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Job Interview Skills - How To Answer Job Interview Questions 04 October 2010

By: Graham Hollingsworth

Job interviews are not much fun for most people.  The pressure to be look and sound confident and knowledgeable is very stressful.  Being asked job interview questions, often of a reasonably personal nature, by people you don't know, is tough.  And sadly, doing more interviews doesn't necessarily make you better at them due to the negative affect on your confidence and self esteem.

Job Interview Skills

There is a lot of good advice available on how to prepare for a job interview.  You are likely to already know the importance of basic job interview skills such as;

1.  A clean and tidy personal appearance.  First impressions definitely matter!  We all automatically and unconsciously make judgements about a persons character within the first few seconds of seeing them.  Sure, that judgement might be wrong and unfair, but it is still going to count.  It is possible to reverse a negative first impression with great job interview answers, but it is really hard.  So take care to dress appropriately (and this usually means somewhat conservatively) when presenting for any job.  Think about it like this - this is an important race that you want to win, so you want to get a legitimate head start instead of a handicap.

2.  Have a well prepared curriculum vitae (CV), but even more importantly, know everything that is in it so that you can confidently answer any questions about it.  It isn't a good look if you can't remember important aspects of your work history or your skills and education.

3.  Learn the most common job interview questions and prepare your answers in advance.  And practice them.  Your answers might look good on paper, but you need to speak them to check that they sound right to someone hearing them.  Of course, practicing them also means that you'll be more confident giving them during the interview.  But a word of caution - don't get too good.  Perfect answers delivered without any apparent thought or consideration stand out as being rehearsed, and therefore possibly not genuine.  When taken to extreme, this can lead to doubts about the honesty of those answers and therefore the integrity of the job applicant.  Watch out too for questions you didn't prepare for - it really stands out if some unexpected questions seriously interrupt your otherwise perfect performance.  Don't get this wrong; this preparation and practice is really important, but be careful to retain your flexibility to easily adjust if necessary.

When preparing job interview answers to typical job interview questions, try putting yourself in the employer's position.  Most employers don't enjoy the job interview process much more than the job applicants.  Did you know that they are also under pressure, albeit somewhat different to you?  The search for a new employee is time consuming and costs money, and there is always the risk of making a bad choice.

So to try to reduce the risk of making a bad choice, they ask questions that are intended to help them understand you as well as possible in the short time available to them.  Good job interview questions are usually the hard job interview questions.  They require you to explain things that will provide insights into your character.  If you keep in mind what the employer is trying to learn via these questions, then you'll be able to prepare answers that could help to make them feel that you are a good choice because you present little or no risk.

Think about what is important to an employer.  In nearly all organizations, you'll be required to work as part of a team.  So think of examples that show how you're a good team player.  If you're trying for a supervisor or management position, teamwork is still important, but also think of examples where you showed good leadership?  Are your qualifications not quite good enough?  Then think of examples that show your "can do" attitude and how quickly you can learn.  In tough economic times you might be over qualified for the job you're applying for, so think about the doubts that the employer might have such as, will you become bored or still be looking for another job or how well will you fit into the organization?  Think of ways to address these doubts in some of your other answers as these types of concerns might not be raised directly.

So the main job interview tip of this article is that it can really help to be the job candidate that best eliminates any risks or doubts that nearly all employers have about hiring a new employee.  Still give honest and genuine answers, but be aware of all the important nuances of the job interview questions so you can maximize your chance of success.

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About: Graham Hollingsworth empowers job applicants so they leave interviews knowing they were well prepared. If you are preparing for a job interview, gain the benefit of his years of interviewing experience, get the scoop on what interviewers are looking for and how to give them what they need to hire you. 


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