Friday, May 24, 2024

How To Answer Interview Questions Effectively

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How Would You Rate Your Communication Skills On A Scale Of One To 10

How to answer interview questions EFFECTIVELY

This direct question enables an interviewer to evaluate your communication skills. Consider giving an example to demonstrate why your rating is accurate.

Example:”I feel I’m an excellent communicator, so I’d give myself nine out of 10. I’m happy to cold-call customers and try to persuade them to take special offers. I’m also good at starting conversations and listening actively when someone is speaking. Practicing open-body language helps me convey positive nonverbal cues, and I have experience expressing myself clearly and concisely in reports.”

What Did You Like Most About Your Last Position

Knowing what you enjoyed about your last position can offer employers insight to your motivations, personality and whether you will enjoy the position available. To answer this question, focus on positives, speak to work rather than people, explain how it prepared you for this new position and reasons why moving to this role is the right choice.

Example answer:It was a great entry-level position at a start-up agency. Not only was I learning more about marketing, but management was also very transparent, teaching us a great deal about owning a business. It was a very collaborative atmosphere, and the team and I worked together on almost every project. Everyone’s weak point was countered by another’s strong point. I learned more working there than I ever did in college, and I’m excited to apply these skills to a new position.

Read more: Interview Question: “What Did You Like Most About Your Job?”

If You Were An Animal Which One Would You Want To Be

Seemingly random personality-test type questions like these come up in interviews because hiring managers want to see how you can think on your feet. Theres no wrong answer here, but youll immediately gain bonus points if your answer helps you share your strengths or personality or connect with the hiring manager. Pro tip: Come up with a stalling tactic to buy yourself some thinking time, such as saying, Now, that is a great question. I think I would have to say

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Have You Written Instructions For Someone To Follow Before

Clearly written instructions can help to make work easier for the person who needs to follow it. Interviewers ask this question to test your written communication skills.

Example:”Last year, I took a two-week leave to recover from an illness. Before my break began, I left instructions on how to use one of our systems. I made sure I explained each step and included screenshots of the required process to follow. Two days later, I received an appreciative message from my assistant for simplifying the process with my instructions.”

When Faced With A Problem During A Work Task How Do You Determine The Best Course Of Action

How to Answer Interview Questions Effectively

Inevitably, problems appear throughout the workday for everyone, and the interviewer wants to understand how you handle an unexpected challenge. They use this question to assess your ability to address unanticipated issues during your daily tasks and the process you use to solve them independently. This question also evaluates your ability to analyze the pros and cons of various solutions and your reasoning for choosing a specific course of action. When responding to this question, remember the five steps of problem-solving to craft your answer.

Example answer:”When faced with a problem during my daily tasks, I first figure out how or why the problem occurred. I will brainstorm ideas of how I can proceed. Once I have a few ideas, I’ll assess the pros and cons of each to make the best choice to overcome the problem. I’ll then take that specific course of action. Afterwards, I’ll reflect to see what went well and what I could improve next time.”

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Explain A Gap In Your Employment

Sometimes a gap in your employment or career is inevitable. If there is a gap in your employment, you might be asked for an explanation.

A gap in employment can arise due to many factors such as being laid off, getting fired, inability to find a suitable job, going back to school, resignation and relocation.

Other factors for a gap are taking a sabbatical, volunteering, career change, sickness/medical reasons, taking care of a loved one or taking time to start a family or raise children.

Any of the above items is a valid reason. Briefly and honestly mention the reason for the gap and highlight that you are looking forward to rejoin the workforce with great energy to make a positive contribution in your new role.


I was out of work for 6 months last year to pursue an intensive Creative Design certification course.

I realized that I needed to invest in this training and knowledge to stay up to date with state of the art technology changes in the design field and to position myself for future high level and high impact positions in my field.

I look forward to test-driving my new skills in this position.

How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is aimed at helping you to get better in one or more areas of your professional life.

Welcoming constructive criticism signifies your willingness to change, grow and improve.

Areas of improvement can include your skills, performance, work habits and relationships with coworkers or with supervisors.

When receiving constructive feedback, avoid being defensive, argumentative, getting angry or making excuses.

Maintain your composure and stay calm.

Take time to listen keenly, seek clarification or more specifics, and absorb the suggestions and recommendations.

Make a genuine effort to put the feedback into practice.

Remember to thank the person who took their time to offer constructive feedback.

Accepting constructive feedback helps you to be more self-aware about your weaknesses and blind spots.

