How to Answer Frequently Asked Interview Questions

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Job seekers invest hours drafting their resume, contacting potential employers and hoping to receive a call for an interview. A well-prepared job seeker knows she needs to prepare by rehearsing her responses to frequently asked questions. As she prepares, she increases her ability to respond well during the interview.

Answering Interview Questions

Listen carefully to the question. Hiring managers speak at different speeds and at different tones. Wait for the hiring manager to complete his question so you can ensure that you hear every word he says. Some questions start out similar to other questions, but ask for different responses. For example, he might ask you to talk about your strengths -- when dealing with customers. If you only listen to the first part of the question, you might provide the wrong answer.

Pause before you answer. Wait a moment or two after the hiring manager stops speaking to ensure that you heard the complete question. Think about the main points you’d like to include in your response and create a mental list of these points.

Keep your answer complete and short. As you respond to the question, answer the hiring manager’s question directly, including the main points you plan to include. Make sure you answer all parts of the manager’s question. Ignore the urge to ramble.

Repeat your key points two or three times throughout your answer. Start your answer by stating your key points. Elaborate on how you demonstrated these points in prior workplaces or at school. End your answer by restating these key points. Repeating these points reinforce them with the interviewer.

Include a memorable detail in your answer. The interviewer spends time with several candidates before making a decision. You want the interviewer to remember her time with you. With each response, include a detail to keep your response fresh in the interviewer’s mind. For example, when you respond to the question "Tell me about yourself," include a detail such as being a championship chess player.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pay attention to your interviewer. Whether you want the job or change your mind, the interviewer is spending time with you and deserves your respect during this time.
  • Leave your cell phone in the car. A ringing or vibrating cell phone detracts from the interview.

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