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Prepare Your Interview Answers

Interviews can be nerve-racking experience even for veteran job seekers. It is important to remember to be authentic in your interactions so you can make sure that the organization you are pursuing is a good fit for you. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. When possible engage prospective employers by telling a story that illustrates who you are as a person, which is more interesting than just listing things you have done. 

Take Action:

Review the interview advice below and practice with a friend, mentor, or family member. Repeat answers until you can recall any answer easily and they sound natural and not rehearsed. 

Do not be stumped by basic questions.

Common interview questions can choke your performance if you are not prepared. Do not let the following basic questions catch you off guard.

Tell me about yourself.

The interviewer does not want to hear your life history. Talk about some of your accomplishments that showcase your best professional qualities. 

How do you handle conflict?

The interviewer knows you do not get along great with everyone; so, do not pretend that you never encounter conflict with others. They are looking for examples that show you can manage your behavior when things do not go your way. Demonstrate that you listen to other people’s opinions, you are open-minded and flexible, and that you can reasonably state your objections and views. 

What is your greatest weakness?

Do not be tempted to reveal your worst attributes. When describing your weakness, give a concrete example with an explanation of how you turned things around. The best answer shows you are proactive and are continually working to improve. 

Describe a situation when you failed.

Do not fear this question. It presents a perfect opportunity to show you are accountable and mature. Demonstrate that you can recover from a mistake by talking about what you learned from the experience and how it strengthened your skills.

Roll with the oddball questions.

In addition to having responses for routine questions on your strengths and weaknesses, you should also expect to answer some odd ones, too. You may get projective questions such as “What animal best represents you?” The interviewer will not care about the animal that you choose – he or she is listening for the “why” behind your response. The “why” will give them a glimpse of how you see yourself. Do not get tripped up. This is your chance to show that you can think on your feet. 

Final thoughts: 

No matter what, remain relaxed and be yourself. The only way to make a real connection with people is to be authentic. Make sure your answers contain a clear message and are relevant and compelling. Do not try to sound like someone you are not. And do not try to act like someone else – your mannerisms and facial expressions will help complete the picture of who you are.