The truth is, doing well in a job interview has nothing to do with luck! Neither is it simply a question of long years of experience. Nor a measure of your suitability for the job. Trust me, unfair as it may seem, succeeding in an interview has everything to do with giving winning interview answers to what are very often usually predictable questions.
The fact is the same interview questions arise time and again. Get your interview answers right, showcase your interview skills, blow your own trumpet, not in a corky way and you greatly increase your chances of a job offer. But then, where do you begin?
Here are some easy to remember hints which will help you create winning answers to interview questions every time.
1. The “I” factor
Always use “I” – The interviewer wants to hear about you and your achievements, not your group’s or team’s achievements, the part played by you is what they are interested in so always use ‘I’ when giving interview answers. Use it even if the task was a group achievement, avoiding the use of ‘We’ as this can suggest that you were not heavily involved.
2. Use your trumpet; it will get rusty if you don’t!
Blow your own Trumpet: Avoid the use of qualifying phrases which weaken your answer, for example if asked about your strengths, avoid statements such as:
“Well, I think I am quite good at communicating” A more impressive interview answer is one which is direct and clear such as:
“I am an excellent communicator because…..(give a Situation, the Task performed by you, Actions taken by you and the Result of your actions and how it benefited your employer) think STAR.
3. Be a Giver not a Taker
Be mindful at all times that the interviewer is interested in what you can do for them as an employer and not the other way around. So for example, when asked why you want the job, it is better to say:
‘I have a, b and c skills to bring to this role.’ rather than ‘It is a good career move for me’ or ‘I fancy having 30 days holiday in a year’ or ‘The salary is higher than my current one.’
Answer the question that has been asked: Keep your interview answers relevant and avoid the temptation to give an unrelated response no matter how useful you think the information is. This can give the impression either that you have not listened to the interview question or that you are unfocussed and unable to communicate effectively.
4. Give Evidences and Examples
Very often you will be asked to talk about situations where you demonstrated a particular skill and it is wise to prepare relevant and recent examples in advance. Stay focused and give very relevant, brief and concise responses.
5. Demonstrate all your Skills
When giving examples in your interview answer, choose scenarios which demonstrate more than one key skill. For example, if the question is asking you to talk about a time when you demonstrated good interpersonal skills, talk about a situation where you used these skills effectively but also combine maybe your communication skills and your leadership skills. Use this technique selectively however, avoiding the temptation to fill every answer with every single skill you can think of.