Don’t worry when people tell you the job interview is really a “selling exercise”. Most of us are not sales people and cringe when someone says “sell yourself”.
But this isn’t what we mean when we say “sell yourself”.
Think about this: Successful sales people say you must “sell to a need”.
You already know what this need is — the interviewer wrote about it in the job vacancy! And you have already shown him or her how you meet their need in your resume, CV or job application form. You would not have got an interview if you hadn’t.
In the job interview, you simply have to show, through answering interview questions, just how well you match the interviewers’ needs and leave them to make the right decision.
Answering Interview Questions: 14 Tips For Job Interview
Be confident when answering interview questions. You might be nervous and not completely sure that the answer you give is the ‘right’ one, but still say it with conviction.
Think before answering interview questions. A pause may seem long to you but it really isn’t. We see too many candidates begin their answer as soon as the question ends. Don’t.
Actively listen to all the question before you answer.
We have interviewed people who only listen to the first part of a question because they are too busy thinking about how to answer. They miss the second bit. For example: “Tell me about two of your key skills and give me examples for each of them”.
Too many candidates hear the word “skill”, start thinking and stop listening. They list two skills then stop, and wonder why the interviewer is looking like he expects more!
Ask for clarity if you don’t understand a job interview question. It’s better to come across as confident enough to ask, rather than give a poor answer.
Ask to return to a question if you can’t come up with a good answer. This is much better and demonstrates more confidence than not answering at all, stammering or giving poor answers. Just say “Can I have a little more time to think about that question and come back to it later?” Remember to come back – the interviewers may forgot. This shows confidence and thoroughness.
If you don’t know the answer, SAY SO. Again, it’s better than silence, guessing, or worse, lying. Just say “that’s something I need time to think about” or “that’s outside my present experience, I’m afraid“.
There’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answer to every job interview question.
Use persuasive language when answering job interview questions. Here’s an example:
Don’t say, when asked what you have achieved in your current job:
“In my current role I did X and Y and Z”.
Instead, use persuasive words like “project led”, “successfully”, “volunteered”, “was asked”.
“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 X and completed it successfully before the deadline and under budget”.
Can you see why this is so much better? You sound active in your own successes rather than just passively doing things asked of you.
More Help Answering Interview Questions
If you’re still worried about answering job interview questions, or are just looking for that extra edge over the competition, you may find that the Ultimate Guide To Job Interview Answers helps.