Good news! After a lengthy job search process, a potential employer invited you for a job interview. You think that the hardest part is over, and you’re excited to get the job of your dreams. Well, what’s left is arguably the most important aspect of landing a job. Preparing for how to answer job interview questions correctly is the next big challenge before getting hired.
You may think you know quite a bit about how to answer job interview questions, but it is not always as simple as you may believe. In many instances, there is no one correct answer because it will vary from one company to another.
Before your job interview, you will want to think about some of the questions you’re likely to be asked, and develop some compelling ways to answer them correctly.
Here are 10 efficient rules I have prepared for you for an efficient job interview preparation. Follow these rules to learn how to correctly answer the most commonly asked questions and boost your chances of getting hired.
Rule #1 – Have A Great Attitude During The Job Interview
Your attitude is very important to make a good impression during the job interview. Your interviewers took the time out of their busy schedule to give you a chance to be interviewed and join their organization. Don’t take this for granted. Many other candidates might have applied and didn’t get this opportunity. You should show how you appreciate being interviewed and thank the interviewer for the opportunity.
Throughout the interview, you should show a positive attitude demonstrating your:
• Enthusiasm to work for the company and be part of the team
• Interest to contribute to the future success of the company
• Willingness to learn and make progress to meet all the company’s requirements
Rule #2 – No Standard Answers For Job Interview Questions
You may find standard answers on the Web that are routinely given to the most common job interview questions. These same answers are available for any other candidates like you. If you want to stand out from the crowd of other applicants, you should tune these answers in to the particular employer you are interviewing with. You can easily do this by taking the time to research the company and the position you are interviewing for. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to respond to job interview questions. You can learn about things such as:
- The position you are applying for: analyze the job description and read between the lines
- What they are searching for in applicants: learn as much as you can about your mission and what they are expecting from you
- Culture inside the company: it’s important to know if you can fit with the company culture
- The hiring manager: getting familiar with the hiring manager will make you more confortable during the job interview
- Some members of the team: learning about their profiles and backgrounds can give you an idea about the team in general
Using the collected information about the job and the employer, you can adapt your answers and increase your chances of landing the job.
Rule #3 Listen Twice, Speak Once
We have two ears and one mouth, and we should use them proportionally!
- Listen to questions carefully and let the interviewer lead the conversation
- Never interrupt the interviewer, and let them finish their question
- If you are not sure what the interviewer is asking, it’s fine to ask for clarification. You can either ask for it to be explained or repeated, or you can repeat it yourself in your own words and ask if your understanding was correct.
- Pay attention to the details and read between the lines. Sometimes the interviewer might ask you a question that doesn’t have a good or bad answer. In this case, the interviewer might be interested not in the answer itself, but in in the way you think and answer. Make sure to identify these types of questions and demonstrate a logical flow in your answers.
Rule #4 Take Your Time To Think
Don’t rush to get out a response to a job interview question. Whether you know the answer or not, briefly think about your response before you answer. Some questions might require some reflection – make sure to get the necessary time to make your reflection and prepare your answer. Taking the time to compose your thoughts so you can respond effectively is better than jumping the gun and saying something you wish you hadn’t after the fact.
Rule #5 Show Confidence, Stay Humble
Remember that you are in the interview to make yourself desirable for hiring. You should show confidence in yourself and what you have done.
Don’t be shy about what you have accomplished in your career. Share examples of your accomplishments that are related to the job you are interviewing for to reinforce the fact that you’re capable and qualified.
When you answer, you should be convincing, but don’t worry if you don’t know all the answers. You shouldn’t lose confidence if you think that you don’t have the right answer. Keep in mind that the employer is not looking for a perfect candidate, but rather someone who can succeed in the position. If you think that you know all the answers, you can show confidence, but be humble. It’s all about balance.
Rule #6 Speak Positively
The words you say are an expression of your inner thoughts and personality. Saying positive words can make people feel more positive toward you and create a feeling of familiarity. You should be conscience about every word you use. Here are some scenarios that you might face in a job interview:
- You’re asked to talk about a weak point: you should switch the conversation to explain what you are doing to improve yourself
- You lack experience: you should explain that you are planning to take a course or a similar experience
- You’re asked about a conflict you have in a previous job: be diplomatic, and don’t criticize previous employers or co-workers. Explain that people are different and might have different opinions and perspectives, and that you respect that.
