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3 Essentials for Answering Interview Opening Questions

3 Essentials for Answering Interview Opening Questions

3 Essentials for Answering Interview Opening Questions

The job interview is a ritualistic dance in which the best partners whirl away with the glittering prizes. Learn the steps and you too can dance the dance… your partner in the dance is the interviewer, who will lead with tough questions that contain subtleties hidden from the untrained ear.
Martin John Yate, Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions

From my experience of chairing interview panels, debriefing candidates post-interview, talking to recruiters about what great candidates do, and of course being interviewed plenty of times myself, here’s an observation.

In the vast majority of job interviews, the opening question is a broad, open-ended question that is asking for more that it might seem; typical variants of this type of question include;

  • Tell us about yourself
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why should we hire you?

Questions like these can be a nightmare for the unprepared interviewee, and a gift for the prepared one.

From an interviewers perspective, they can provide a quick way of assessing a number of things.

  • How confident, articulate and enthusiastic you are
  • How you match the impression of you they have picked up from your written application
  • How you describe yourself and your achievements
  • How well you have researched and understood the job description
  • How well you have researched their organisation
  • What motivates you at work and how you see your future developing

So what should you include in your answer to ensure the best possible chance of positively conveying all of the above. Here are three elements that you should always to include in your answer;

1. What’s great about the organisation
You will want them to know that you are someone who can add value to the organisation and who identifies with what they stand for. A great way to do this convincingly is to demonstrate that you have done your research about them. For example, you might use some of the words and phrases they have used in the ‘about us’ section of their website; facts about what they have achieved; or citing positive comments you have seen or heard about the organisation (e.g via reviews on Glassdoor)

2. What’s great about the role
You will want to demonstrate your suitability for the role by showing your clear knowledge and understanding of the role and highlighting the particular aspects that appeal to you. For example, ‘I really like the fact that I can work across different project teams’ or ‘I like the balance between customer facing work and backroom planning tasks’

3. What’s great about about you and the value you can add to the organisation

You should make sure that you highlight, skills, experience, knowledge, and achievements that directly link to the specifics of the job role and the vision and mission of the organisation. For example, ‘I know that negotiating is a really important part of the job, and in my role at xxxx I negotiated with external suppliers and was able to help generate £xxxx of savings’ , or ‘I have shown my flexibility and commitment by being willing to change shifts, and cover for absent staff at short notice on several occasions’

One of the best ways to get really confident at answering these and other common interview questions is to practice, practice, practice…….

In one of my intensive interview preparation and practice interview sessions, I can take you through some of the most common interview questions, tailored to the job you are applying for, and help you develop specific and convincing answers that will help you to nail the interview. Get in touch to book a session.

Paul's Pricing Guide

Discovery Session
20 minutes - No commitment

Free

Career Consultations -
Includes email follow up & career resources

£50

Job Interview Preparation -
Interview preparation consultation

£45

Job Application checks
Includes free guide to social media networking for emloyment

£35

 

Job Interview Success and Fine Margins

Job Interview Success and Fine Margins

Job Interview Success and Fine Margins

Job Interview SuccessUsain Bolt is famous the world over for his extraordinary athletic exploits. As the overwhelming favourite, he successfully defended his 100m title at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, running a mind-boggling 9.81 seconds. In the same race, US athlete Trayvon Bromell finished the race in 10.6 seconds-less than a second behind Bolt. As an illustration of how tight margins between winning and losing can be this takes some beating. It becomes even more incredible when you take in the fact that Bromell finished 8 th (and last) with six other athletes finishing between Bolt and Bromell!

If you’re actively job seeking, margins can also be incredibly tight. In my experience this can often be true for when it comes to job interviews.

A few years ago, I chaired a job interview panel to appoint to a newly created post in my team. There were three of us on the panel and three candidates invited for interview. All three candidates performed very well.

So, after the interviews, the panel conferred on who to appoint.

I asked my fellow panellists to identify their strongest candidate and then I disclosed mine. Each of us thought a different candidate was the best. Each of us was able to put up a persuasive argument for their preferred candidate. Each candidate had skills, knowledge or experience relevant to the job that the others didn’t. At this point we expressed our wish that we had three jobs to offer rather than one!

What ensued was a further discussion for the best part of an hour. We wanted to do the best thing by us (pick the ‘right’ candidate), and to do the best thing by the interviewees (really look at all aspects of what each candidate could offer for the role).

We made our decision and the person we appointed was a great success in the job. I have no idea what happened to the other candidates after that, but we gave them good feedback and let them know they had been in serious contention, and I hope and expect they will have gone on to do very well.

The moral of the story is that the margins between getting the job or not at interview can be incredibly tight. You can deliver an excellent interview performance and still not get the job. All you can really do is maximise your chances by being as prepared and positive about yourself as possible, because the right answer at the right time; a really good example of your ability or knowledge, or being able to put over your most confident and relaxed demeanour(not easy I know) may just swing things in your favour.

Get in touch and I’ll help you to maximise your chances of being on the right side of those fine margins!

Paul's Pricing Guide

Discovery Session
20 minutes - No commitment

Free

Career Consultations -
Includes email follow up & career resources

£50

Job Interview Preparation -
Interview preparation consultation

£45

Job Application checks
Includes free guide to social media networking for emloyment

£35