Learn From the Expert: How to Correctly Answer the Hardest Interview Questions

Today, I have another guest post from Patrick Rosario. Take it away, Patrick!

Job interviews are not something that most of us look forward to, and even the most confident of job seekers can fall prey to a case of nerves at the most inopportune time. You know the feeling; your palms start sweating, your mouth goes dry, and all your pre-planned speeches go straight out the window as you stammer your way through each question.

So how do you keep your cool and prevent mental blocks that have the potential to ruin your shot at landing that promising position?

While there is no simple answer to this question, one thing that all experienced job seekers can agree on is that going into an interview well-prepared is one of the best ways to keep a clear head and beat those interview nerves.

But how exactly does one prepare for a job interview? Here are a few tips on ways to prepare yourself mentally for any questions that may be thrown at you and keep nerves to a minimum:

Tip # 1 Research the company and position you are applying for

The worst thing you could to do is to walk into a job interview without a clear picture of what the company does and what will be expected of you should you be given the job.

Usually, recruiters will give candidates a fair amount of notice before the interview, which means that they expect you to do your research, know the company and most of all, have a clear idea of why you are a good fit for that position.

Be thorough and find out as much as you can. For example, visit LinkedIn and check for information about the recruiter, read about the company’s history and growth, take the time to understand its mission and culture, check the organization’s standing in the marketplace and be knowledgeable about its competition.

Recruiters expect you to know these things, and if you don’t, it sends the message that you couldn’t care less what job you get, as long as you get one. And while this may very well be the case, in this economy, you have to step up your game and stand out from the crowd.

Tip # 2 Review your own resume

This is something that not many job seekers consider, but your resume will likely serve as the focal point of the job interview, so you’d better know what it says and be sure that you can back it up when necessary.

Recruiters know that job seekers tend to exaggerate experience or make things sound better than they really were, so they often ask questions that will put you on the spot and catch you in a lie.

Try to keep your resume as truthful as possible; we all exaggerate a bit and that’s fine, but make sure that you don’t get carried away. It is important that you are able to clearly describe previous positions and talk in depth about your education and background when questions are asked.

Tip # 3 Prepare answers to common interview questions

While it is true that no two job interviews are ever the same, many of them do involve a similar set of questions that are simply phrased differently.

For example, most recruiters will ask questions along the lines of:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why are you a good fit for this position?
  • What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Do you work well under pressure?

Along with these usual questions, employers will also often ask you to tell them a little bit more about yourself, which can really put you on the spot if you aren’t prepared. Think about what you would like your prospective employer to know about you and talk about things that are relevant to the job in question.

For example, if you are given a chance to talk about yourself, don’t bother telling the recruiter that you love dogs or enjoy watching sports (unless of course these things are somehow related to the job you are applying for).

Tip # 4 Prepare some questions of your own

After going down his/her list of questions with you, the recruiter will probably turn things over to you by asking whether or not you have any questions for them.

Not having any questions shows a lack of interest in the company or the position you are applying for, so try to prepare a couple of questions beforehand that will reflect positively on you.

Good questions are ones that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. They are also questions that you would not have been able to find answers to in the job description or on the company’s homepage.

Tip # 5 Carry out practice interviews

You are feeling overly nervous in the days leading up to your interview, it can be helpful to carry out a few practice interviews with friends or family members playing the part of the recruiter.

Have them ask questions that are likely to be raised and ask them to review your resume for anything that may become an issue during an interview. Some career counseling centers also do mock interviews, so find out if any of your local job centers offer such services.

Having an idea of what the interview will be like or playing out different scenarios helps you to feel more relaxed and prepared when the real one comes along.


About the Author:

Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and career ninja. He works at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of Human Resource Management Degrees and cert 4 training and assessment. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick (at) oc.edu.au.

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