An important part of preparing for your interview is preparing for answering interview questions. Being prepared for these questions will help you feel confident and at ease during the interview and make you sound professional and prepared. If you are nervous about answering questions in an interview, or if you need to brush up on your interviewing skills, there are a variety of resources, or tools, available to you. These resources can help you to practice answering interview questions and give you help on how to answer them.
Here are three types of resources that may be helpful to you when preparing to answer questions:
- The Community
Using an internet search engine to research “resources for preparing for a job interview” will give you many articles on this topic. You can also try looking up “common interview questions” to find some good links to interview questions you will hear frequently. The more interviews you have, the more you will notice that they all include very similar questions. Being able to answer common interview questions is an important part of the process. It shows that you are well prepared and have thought about your interview ahead of time.
Some common questions you may be asked in an interview are: “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” “Why do you want this job?”, “What are your greatest strengths?”, or “What is your biggest weakness?”. As you can see, these types of questions are open ended. There is not a definite right answer. Answering these questions also takes some thought. You can find websites that will help you to start thinking about how to answer questions like these.
A great way to practice answering questions is to sit down with someone who pretends to be the interviewer. Ask a friend or family member to volunteer to do this with you so you can rehearse your answers and feel confident answering questions at the actual interview. This type of “mock interview”, or fake interview, is helpful for you to prepare your answers and state them clearly. This is one of the best ways to help you prepare, as it will point out what you need to work on the most.
Many community resources are also available to you if you need to brush up on your interviewing skills. For example, colleges in your community may have a career services program that will give you tips on answering questions. They may also offer “mock” or fake interviews to help you prepare. There may be other resources specific to your community. Look them up online or contact a college in your community to find out more about what is offered in your community.
Types of Questions
Now that you have some resources to help you answer questions at the interview, focus on the questions you will have to answer. The following types of questions will help you to prepare:
- Direct questions are questions that ask about your specific skills and qualifications for the job. For example, questions may be, “What are your strengths?” or “What are your weaknesses?” These popular interview questions require you to know yourself and the skills that you will bring to the company.
- Behavioral questions are questions about your behavior and how you handled past situations. These questions may start with, “Tell me about a time when you had to…” For example, “Tell about a time you had to meet a quick deadline,” or “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult coworker.”
- Hypothetical questions ask what you would do in a situation that may or may not have actually happened to you. Hypothetical questions often deal with situations you might face if hired for the job. Think about how you will handle tough situations that the job may bring about.
- Difficult questions are typically questions about negative experiences in your past jobs. To answer these, don’t try to hide your difficult past experiences. Instead, show that you are capable of growing from experiences by highlighting what you have learned from them.
Even though you prepare for these four main types of questions, the interviewer may ask you something that you just do not have an answer for. Do not be afraid to say, “ I don’t know,” or, “Nothing comes to mind at the moment.” It is better to be honest and say that you will provide the information later in a phone call or email than to pretend you know something and say the wrong thing.
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