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Secret Tips to Answering Job Interview Questions

Job interview questions

Job interviews can be terrifying for a number of reasons.
It could be the fact that in some cases, your very livelihood depends on you landing a particular job, or it could just be just an important move you need to make in order to progress in your career.
Either way, they’re definitely not anyone’s favourite hobby.
However, the primary reason most people actually dread job interviews is because they simply don’t know what the recruiter or employer is looking for.

Job interviews are actually a lot like a business deal – you’re not simply there to be interrogated.
Just as the company is qualifying you, you are qualifying them to see if they’ll be a good fit for you.
In order to have any chance of getting a particular job, you need to be answering their questions the right way, using the correct keywords, as well as asking the right questions.

To do this, you first need to decipher the hidden meaning behind these job interview questions.

Let me back up a bit.

I’ve worked as a recruiter for over 11 years, and in that time I’ve had to write quite a large number of job ads and job interview questions. The job ads on SEEK, that was me. The interview guide questions that were being used, also me.

When we recruiters are writing job ads or asking you questions in interviews, most of the questions have an underlying purpose: to find out who this person really is underneath.

So how can you prove to them that you’ll be a good fit?

By understanding the layers of the question. The more layers you identify, the better you are able to tick off the checklist for the job.

So what does this mean?
Well, there are a few different categories of questions, and they all serve a different purpose.

How Motivated Are You?

These questions typically take the form of ‘tell me about yourself’, ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’, or ‘what made you want to apply for this role/company’.

They want to see how much you know about the company and the role, so giving general replies is not the way to go. Instead, talk about what really spoke to you about the role, and why you think the company is a good fit for you.

Can You Perform?

Past behaviour is a predictor for future behaviour and abilities. This doesn’t necessarily mean the behaviour is within the same job or industry, but you need to demonstrate the ability to be able to overcome the challenges that are typical in the role you’ve applied for.

‘Tell me about a time…’, ‘Give me a situation…’, ‘when was the…’ are some examples of assessing your abilities.

Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

‘Tell me about your biggest weakness’, ‘Do you have any questions for us’ are the ones a lot of recruiters and employers finish off with.

They are assessing your ability to be self-aware and show self-improvement. So the questions seem quite straight forward, but are digging deep into how well you know yourself currently, and in the future.

Of course, there are a large variety of questions you can be asked in a job interview, and this article really only scratches the surface of these, but it’ll hopefully give you a better understanding of the interview process as a whole.

As counter intuitive as this might sound, in most cases, the questions themselves aren’t what you should be focusing on. It’s actually far more important to see past the facade and try to pinpoint WHY the interviewer is asking that particular question.
Think outside the box a bit and try to ascertain what they actually what to discover about you. Every question has a purpose – so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a random question because it never is.

If it helps, think of a job interview as an important business meeting where both parties need to make an effort to sell themselves to each other. In this way, you can begin to twist your replies cleverly to answer the key question behind every job interview question – What makes you the best fit for the company?

Until next time,
Thai Ngo.

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