Interviews are hard, no doubt about it. But there are a few candidate who are able to score really well during these difficult interviews. Other than being prepared for the interview, these few candidates know the few important tips that is essential to when answering interview questions.
Being honest is an important characteristic as an person, but being too honest about what you think when asked “why did you left your last job” may not essentially be a good start of your interview. If you went into great detail on describing how much you disliked the last company and complain about everyone in the company, you will probably not get the job you wanted. For that person you are complaining, may just be the interviewer’s best friend or someone they know.
Candidates who score at interviews knows that it is not just about what you say in the interview but also, how you answer the interview questions, the information you give, details that you don’t disclose, and even the non-verbal cues you give during the interview are all important when you answer interview questions. All these factors comes in play when a candidate is either given an offer or not.
There are some tips that can help you in answering interview questions. Learning them may give you an competitive edge over the other thousands of candidates.
Do you want to know the few tips to answer interview questions?
Tips to Answer Any Interview Questions
Do a quick research on the company to know what does the company do. Although this may sounds basic and should be something that every candidate should do before they go for an interview. Shockingly more than a quarter of the candidates don’t know what the company does. And this definitely does not give a good impression to the interviewer. The more you know about the company, the better equipped you will be when responding to interview questions.
One week before the interview and also on the day before the interview, try visiting the company’s website and read the section on “about us”. Take note of what the company do and also what are the mission and vision of the company. These information are crucial when answering questions given by the interviewers.
2. Know Your Own History
It may sounds strange, but some candidates actually can’t recall some of the basic details of themselves when come face to face with an interviewers.
Questions such as the following may be asked:
- How long have you been working?
- What relevant jobs have you worked before?
- What are your position in your previous companies?
- What name is your supervisors in your previous companies?
And if you have switch for quite a few jobs in a short time frame:
- What are your reasons that you leave your previous jobs?
These questions may sounds simple now, but many candidate when asked these questions, simply stare at the interviewer and can’t recall any of the details.
Be sure you know your work history, as it is part of your interview.
If you are nervous, bring an extra copy of your resume to refer and when need a reminder. Do a quick recall on what you do why you do previously. If you do all these, you will thank yourself after the interviews, because your have just avoided all those awkward silence.
3. Don’t Rush
Take your time when answering the interview questions. Never rush to response to an interview question. Interview is not a race and giving an wrong respond may not be something you want in an interview. Always take some time to compose your thoughts so you can answer the question correctly.
Responding correctly to the question is better than jumping the gun and saying something you wish you have not said during the interview. If unsure, ask.
Try not to use filter words such as “Uh…, erm… hum…”. If you need time to think about the answer, or don’t understand the question, simply ask politely for the interviewer to repeat the question. This give you extra time to think about what they are asking, and how should you answer.
4. Calm Down
Interviewing can be one of the most nerve-wracking part of getting a job. This can be you first interview or your 18th interviewed, you will still be nervous. Remember to get to the place you will be having your interview early. If you reach your interview location ‘just on time’ you won’t even have time to let yourself calm down. Furthermore you will look all panicky and tense. Worst if you are late for the interview.
Get to the place early and take a few deep breath before you go into the interview. Relax but stay focus, the interviewer might just be as nervous as you are.
As a rule of thumb reach there at least 15 minutes earlier. If you are staying far from the company, try to allocate more buffer time for any unexpected events. Traffic jam often occurs unexpectedly when you are in a rush. If you give yourself sufficient time to relax your mind, you will be less nervous during the interview. Another way to calm down is to take a few sip of water and take deep breathe before the interview.
Anyone hear of the phase “Practice makes perfect”? The more practice you have before the interview, the more comfortable you will be during the job interview.
A famous quote from Bruce Lee
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
There are many ways you can practice and prepare yourself for the interview. You can either ask a friend or family member to help by answering some of the most common interview questions to get an idea of how to respond to each questions or simply practice your interview before a mirror. Write out all the “model answers” of each interview question and polish each answer to perfection during your interview practice.
This maybe your first interview after a long time and feeling nervous about that big day. But with enough practice, your interview may just become an enjoyable chit chat between you and the interviewers.
6. Be Proud of Your Accomplishments
Are you proud of your accomplishment? Interview is the time for you to share your accomplishments to your interviewer. Don’t be shy about what you have accomplish through your career.
Tell your interviewer:
- What are the highlights of your career?
- What did you accomplish that makes your previous employers proud?
- What other accomplishment that you did which make a positive change to your previous company?
Prepare before the interview about 3 things you accomplished in your previous company that is related to the job you are applying. Recap how these accomplishment have positively impacted the company and the people. This will come in handy during the interview and allows you to differentiate yourself from the other hundreds of applicants.
7. Be Professional
You are a professional so your response should also be professional. Focus your answers related to your professional skills and abilities. The interviewer is not here to make a friend, or at least when when they are trying to put the right person in the job. Don’t start rumbling to your interviewer about your personal life, your fluffy little dog at home, your family or what you like to do in your free time. Only answer what is being asked.
Most importantly, don’t start bringing up any non-work related issue during the interview. Like, requesting to have an special arrangement on child care, if you get the job. You can ask these questions when they have decided to hire you and before you sign the contract.
The interviewers are trying to get the best person for the job. They are least interested in your personal life or how much you love travelling, unless this helps in performing the job you are hired for.
Keep your answer for the interview question direct, relate it to the position your are going to be hired for. Keep your response relevant to the question and what the interviewer is concern about.
Sometimes talking more does not means it is good, it may actually backfire if what you say is not something that your interviewer likes or wants.
8. Prepare Your Own Questions
Have a few questions ready to ask your interviewers. One of the very last questions that almost all interviewer will ask during a job interview is “Do you have any questions”.
Remember, an interview goes both ways. The interviewer is looking for the right person for the job and you are looking for the right job for you.
Be prepared before the interview and have a few questions ready at hand to ask the interviewer.
You can basically ask the interviewer questions on 3 different basis:
- About the job
- About the company
- About their thoughts
Never ask them about the pay, unless they asked. This is not yet the time to talk about the pay, if you are selected as the potential candidate, the HR will probably contact you, and you can discuss on the pay and the remuneration packages.
9. End of Interview
You have just finished an hour long interview and feel that you did your best in the interview. Your interviewer says they will contact you if you are chosen. So now what? Just leave the room and go home to wait for a call or wait to be contacted?
Remember, they have squeeze their precious time out of their busy schedules and meetings to be with you in the interview. Always take this one last chance to thank the interviewer for their time and be sincere about it.
You may or may not get the job, but it is basic human courtesy to say thanks about the time that they have spend for your interview.
A simple thank you may not sounds much, but to an interviewer, this makes an lasting impression about the candidate that they are interviewing. A simple thank you at the end of the interview seems not as important. But it may just be the last key ingredient that land you in the dream job you are interviewing.
Wait! I though we just finished the interview and we even say thank you and bye to the interviewer. Is there anything else we still have to do?
In fact, this bonus tip is what let some candidate get hired. Interviewer sometimes face with the dilemma on choosing between 2 candidates, both with similar experience and potential. But only one will get the offer.
After your interview, take the time to follow up with a personal thank you note by email.
In your thank you email, simply thank them for their time and happy to have been given a chance to come for the interview. Lastly, you hope to hear from them soon.
Although, this may sounds simple, but only 1 in 10 of the candidates who go for an interview actually ever do a followup. This simple email will generally show them your interest in the company. This will also differentiate yourself from the many others before you.