- You’re asked about why you are leaving your job: try to keep it positive. Be direct and focus your interview answer on the future, especially if your leaving wasn’t under the best of circumstances.
In general, do not use or repeat negative terms, even if the interviewer throws it out there. For instance, instead of using words like “concerns,” “issues,” “problems,” you can use the word “challenge.” Instead of using “fight” or “conflict,” you can use “different opinion.”
Rule #7 – Be Consistent
The interview has a logical flow, through which the interviewer tries to find out whether you’re a good match for the position. As you answer job interview questions, try to stay focused on the job and how you are a fit for it. Do your best to match your abilities to the job description when responding.
The interviewer might ask you, on purpose, the same question at different times in different ways. For instance, the interviewer might ask you several questions about your work history, but not in the sequence that you expect. If you don’t remember when you worked, and what you did, you might get lost.
- You should be very focused about the questions flow
- You should monitor your answers and link them together.
- You should bring an extra copy of your résumé to refer to if you’re nervous and need a reminder.
- If you use examples in your answers, stay consistent and reuse them every time.
- Don’t hesitate to mention your previous answers when you reply to a question.
Having consistent answers will demonstrate that your thoughts are clear and logical. It will also demonstrate that you’re focused and honest.
Rule #8 – Avoid “Empty” Phrases
Saying that you have skills such as ”leadership”, “problem solver,” “result-oriented” is of no-value unless you talk about facts. Instead of describing yourself through empty phrases, demonstrate your skills by describing your experiences and achievements. For instance, instead of saying that you have leadership, describe situations where you took leadership positions and managed to get successful results. Without you pronouncing the word “leadership,” your interviewer will interpret it.
Before your interview, you should think about all the skills that the job might require and prepare your answers with facts. You should talk about situations where your skills were helpful to get the job done. The more specific you are, the more the hiring manager will see that you have the skills to do the job.
If you don’t know the answer, don’t ramble and provide vague answers. You should always be direct and to the point. If you’re not sure, you can say that you don’t know the answer and take note to show interest in learning about it later.
Rule #9 – Ask Questions During The Interview
Most of the time, you’ll be asked at the end of the interview if you have questions. This is a very important occasion, not only to learn more about the company and the position, but also to demonstrate that you really care about your career and are interested in this job.
Remember that the job interview is also an opportunity for you to determine if the job is right for you. The interview can tell a lot about the work environment within the company, the culture, the values, the expectations, etc. Take advantage of it to make your own assessment and do not hesitate to ask your questions.
You should be prepared and have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer. I prepared some job interview questions for you at the end of this post.
If you have forgotten or failed to disclose information that you consider important, do so at this moment of the interview.
Rule #10 – Finish Up Strong
You should end the interview on a positive note to maximize your first impression and leave the interviewer wanting more from you.
In addition to the questions that you have asked previously, you can remind the interviewer of your skills to show that you really care about getting the job. You can show off what you know about the company and what you can bring to the table. This last step can be a differentiator to hire you over another candidate
At the end, don’t forget to thank the interviewer and to take the time to follow up with a personal thank you note. If there are any questions you wish you had answered differently or more thoroughly, use your thank you letter to explain.
Interviewing can be nerve-wracking whether it’s your first interview or you have interviewed many times in the past. The more practice you have at interviewing, the more comfortable you’ll be during a job interview. Practice answering common job interview questions to get an idea of how to respond.
If you have any comment or questions, I’ll be very happy to hear from you. Please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
Here are some examples of job interview questions
- When do you plan to make a decision?
- What are the responsibilities of this position?
- What is a typical day for this position?
- Who would be my immediate superiors?
- What is the biggest challenge in this position?
- What are the most important qualities for this position?
- What are the common characteristics of the employees who succeed in this position?
- If I joined your team, how long it will take for me to be productive?