In sequence with “The Tale of an Efficient Resume”, up next is “The Tale of an Efficient Job Search” which will post as several different blog articles to fully encompass the process. In this article you can expect to refresh or learn about commonly used interview questions and the best ways to answer them. Anxiety is often running high in the interview setting, therefore preparation is a no brainer! Take the accountability and set yourself up for success.
If you have been following along with my social media posts, there have been daily questions, but for your ease, each one will be listed in this article, so here we go! First things first is how to answer questions most effectively. One commonly used approach is the STAR format. While on the surface this format seems to encompass a lot of information for the interviewee to spit out, it ensures touching on all aspects of the answer the interviewer wants to hear.
S-Situation: Explain the layout of the situation. It may be fresh in your head, but the interviewer needs some background in order to understand exactly what message you are trying to leave.
T-Task: What were you trying to accomplish in this situation? Lay clear ground work as to the overall goal and this will help close R with a bang!
A-Action: What action did you take in order to conquer and complete this task?
R-Result: You had X task as a responsibility, you took Y action in order to make it happen, which lead to Z result!
You can see how it all comes together using this structure. Let’s discuss some questions to expect and how they will fit.
The most common opener is “Tell me about yourself”. Not only will it get you to do the talking, it is a simple way for the interviewer to ease into their groove also. Ask about the expectations for the question. Inquire if they’re looking for something specific or if you should summarize your resume. Assuming they indicate the latter, pick important details and avoid reading line by line. Include education, work experience with major influential moments and any other miscellaneous activities with relevance to the role.
Describe a time when you faced adversity. Break out the STAR format here as you will be able to easily loop in the outcome during the “result” phase. An example is a deadline quickly approaching, but there were still objections for the project and what you did to expedite progress to finish promptly. Each industry and role is accompanied by its own set of adverse situations, so the potential here is sky high.
Biggest Disappointment or Failure
Give me an example of the biggest disappointment or failure you have had to deal with. This question may be uncomfortable, but be prepared to answer it. The key is to conclude with adjustments made to never experience that failure again. What skills have you gained to overcome this challenge in the future and what have you learned? Turn the surface level negative into a positive.
Tell me about your adaptability. Can you roll with the punches? Can you change direction at the drop of a coin? Be ready to discuss your skill to be versatile. One major trait an employer is looking to hire is the dynamic ability to rapidly accept change and apply it to the work.
Describe in detail a day in your current role. Discuss from start to finish what your daily operations look like. It is important to remember an activity seemingly mundane to you (because you have been doing it for years) is new to the interviewer so be detailed. Talk about responsibilities, different challenges that arise and ultimately what the goal of your workday is.
Tell me about an accomplishment due to your consistency. Regardless of industry, consistency is another top trait an employer is looking for in their workforce. Have an example prepared that led to a successful endpoint or how consistency has always been a factor in your success and why. Consistency is hands down a factor to increasing a candidate’s hireability.
What is your greatest weakness? Another question posing some uncomfortable feelings, but don’t evade preparing for it. Choose a topic you’re actively working to improve and admit you are not perfect. Avoid speaking about something that is a primary function of the role you’re applying for. An interview is one of the primary sources for leaving an impression on how you can make a difference in their organization, therefore strategize effectively with this question.
Tell me about an initiative for improvement you created. Time to shine! End goal of this question is to learn if you have displayed out of the box thinking and had the courage to spearhead the project. If you’re not sure how to answer this question, start thumbing through old emails and recover a lead you took to change the outcome of a project.
These eight questions are just a small tester of questions that could be fired off during a phone or face to face interview. As mentioned earlier, applying the STAR format to answer thoroughly will take you down the path to success. For more interview strategies and tips, follow my IG @buildyourbest_withbec and check back for the next blog article!
Rebecca Wagner - I actively find flow through unparalleled focus on propelling the careers of others. These posts will help to share my thought processes about development, self-awareness and growth.