Excellent Interview Answers

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Job seekers should avoid generalities to give excellent interview answers.
Job seekers should avoid generalities to give excellent interview answers. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Excellent answers to interview questions are specific and point to how a job seeker can be an asset to an employer. Applicants' interview answers also should communicate to a job recruiter that they have career goals and that they particularly want to work for the company where they're being interviewed.

Be Specific

Interviewers often ask a broad question that requires you to tell them about yourself. In such cases, it's not the time to tell them how many children you have or that you love dogs. The best answer to such a broad question is career-focused and specific. CareerBuilder.com writer Rachel Zupek recommends answering such questions by discussing your recent job experience and your career goals. However, avoid making your answer as broad as the question. For example, people who are interviewing for a sales job shouldn't just discuss their previous sales positions. They should be more specific and discuss how they met sales quotas at previous jobs or tell the interviewer about sales awards they've received.

Know the Company

An interviewer may ask you to outline your career goals within a certain time frame. What the interviewer really wants to know is if you plan to stay with his company for a significant amount of time if he hires you. Therefore, your answer should demonstrate that you know something about the company and that you want to work there because you like the direction it’s taking and it fits your career goals. For example, a teacher may tell an interviewer he applied to teach at a particular school because it has added more computer technology courses to its curriculum. That teacher’s goal might be to make computer technology accessible to more students because it affects numerous types of occupations.

Bolster Weaknesses

It's not uncommon for job recruiters to ask applicants to discuss their weaknesses. Again, broad answers to such questions can backfire on applicants. Someone who replies by saying he's too detail-oriented may concern the recruiter who thinks there's no such thing as being too detail-oriented when it comes to doing a job the right way. Instead, the Career Builder article suggests discussing job-related skills you're anxious to improve that also could benefit the employer. For example, a social worker may tell an interviewer he didn't get to work much with job-training programs in his previous positions, but he would like to hone his skills with such programs because he thinks they're vital to helping families get ahead financially.

Considerations

Job seekers can provide an excellent answer to just about any question a recruiter throws at them if they remember that the interviewer wants to know what they have to offer that benefits his company. Avoid just giving a rundown of your resume. A recruiter already read your resume and contacted you for an interview because your resume lists skills the recruiter wants. Your answers to interview questions should go beyond your resume and highlight why you're the best person for the job. For example, fluency in foreign languages may be important for some occupations. Applicants who also have an understanding of the culture of other countries because they've visited them may be more appealing to employers who have clients in those countries.

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