how you can meet those specific needs.

Next, expect that the interviewer will ask for specific instances of how you dealt with difficult situations in your previous job, and have examples ready. While you obviously can’t have a story ready for every conceivable situation, think of these kinds of questions in generic categories, and have one or two stories ready for each. For instance, come up with seven or eight stories that illustrate your strengths, and divide them into general categories of ways you can apply them to an interviewer’s questions.

Finally, be prepared to answer questions about your weaknesses or past mistakes. Don’t try to dodge these issues. The interviewer understands that everyone makes mistakes. Be honest, and then turn the negative into a positive. Explain the mistake you made, and then talk about what you learned from the incident. You can learn as much from mistakes as you can from successes. The key is to show how that mistake has benefited you and how you’re better for having made it.

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