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Employers will be asking questions that require answers that demonstrate your skills and qualifications. You must be able to tell them, in detail, why you are the candidate they want. Answering questions with a simple yes or no will tell the interviewer nothing about you. Answering questions in one sentence will tell them that you are not prepared, not interested, or not knowledgeable about yourself. Remember that each question asked should have a thorough and specific answer. Using personal examples and stories are ways to accomplish this. This should not be difficult since your resume already conveys such information. The following guidelines will help prepare you to answer an interviewer’s questions:
Sample Question: “Tell me about your organizational skills.”
Sample Answer: Use the following 3 components in answering an interviewer’s questions:
1)State your skill and ability: ”I must be organized daily! As a current student, I am taking 16 hours of coursework. In addition, I work part time at- and I am the Vice President of -club.”
2)Cite an example supporting that skill area: ”Because I have so many commitments, I must organize my time well. I put together a weekly schedule where I write down each goal from day to day. I then coordinate my schedule based on these goals. For instance, this week, I had two meetings for my club and I was asked to work extra hours at my job. Because my schedule was so organized, I was able to see what I could move to a different day. This made it possible for me to work the extra hours as well as attend both meetings.”
3)Relate the skill and experience to the position for which you are interviewing: “I am aware that this position requires organizational skills to keep it on track. As I just described, my organizational skills have kept me successful in my college endeavors. My GPA has not suffered because I am able to coordinate my time. I believe that these skills will certainly cross over into any professional position I have in the future.”
PRACTICE ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Use your camera phone, computer camera or video to record yourself answering questions. Follow the guidelines from above and practice answers to the sample questions attached. Then, review the recording and critique your language, articulation, eye contact and body language. Ask a friend to help you practice. Remember, simply thinking about how you will answer is not enough. You need to actually speak and interact to be fully ready to attend an interview.
When finished with his/her questions, the interviewer will probably expect you to have questions.
*prepare 2-3 thoughtful questions
*ask questions that subtly demonstrate your knowledge of the company (base your questions on your research done prior to your interview)
*don’t be afraid to ask about work atmosphere, the positives and negatives of working in the company and other questions about supervisor and work styles.
*do not ask about salary or benefits unless your interviewer brings it up. This information is to be initiated by the interview only.