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How To Give Great Answers To
Job Interview Questions

So far in our Job Interview Guide we've covered the types of job interview and given hints and tips on how prepare for interview.

Now we turn our attention to answering job interview questions.

Job Interview Questions -- How To Answer

Although job interviews are an exercise in 'selling yourself', you shouldn't let this put you off.

It's true that the majority of us are not salespersons and it can be hard to know how best to sell yourself during an interview.

Our advice is to follow the example of successful salespeople and "sell to a need".

You know what the need is -- it's there in the job vacancy and much of the information you need to answer job interview questions is contained in the words used in that very advertisement. And you've already made your case for how well you can fill this need with your resume, CV or job application form.

In the interview itself, you simply have to demonstrate, through your answers to job interview questions, that you match the interviewers' needs exactly. Do this and their decision about who to employ will be easy.

To help you further, here are 14 tips on HOW to answer job interview questions:

  1. Try to maintain an appearance of confidence while answering the interviewers' questions. You may be nervous, but don't show it. Even if you are unsure that you are telling the interviewer what they want to hear, say it with conviction.
  2. Think before you answer. Don't be afraid to leave a pause before you begin answering -- the interviewer will appreciate that you are thinking about your answer. And remember, a pause will seem much longer to you than to them!
  3. Listen to the entire question before answering. We've interviewed a lot of people who miss the last half of a job interview question because they are already thinking about answering the first half. Wait and listen before you formulate your answer. For instance:

    "Tell me about two of your strongest skills and give me examples of how you've used each of them".

    Some candidates get no further than the word "skill" and stop listening to the rest of the question while they think about their answer. They list two skills and stop, wondering why the interviewer looks like he or she is waiting for more.

  1. If you don't understand a job interview question, don't be afraid to ask for clarification. Better to come across as confident enough to ask questions instead of giving a wrong or insufficient answer.

  2. If you don't have a good answer for a question right away, ask if you can return to the question later. This shows confidence and is far better than stammering out a half-baked answer.

  3. If you don't know the answer to a question, it's much better to say so, than guess or lie. Instead, say that you need more time to think about the question or simply say "I'm afraid that's outside of my experience". It's OK to not know everything.

  4. When answering job interview questions, use persuasive language. For instance, when asked about something you've done in your current position, don't say: "In my current role I did X and Y and Z".

    Rather, use action words and be persuasive and say:

    "In my current role, I was asked to implement X. Following the success of this task, I project-led a team to implement Y. Soon after I volunteered to take on Z and completed it successfully before the deadline and under budget".

    Phrasing your answer in this way makes you sound more active and less like you're following instructions.

  1. Stay positive when you answer questions. You should steer clear of negative language and don't speak poorly of your current employer. It's better to talk about looking forward to the future instead. Something like:

    "I genuinely enjoy my current role, but I'm eager to face new challenges and develop the skills I've learned" will fit the bill nicely.

  1. Always back up your statements with examples. Don't talk about your skills or abilities without being able to back them up.

  2. Make sure to keep good eye contact with your interviewer when answering job interview questions. It shows confidence and mature social skills.

  3. If you have taken notes to help you prepare for the interview, don't be afraid to refer to them during the interview. Having notes shows that you prepared and are genuinely interested in the position. Simply say:

    "Is it okay if I refer to my notes?"

    When the interviewers says 'yes', away you go.

  4. Use your initiative -- if there's something you want to emphasize about your experience or skills which you aren't asked about in the course of the interview, bring it up. You can do this near the end of the interview when you are asked if you have any questions of the interviewer. Something like:

    "I wanted to have the opportunity to tell you about A. Do you mind if I take a few minutes to do that"?

  1. Keep your answers consistent. Interviewers are given to asking the same question twice, phrased differently to make sure that you give the same answer.

  2. Don't talk too much. Answer the question and resist the temptation to keep talking. Interviewers sometimes use silence and watch candidates for how they react. You can counter this by asking:

    "Have I answered your question or would you like me to elaborate?"

Job Interview Questions -- What To Answer

Now you know HOW to answer job interview questions why not download the Guide and get the actual answers to 54 job interview questions plus a great free bonus?



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