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From “Good” to “Great” – How to Take Your Interview Answers to the Next Level

Just like your resume, your interview answers can be bland basics that are quickly forgotten – or they can offer concrete evidence of your competence and ability to contribute to the employer’s goals. Specific, focused answers answer the hiring manager’s number one question: “What’s in it for me? Why should we hire this person?” They move from merely “good” solid answers to “great” unforgettable ones, and send you to the top of the candidate list.

Here’s how to improve your answer to any interview question and prepare to shine:

  1. Match the job description with your strengths. Sit down with the job description and underline every item listed that matches your specific strengths or that you can demonstrate competence in by pointing to a specific project, task, or accomplishment. Use these as the basis for your prepared interview answers. You’ll want to focus on telling stories that demonstrate your ability to deliver on each of these points, and use them as the basis of your response to questions like “What are your greatest strengths?” or “Tell us about yourself.”
  2. Get specific. For each strength, find at least one specific, detailed example. For instance, if the job description requires you to find new sales leads, don’t merely prepare an answer that says “I know how to find new sales leads.” Instead, pull out the numbers: “I increased our sales list by ten percent in my first quarter on the job.” Those little numbers make a big difference when it comes to helping the interviewer remember you in a positive way.
  3. Tell stories. Many interview questions ask you to talk about past work or past instances in which you’ve conflicted with a colleague, missed a deadline, or tackled another challenge. Plan ahead by practicing interview answers that tell these stories and that work in your specific details. To keep your answers short and to the point, use the “CAR” structure: Describe the Challenge you faced, name the Action you took, then describe the Result.

At ExecuTeam Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help you prepare for a standout interview that underlines your value to your dream employer. Contact us today to learn more.


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