As we’ve discussed numerous times before in our blog and in our newsletter, the interview is one of the most important parts of the hiring process (along with the offer stage, of course). That’s why we’ve addressed it on more than one occasion and why we’re addressing it once again with this blog post.
A face-to-face interview is composed of questions and answers. Company officials ask them, and you answer, and you also ask questions for the officials to answer. It’s NOT just a one-way street. It’s imperative that you ask questions during the interview.
With that being said, what’s the best approach? How should you handle this two-way street and navigate whatever obstacles exist on the road to a potential offer of employment?
What follows is a primer for answering and asking interview questions:
#1—Give complete answers.
Yes, you don’t want to ramble on and on. Some people find that they get “gabby” when they’re nervous. Resist that temptation. What you should do is answer the question as completely and succinctly as you can. Answer the question with one sentence first and then expound upon your initial statement. Focus on relaying your point and conveying the message in an efficient fashion. When you finish, you can ask if there are any other details they’d like for you to provide.
#2—Provide examples and/or proof, when possible.
Your answers should include concrete examples of your accomplishments. It’s always better to prove that you’re the best candidate for the position rather than just claim that you’re the best candidate. Specific numbers are even better, since you’re quantifying the value that you provided to your current and former employers. This will help to make your answers more impactful and more memorable after the interview has concluded.
#3—Help steer the course of the interview.
You can actually influence the course of the interview with the questions that you ask—not the ones you prepared beforehand, but ones that you ask while answering their questions. If you believe that the interviewers are missing key areas of your work experience or skill set, then you can gently steer them in that direction with the questions you ask. One way to do this is by asking about the duties and responsibilities of the position.
#4—Ask researched, thoughtful questions.
Okay, finally: we’ve reached the point of the interview where YOU have free reign to ask as many questions as you would like. This is your chance to thoroughly impress those who are interviewing you. This is also where you can separate yourself from the competition. Remember that you’re vying for this position with other candidates; you need to set yourself apart any way you can. To accomplish this, you’ll need to research the company, the other people in the interview, the position, and everything else you possibly can about the organization.
To enjoy a stellar face-to-face interview, you must be prepared for that interview. That means being prepared in every way you can, and that includes with your approach, your strategy, and your mental frame of mind.
You must be prepared to both ask great questions and provide great answers to questions. If you can do that, then you’re more than halfway to acing the interview and receiving an offer of employment.
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