The most famous of all interview openers is “Tell me about yourself” otherwise known as “Who are you?”
The answer you give should roll off your tongue with confidence as it sets the tone for the rest of the interview. This is not the time to “wing it.” Know your answer well to avoid talking in circles because that could bury the interview. So script in advance and practice your answer out loud to yourself or a friend.
Having said that, you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. The answer should be natural and conversational yet confident. You could start by stating some of your top strengths that apply to any job but could be specific to the job for which you are interviewing. Which skill sets, experiences, and management traits can you highlight? The first impression answers will stick with the interviewer.
The following question will most likely arise as it is an old standard that still catches people off guard if not prepared: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Being asked to state your “Long Term” goals is an open-ended question that will surely through you off balance if you don’t think of it in advance. This question is intended to check on your self-awareness and how organized you are in your own life. Some people flat-out know the answer but most people who go through life without long-term plans don’t stand a chance of successfully answering this question without some forethought.
Think about what you want in life. Experts will always tell you that a key to success is your ability to set and achieve goals – both short-term and long-term. So start with stating the short-term goal: to land this perfect job RIGHT NOW as it is an important part of your long-range plan. But be sure to be ready to answer the direct interview question of “Where do you see yourself in five years?” If you use the present to help formulate the future, it demonstrates your focus on a successful career. This must come from what is important to you. If you can focus it around this prospective new employer, you have a better chance of steering the interview in the right direction.
And lastly, “WHY” as in, “Why should we hire you?”
This interview question can be gold in your hands. Know this answer well because it’s a prime opportunity to sell yourself in the right light. Think of yourself as a “product” in a store and convince the customer to buy you. Develop a solid “sales” statement with some depth, meaning, and detail. This is not a time to talk about what you want, but a time to summarize your relevant accomplishments and what makes you unique above the competition.
So how do you most successfully prepare to answer the three most dreaded but standard questions? Simply start by studying the job description. Does the posting stress specific requirements? Go through the job description line by line to identify where your own skills and background apply and make a list of what you have to offer as the best candidate as they relate to the specific requirements.
Identify two or three of your key qualities to match what the employer is seeking. Don’t underestimate personal traits that make you unique – your energy, personality type, working style, and people skills.
You want to set yourself apart from other candidates and by walking through this exercise with focus and concentration, your answers to these key interview questions will result in a smooth presentation. It’s not possible to anticipate all the questions the interviewer will ask, but full preparation is critical. Know WHO you are, WHAT you want, and WHY you are the best choice for the job!
Marc Berlin – The “Job Interviewing Coach” http://www.jobinterviewingcoach.com -Â Marc relates to each client personally with passion and expertise cultivated through a rich background of knowledge and hands-on experience. His skills are formed from 22 years in career coaching, sales training development, executive sales management and over 3,000 interviews he personally planned and conducted. Studying under the top career and job coaches in the business, Marc is certified in powerful, interrelated fields toward guiding you in how to succeed in job interviewing: -Certified Dale Carnegie Course Trainer -Certified Interview Coach -Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) -PSS Certified Master Trainer -BS/BA Management Communications -Certified Sales Trainer from BTU. As a job interview coach, Marc intimately knows the process of personal discussion that goes into preparing for and performing exceptionally well in interviews. It is an art to him-the nature of interview questions and the optimum answers to articulate in the time available. Marc approaches this art with verbal skills and with a background in writing and teaching on the hiring communication process. Marc authored three training manuals covering interviewing, hiring and sales training for Fortune 1000 companies.