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Your resume and cover letter may have landed you a job interview, but the job’s not yours just yet. Job interviews are part of the important screening process employers use to weed out weaker candidates and identify the best fit for the job. Job interview questions are tailored to help employers discern your strengths, weakness and what you bring to the table in a professional climate. Answering questions the correct way emphasizes your ability to communicate in the workplace, highlights your strengths and helps build rapport with the interview panel.
Interviewers value directness from job seekers. Long, rambling answers aren’t the correct way to answer interview questions, because they create the impression that you’re avoiding an actual response and waste valuable time. For the best interview answer, state your response directly and succinctly without unnecessary reiteration or storytelling. You can follow up your response by asking the interviewers whether they’d like to hear more details. If relevant, interviewers may grant you a few more minutes to elaborate your response. If they’ve already gotten the point, they will move on to the next question.
Answering job interview questions correctly always involves honesty. Fudging facts, white lies and outright fibbing may get you fired should employers learn that you weren’t honest during the job interview. Many job interviewers spend enough time talking with potential candidates that they’re able to identify when you’re stretching the truth, whether it’s through body language, word choice or other clues. Admit when you’ve been asking something to which you don’t know the response -- for example, if you’ve been asked about an industry technique that you’ve never heard of -- but describe how you would go about finding the answer. If your professional history include sensitive subjects that should be handled carefully during an interview, practice with a friend until you find an acceptable, truthful response.
Correctly answer job interview questions by being prepared. Visit the company’s website to research its history, key players, mission statement, recent accomplishments and stated goals. Talk with professionals in the same field before the interview to get a sense of current topics, buzz words and important trends. Infusing your answers with correct statistics, details and research-based evaluations demonstrates knowledge and interest in the field.
During the job interview, employers listen to the way you answer questions, but they’re also monitoring how you present yourself in professional communication. Actions sometimes do speak louder than words, so sit up straight, maintain confident but natural eye contact and take the time to breathe. This helps deter rushing, and will increase your relaxation so that you’re able to develop stronger responses. If facing multiple interviewers, make sure to address each person at the table with a smile. When possible, film yourself sitting at a table answering practice interview questions. You may be startled to notice over-animated speech, false smiles or other tics related to nervousness that can be eliminated before the actual job interview.
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Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.