Job Interview Success Part 3: Answering Questions

If you followed the advice in part 1 of this series of articles you will have identified and practiced answers to the questions you think you are likely to be asked.

Even having done that it still can be tricky answering questions on the day of the interview itself.

Some of the common pitfalls when it comes answering questions in job interviews and overcoming them.

Answering what you wished they had asked you rather than what they actually asked you

Being well prepared for job interviews is vital.  The danger however is that you try to make the answers you have prepared fit whatever question is asked.

The solution: Listen carefully to the question that they ask you and draw on the bank of ideas and experiences you came up with during your preparation to give a focused answer.

Rambling on for too long

Nerves take over and as a result getting to the point when answering each question takes forever.  Few interviewers will be happy with this, especially if you are being interviewed by someone who is introverted and succinct.

The solution: Be alert to the time it is taking to answer a question.  If need be caveat your answer by saying I see the 3 most important points in this area as being 1, 2 and 3.  By doing this the interviewer can ask for more detail and you can add to the answer by highlighting additional points.

Getting thrown off track by the unexpected or challenging question

It happens from time to time.  The interviewer throws in something that is not something you anticipated.

The solution: Don’t panic.  Take a moment to compose yourself and if you have a glass of water to hand take a sip of water.  Acknowledge that it’s a good question and then answer as calmly as you can.  In addition bear in mind that if the question has been a bit of a surprise to you, other candidates are probably feeling the same. Sometimes the interviewer is just trying to see how you deal with the unexpected. Don’t dwell on it.

In truth interview questions are always going to present some challenges.  Aim to do your best not to be perfect with every answer.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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