You get to perceive how others see your shortcomings when they offer genuine criticisms.

Make it a practice to actively seek constructive criticism to help you improve in your job and career.


I have regular one-on-one weekly meetings with my supervisor where I proactively request for constructive criticisms with an aim of improving my work performance.

I welcome constructive feedback because it helps me to take steps to correct and improve upon areas where I fall short of expectations.

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Why Do Companies Ask Problem

Companies ask problem-solving questions during an interview for several reasons. A problem-solving question allows the interviewer to evaluate your ability to gather data, analyze a situation, develop several solutions, weigh the pros and cons of each, and decide the final outcome.

Interviewers use this form of questioning to determine if you are proactive in your approach to handling work-related challenges and whether you are goal and results-oriented. Interviewers use analytical questions based on the theory that previous results indicate your potential future behaviour. When using problem-solving questions for this reason, the interviewer is more interested in your thought and reasoning process than whether you have a “right” or “wrong” response.

A company also uses problem-solving questions during an interview to assess your knowledge of an industry-specific process, procedure, or technology. When using analytical questions for this reason, the interviewer wants to evaluate your understanding of a particular topic and your analytical reasoning. Interviewers will ask problem-solving questions during an interview for this reason when the position is highly technical or when the job requires a firm command of data analysis or , such as within IT or engineering sectors.

Stay Present In The Conversation

Job Interview Questions and Answers | Learn How to answer job interview questions effectively

It’s common to feel distracted or unfocused if you’re uncertain about how to answer a question. Feeling uncertain may cause you to lose confidence in your response, which may distract you from thinking through solutions. To overcome this challenge, try to remain calm by using stress management skills. For example, you can use deep breathing exercises to help you focus on a response to an interview question. Another option is to focus on the speaker’s cues instead of your own thought process, then think aloud a response.

Related:What Are Self-Regulations Skills?

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Question: Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years

Employers dont necessarily care to hear that you expect to climb the corporate ladder and be a supervisor.

If the job youre interviewing for is not a supervisor, they probably are not concerned about your management skills. You can share how you have been a mentor to others and led projects with little to no supervision. That should indicate you have leadership potential.

Focus on them: In five years, you should have made a significant impact to the companys bottom line. Think about how you can achieve this in the role you are interviewing for. In technology careers, advancing your skills is important, too. You should be able to share what areas you want to strengthen in the near term .

When Have You Taken Initiative At Work

Respond to this interview question by highlighting an example of a time when you took initiative at work.

Explain what you did and why you did it then discuss the results of your actions.

To identify the instances where you took initiative, think about any processes that you have developed, simplified or improved at work.

Likewise, think about areas where you have helped the company to save time, money or other resources.

In addition, think about new skills that you have proactively worked on acquiring or improving through training courses or on the job training.

Taking initiative entails going the extra mile at work.

It involves going over and above your normal duties to make a difference or a positive impact to the company.

It is seeing or identifying something that needs to be done and going ahead to do it or seeking the proper approval to proceed with your plan.

Your ability to take initiative at work can help you to stand out.

Having initiative shows that you are self-driven and determined to succeed in your job.

How do you show initiative at work?

Ways of taking initiative include: proposing new ideas, solutions or strategies and proposing new products or services or improving upon current ones.

Others ways of showing initiative are giving suggestions or recommendations, planning and forecasting, volunteering for assignments and projects, following-up, brainstorming with coworkers and pitching-in to help others.

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Forcing A Situation To Fit

Of course, youve been practicing before your interview. And, youve probably come up with a few examples of success you can use during the interview using the STAR method.

However, its easy to think, well, one of these stories will work, when, in fact, they wont. Rather than listening to the question and coming up with an answer on the spot, you may be tempted to use one of your practice answers and hope it works.

But, instead of demonstrating to the interviewer that youve got what it takes, all it shows is that you arent listening and dont really have the skills they want.

Its better to say something like, Well, Ive never encountered that before. But, if I had, heres what I would do, then use the STAR method to explain how you would deal with it, using examples of what you have done in similar situations.

Do You Have Any Questions

The most powerful interview question not used effectively

This might be one of the most important questions asked during the interview process because it allows you to explore any topics that havent been addressed and shows the interviewer youre serious about the role. Remember that you are interviewing the company too. Take time to ask the interviewer questions about their own experiences with the company, gain tips on how you can succeed if hired and address any lingering questions you have. Some examples include:

  • What do you love most about working for this company?

  • What would success look like in this role?

  • What are some of the challenges people typically face in this position?

