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Getting Started

Step 1
"The Job"

Step 2
"Potential Questions"
Step 3 
" Answers, Answers"
Step 4
"Inappropriate Questions"
Step 5
"Interview Day Preparation"
Step 6 
"Interview Game Plan"
Step 7 
"Interview Wrap"


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Interview Success PlanSM

Step 3:  Interview Answers

The interview focuses on "what you say" and "how you say it".  In this step, we focus on "what to say".

As you know, there are many different types of interviews and interview questions.  You can review the different types at Job-Interview.net's Interview Tips page.  Let's keep it simple.  You're going to be asked about:

  • What you know - about your work experience, education, training, goals, character, personal qualities, the job that you're seeking, the company that you're interviewing for, and the knowledges required to perform the job that you're seeking.
  • Identify a problem or issue - given a situation, find the problem or issue.  The question may focus on a situation that you've handled in the past or how you would handle a hypothetical situation.
  • Identify a solution - given the problem or issue, how do you proceed?  The question may focus on a problem or issue that you've handled in the past or how you would proceed in a hypothetical situation.

The questions may be straightforward or combine the above.  For example,  "Tell us about a safety issue at your current job.  How did you handle the issue and what reports were you required to file?"  

Your goal is to provide an answer that not only answers the question, but also reinforce your qualifications for the position. 

People prepare for job interview questions in many ways.  Often people will write specific answers to as many specific questions as possible and memorize the answers.  

We recommend looking at categories of questions and using outline answers.  Why?  With practice, you will hit all the important points and although your answer will be slightly different each time, your answer will come across naturally and with confidence.  The key is to be able to think during the interview and adjust your answer to fit the question.  For example, take the category of "General Experience".  The answer to the question,  "How does your current position qualify you for the job?" is simply a variation of your answer to the question, "How does your experience qualify you for the job?".  

Key success points to remember:

  • The most qualified person to do a job is someone who has already done the job.  If you were to hire someone to fix the plumbing in your house, who would you hire?  Someone who has never fixed the plumbing or someone who has?  As you answer the interview questions, cite your work and life experiences in examples to reinforce to the interviewers that you've already done what they're looking for, and you've done it successfully.
  • The interview will typically focus on the KSA's you've identified.  If the interviewers start the interview with a description of the job, you may learn more about the job.
  • Try to use the same wording as the KSA's.  If you use different wording, then you are depending on the interviewers to make the connection between the words you use and the KSA's.  For example, if the job requires someone to supervise, use the word "supervise" and not the word "manage".
  • Do you know the company and the job that you're interviewing for?  Check financial sources, annual reports, and news media for information on the company, their culture and current events.  If possible, visit the company, their stores or offices to get a sense of the culture and dress code.  
  • What salary are you seeking?  What's the appropriate salary for the job that you're seeking, for your geographic area and for your industry.  Check Salary.com for free salary information.  Don't guess.  A guess or inaccurate information can cost you real money.  To go a step further, find out what you're worth with a report based on your experience and qualifications. 
  • For each Question Bank Index category that you've matched to a KSA, review the answer tips that are either provided with the questions or at the bottom of the page.
  • Don't use limiting words, such as only or just.  For example, I "only" supervise five employees.  You're making an assumption that five employees is a small number.  The fact is that you don't know what the interviewers consider as a small number and what is a large number.
  • Use appropriate wording. You won’t receive extra points for every word that has more than 10 letters. Use technical terms only when appropriate to the question.  

  • Use action words.  Here's just a sample:

    accomplish lead
    achieve manage
    coordinate negotiate
    delegate organize
    develop prioritize
    direct  recommend
    establish reduce
    evaluate reorganize
    execute resolve
    expedite review
    expand revitalize
    implement supervise
    improve train
    increase transform
    initiate upgrade
  • Be concise, logical and to the point.  Use short sentences.

You'll find tips for your interview presentation at the Interview Game Plan.

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