Learn how to answer interview questions

You can learn how to give a good job interview the same way you learned how to get good at playing golf, riding your bicycle, skiing, or shooting hoops. You practice a lot. Similarly, you’ll learn how to answer interview questions by writing them down and rehearsing your answers.

Professional golfer Tiger Woods didn’t learn how to putt by playing in the Master’s tournament. Tiger’s background was filled with practice. He practiced alone and a lot. Woods entered competition only when he mastered the use of his putter.

You haven’t earned the right to compete at interviews until you’ve mastered the use of your interview skills.

Rehearse a couple of questions often asked at interviews

While there are a handful of tricky, tough, and even embarrassing questions you could be asked, let’s focus on just two of them today: Why are you looking for a job? And, “Tell me about yourself?”

“Why are you looking for a job?”

This question might also be asked in another way: “Are you still working at the XYZ Company?” You need to respond with a cover story. You cover the reasons why you’re out looking for work. Here’s an example:

“After fifteen years as an adjuster for Awesome Insurance, my job was eliminated when the company downsized. So I’m out looking to identify companies where I can contribute my skills and abilities.”

“Would you tell me about yourself?”

This is the second question you’re sure to be ask and must therefore rehearse it a lot. To answer this question, present short success stories about how you used certain skills on your last job that benefited your department or company. Your success stories are obtained from the bullet points in your resume that tells what you’ve done and the results. Select those success stories that match what an interviewer is looking for and elaborate on them.

How to rehearse answers to interview questions

A stress-free way to rehearse is by using the nickel and dime technique. This means practicing your responses during that five minute drive to the store or ten minute walk to the bus.

Preparing is so important that Aesop explained it to children. In Aesop’s story about the Aunt and Grasshopper, the legendary composer of fables had this to say:

“It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”

Your days of necessity are the days you have an interview. So practice a lot beforehand.

Which interview questions concern you? Please ask questions or share your thoughts in the “comments” space provided below.

Got a minute? Then read for a minute each how to answer all of the tough questions you could be asked at interviews. It’s all in my book, “Your One Minute Job Finding Coach. CLICK HERE for details about this book.

Hiring managers are impressed when job candidates know how to answer interview questions. That’s because managers know you’ve prepared. You can make a big impression on them when you know how to give smart answers to their questions. CLICK HERE to order “Your One-Minute Job Findinding Coach” from Amazon in paperback or the Kindle version.

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of yourcareerservice.com. For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.