  • How important is it that you hire someone with XYZ qualities?

  • Do you have any hesitations about hiring me?

Read more: Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions?

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How Do You Work Under Pressure

Many jobs involve moments when, for varied reasons, there are unexpected situations that require swift action. The ability to stay calm, think logically and act correctly in such a scenario is a major asset.

This is another good instance of when to use the STAR method to talk about a specific time you were faced with a challenge, might have succumbed to stress but managed to calmly find a solution.

Example answer:Throughout my career, Ive discovered how to embrace working under pressure. I find that routine can make us complacent, so I try to look for challenges that push me to grow.

One time, I was supposed to deliver a project to a client in five days. A colleague who was working with another client had the same deadline, but he had to take a leave of absence due to personal reasons. I was forced to take up both projects at the same time. While I felt an initial sense of panic, I tried to reframe it as an opportunity to see what I might be capable of. Instead of letting the stress get to me, I came up with a very detailed time management plan and found new ways to boost my efficiency that enabled me to deliver both projects on time.

Read more: Interview Question: “How Do You Work Under Pressure?”

How Would Your Former Colleagues Describe You

Pick at least three words that your former workmates would use to describe you.

Ideally these descriptions or traits would be a reflection of your key strengths and how you work and interact with co-workers and other stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, vendors, management etc.

Examples of descriptors could include focused, creative, helpful, responsible, proactive, honest, dependable, passionate, resourceful, strategic, tireless, team-player, problem-solver and persistent.

Others include ambitious, enthusiastic, cordial, good-natured, supportive, organized, courteous, accountable, committed, detail-oriented, hardworking, self-motivated and flexible.

Explain briefly why your colleagues would describe you the way you say they will.

Give a little background, supporting information, story or example for each trait you mention.


My former colleagues would describe me as reliable, collaborative and committed.

Each time I had an individual or group assignment I ensured that I understood the requirements and sought clarification as needed.

I then got down to work with zeal and sought others input as necessary.

I constantly kept my team updated and kept working until the task was done and fed my team with high quality and timely results.

Additionally, I always had a history of sharing credit and successes with colleagues.

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What Should I Know Thats Not On Your Resume

Its a good sign if a recruiter or hiring manager is interested in more than just whats on your resume. It probably means they looked at your resume, think you might be a good fit for the role, and want to know more about you. To make this wide-open question a little more manageable, try talking about a positive trait, a story or detail that reveals a little more about you and your experience, or a mission or goal that makes you excited about this role or company.

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How Many Tennis Balls Can You Fit Into A Limousine

3 Structures for effectively answering questions

1,000? 10,000? 100,000? Seriously? Well, seriously, you might get asked brain-teaser questions like these, especially in quantitative jobs. But remember that the interviewer doesnt necessarily want an exact numberthey want to make sure that you understand whats being asked of you, and that you can set into motion a systematic and logical way to respond. So take a deep breath and start thinking through the math.

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What Can You Bring To This Role

This is key, because its one of a few typical interview questions that gives you a chance to really sell yourself and all your relevant skills. Regardless of whether or not you have any professional experience in a similar role, you can still talk about the skills you picked up during your degree, an internship or part-time job. Try to relate these skills to the role you are interviewing for. For example, your part time job might have taught you how to work well in a team, as well as how to build strong professional relationships with your colleagues and clients.

If youve already been offered an interview, the chances are that the interviewer is aware of what experience you have and sees potential in you. Provide examples of times when youve utilized the skills theyre looking for in a different context. If youre a new graduate, nows the chance to highlight all the transferable skills you gained during your degree, such as analytical ability, written and spoken communication skills and IT mastery, to name but a few.

Do You Have A Scoring Rubric

Deciding how to score your interview question can sometimes be just as challenging as writing it. To introduce objectivity and reduce bias, you can introduce test cases that should each count towards the candidates final grade. You may want to weight these tests differently so that more complex tests have a bigger contribution towards a candidates final score. You might also decide that some of the tests should be hidden, while others should be shown to the candidate as they complete the task.

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Use The Star Method To Shine In Your Interview

Congratulations, you got the interview! But, how do you wow the interviewer with your stellar skills and experience without sounding inauthentic? Standing out from a crowded pack of applicants can be difficult, but there are ways to show potential employers that youre a qualified candidate. The STAR method of interviewing can be an important tool for providing context behind the major wins in your career.

Whats more, not only will the STAR interview method help you stand out, its also an effective way to show the interviewer that youve got the skills for the joband the results to prove it.

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