Interviews are daunting. However, if you prepare properly, it can be a fun experience. Trust me, it really can. Especially if you do a few mock questions to prepare for any of those tough interview questions that may come your way.
Remember, in an interview, the person hiring you is generally looking for two key items:
Will you add value to the business, make them money, make their lives easier, and
Will you be a good cultural fit for the team?
Keep these two points in mind when you’re answering the questions, and always circle back to these points in your answers. An Interviewer wants to see that you tick these two points for them. Let's dive into a few “curly” questions. I’m focusing on the main ones that come up and stump my coaching clients.
Tell me a bit about yourself?
Sounds like an easy question to answer but a lot of people get a bit stuck on what to actually say. Some go off on tangents about their careers and some basically read out their resume word by word. Please don’t do either of these.
When you’re asked the question, check back to those key points.
You are going to add value, and
You are a great cultural fit.
Add some of your amazing personality into your answer, and show who you really are. True confidence is backing yourself in any situation, so let yourself shine. And always circle back to how your experience will add value to the team.
What about when you are asked these types of questions, for example:
Tell me about a time when…
Give me an example of…
Describe an event where…
Don’t panic. A great way to answer these questions is with the STAR method.
S – Situation. Explain a situation you’ve been in to answer their question and turn it into a story. Be careful not to waffle; we want the story to be concise and share the necessary details.
T – Task. Describe what your responsibility was in this situation; who were you in the story basically.
A – Action. What action did you take? How did you overcome the situation and what steps/ actions did you put in place?
R – Result. What was the result of your action and what did you achieve?
Using the STAR method, you can easily share any story to showcase how your experience might add value and how you fit.
A good STAR story proves growth in your career, and your problem-solving abilities. Both are important aspects to show. People want to see how you respond to situations in the workplace and if you will effectively handle situations. Extra points if you show how to take charge of progressing your own career.
Using the STAR technique should also take the pressure of you having to think on the spot. You’re simply tapping into an experience and explaining what happened. Break it down and remove the stress from the question.
One point to remember is don’t be afraid to ask them questions back! It is as much an interview for you as it is for them. Prepare your own questions to ask, because it will help you make sure that your next move is a move that you will be 100% happy with. Your number one priority in your career is that you’re happy!
Backing yourself and doing your best in an interview is the real measure of success.
Amie Duignan is a Career Coach, Head hunter, In-House Recruiter and Founder at A.D Connects.