3 Tricks to Answering Interview Questions Better

Published: Aug 26, 2016

 Interviewing       Job Search       
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When answering interview questions in any type of interview, you need a good grasp of your work and educational history, along with concrete examples to provide to your interviewer showing that you're the right person for the job. In addition, you can also use some techniques that will help you answer interview questions even better.

1. Answer plus one.

Freddie Cheek of Cheek & Cristantello Career Connections recommends using one technique called "answer plus one." This technique allows you to answer the question asked but also introduce an additional skill or selling point that you want to be sure to mention during the interview. Say that you are a recent graduate and want to discuss your project leadership skills, but the question you are asked about is what kinds of relevant coursework you took during college. You could say, "I took list classes, AND as the project leader of a parking lot design team (name project) in Civil Engineering 401 (name of class) I was able to direct our team to develop the only project later used and developed by the city." This way you answer the question but also demonstrate that you have leadership skills, something you would not have mentioned had you answered by just listing courses.

2. Trait plus answer.

Cheek also recommends a similar technique, "trait plus answer." This technique is used when discussing "soft skills," or personality traits, that are easy to talk about but rarely quantified in an interview. This technique allows you to say, I'm [name soft skill] because I do [name action demonstrating the trait]. For example, you may include somewhere in an answer, "I'm trustworthy because I regularly work with large amounts of money unsupervised in my role as sales associate." Cheek says, "Validate the skill by backing it up with actions, duties, and responsibilities that you provide."

3. Show that you're a job filler.

A third recommendation that Cheek likes to give is to present ways in which you are a job filler. In other words, show that you meet the needs of the company. Ask the interviewers to describe the ideal candidate (when you are asked if you have any questions for your interviewer), and then speak to how you meet the requirements. You can also ask what other candidates have been lacking, and show that you have those skills. And you can ask about the main projects that will be taking place immediately in the position, and then talk about how your experience is directly related to that kind of work.

Employers want to know what you can do for them. Using these techniques not only will demonstrate what you can do, but they will also help you to control the direction of the interview in your favor.

This post was adapted from the new Vault Guide to Resumes and Job-Hunting Skills.

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