Career Calling

February 7, 2013

Best Answers at Job Interviews

Too often job seekers confuse interviews with tests.  They struggle to get the “right” answer to questions and, in the process, tie themselves up in verbal knots.  Rather than thinking about answers as right and wrong, focus on what the employer is really looking for – a good employee.

Shape your answers so they show why you will be a benefit to your new employer’s company.  Rather than simply repeating what you have done in the past, look for ways to show how your experience and skills will benefit you in your new position.  You can underscore this point by saying on the order of, “Just as I did X for my previous employer, I can fill a similar role with your company.”

The best answers at interviews will also speak to what the employer is interested in.  That’s why listening is more important than talking.  If you understand what the employer wants, you’re more likely to engage in the kind of conversation that leads to a job offer.  A good answer is one that address not just an employer’s question, but the concern behind it.

When preparing for an interview, don’t get too caught up in scripting questions.  Know your strong points and be able to sell them.  Know potential weak points and be able to address them.  If a question has given you trouble in previous interviews, think about how you can answer it differently, but don’t obsess about it.  If you stay focused on the interviewer and what that person is looking for, it will be easier to deliver the best answers, the kind that bring job offers.

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