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How To Answer Questions For A Job Interview

Updated on September 18, 2012

Prepare. Don't Fly Without A Net.

Prepare.  Don't Fly Without A Net.
Prepare. Don't Fly Without A Net. | Source

Many people are scrambling for employment. Some have many years of work experience, while others are just out of school. One thing they don’t teach you in school is how to answer job interview questions. Following are tips.

Some of the questions below are Traditional, such as “Tell me about yourself.”

However, nowadays interviewers are increasingly asking Behavioral Questions, also described below. These are questions you answer using specific examples about how you behaved in past experiences. Such questions help the interviewer know that you have handled certain work situations well in the past, and thus will be able to handle them in the future.

You will want to prepare for both types of questions. For the Behavioral Questions, prepare specific stories from your past about how you successfully handled various career situations.

Preparation is key. Know your personal stories/answers in advance.

Tailor your prepared stories to the questions asked. Be flexible and relaxed.

Don’t talk talk too long - keep your answers concise and specific, at about 2-4 minutes in length.

QUESTION: Tell us about a time when you handled a task under great stress.

ANSWER: Choose a situation on the job that shows you can be trusted to remain calm and effective under pressure. Use specific examples of what happened, what you did to solve the problem(s), and what was the successful outcome.

QUESTION: Name a time you went “above the call of duty.”

ANSWER: This can be any example of how you went the extra mile on the job. It is not bragging to let yourself shine here. The interviewer wants to know that you are the star candidate.

QUESTION: Describe a time that you overcame adversity in your job.

ANSWER: Everyone has experienced adversity on the job. Make sure you pick an example of how you were effective and solution-oriented. Don’t complain or come off as a victim or say anything negative about your past boss/co-workers or company.

QUESTION: What are your greatest strengths?

ANSWER: You can brag here but choose real strengths that are directly applicable to the job for which you are interviewing. Examples include good communication skills, excellent writing skills, punctuality, perseverance, or strong leadership abilities.

If You Don't Prepare Your Answers, You Could Miss The Mark.

If You Don't Prepare Your Answers, You Could Miss The Mark.
If You Don't Prepare Your Answers, You Could Miss The Mark. | Source

QUESTION: What are your greatest weaknesses?

ANSWER: One strategic answer is to talk about a strength as if it were a weakness. For example, you can say you are a perfectionist or a nonstop worker who can’t go home until a task is completed.

Another strategy is to choose a weakness you formerly had, but have conquered. For example, you can say you previously struggled to organize your busy day. Now you have solved the problem because you use a special calendar application that handles all your complex daily tasks efficiently. You can then talk about how organized and efficient you have become.

QUESTION: Tell us about yourself:

ANSWER: Respond with a question, asking the interviewer what he/she is looking for in a candidate. Ask what the ideal candidate would be like. Get the interviewer talking first and revealing what he/she wants. Then answer the question by citing the characteristics you have that the company seeks.

Keep your answer focused on information that would be pertinent to why you are the best candidate for the job, such as highlights from your career, education, and work experience.

QUESTION: Why do you want to work for this company/organization?

ANSWER: Make sure you do your research in advance about the company/organization for which you are interviewing. Know important details about the company that you can cite. This will show that your enthusiasm for the company is sincere and you are not simply showing up for whatever interview you can land.

Make the interviewer feel that the job being offered is your dream job. Also make your life story geared toward arriving at this job at this time. Make it seem like the story of your life logically leads to your having this job.

Know and express the reason why you are passionate about the job. The word “passion” is very common now in job interviews. Companies want to know that you have your heart in your chosen career.

Once You Have Prepared, You Feel Confident.

Once You Have Prepared, You Feel Confident.
Once You Have Prepared, You Feel Confident. | Source

QUESTION: What questions do you have?

ANSWER: Remember, it is always about what the interviewer needs to fill the job. You can ask: what would the most successful first 6 months in this job look like if the company hired the ideal candidate?

It is generally not considered prudent to discuss money first. Let the interviewer bring it up. You want to show passion and enthusiasm for the job first, and tailor your questions accordingly. You do not want to give the impression that money is your only motivating factor.

Other questions can be about the company culture or the specific nature of the job. Don’t ask about vacation time or holidays yet. Remember, you are passionate about what you do - you are not just in it for the paycheck!


Learn to enjoy the process of answering interview questions. It’s a great skill that will serve you well!

Share Your Interview Knowledge With Friends

Share Your Knowledge With Friends
Share Your Knowledge With Friends | Source

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