How to give great interview answers

Posted on December 19th, by Dr Rob Yeung .

Over the years, I’ve trained a lot of interviewers in how to interview. I’ve interviewed candidates myself too.

But I’m also a gamekeeper turned poacher as I’ve coached job hunters who want to present themselves better at interview. Unfortunately, it still amazes me how badly most candidates come across – even though they may actually have great experience and skills. Thankfully, I’ve seen many candidates go from merely adequate at interviews to being really good.

There are some so-called experts who say that your body language is the most important thing in performing well at interview. But it is not! The most important factor in determining interview success is the extent to which you can showcase your skills and abilities.

Interviewing well is about telling compelling stories about yourself – giving examples of how you applied your skills in the past

I filmed a series of videos for my book How To Win: The Argument, the Pitch, the Job, the Race. If you want to improve your chances of getting that next job, you might want to watch this short video – it’s less than 4 minutes long!

Often, interviewers may ask you very general questions (e.g. “How would you describe your style of management?”) or hypothetical questions (e.g. “What would you do if one of your colleagues disagreed strongly with your point of view?”) However, I still recommend that you give specific examples of how you coped with similar situations. That’s because concrete examples are much more memorable than generalised responses. When you talk about something you actually did, you become more credible.

So answer general or hypothetical questions briefly, but then go on to give an example. Answering the two questions above, you might start off with something like: “I’d describe my style of management as being positive but firm when necessary. For example, I recently had to…” and “It’s interesting that you ask me about disagreement because one of my colleagues recently had a completely different perspective on an issue…”

Interviewing well is about preparation, preparation, preparation. So will you prepare good stories to showcase your skills?

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