How to Answer Interview Questions

Three Methods:Preparing for Interview QuestionsMaintaining Composure for Interview QuestionsSample Questions and Answers

Most people find themselves an interview subject at some point in their lives, whether they are interviewing for a job, an admission to school or for an article in the local newspaper. Interviews can be stressful, but being prepared and composed will increase your chances of a successful interview. Answer interview questions by anticipating what you will be asked and delivering thoughtful, articulate responses.

Method 1
Preparing for Interview Questions

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    Research the company you are interviewing with and establish the purpose of your interview. This will help you anticipate the questions you may be asked.
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    Expect standard interview questions. Most interviews will include typical questions, and rehearsing your answers ahead of the interview will keep you prepared.
    • Prepare a concise answer to "Tell me about yourself." This question is almost always asked in one form or another. You do not need to talk about birth to present day. Have a few personal and professional highlights to offer.
    • Explain why you want to leave your current job. Employers want to know what makes you look elsewhere as an employee. Keep your answer positive and do not complain about your current job.
    • Practice a response to "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" You will also probably be asked about career goals and past experiences.
    • Decide how you will respond to "What are your weaknesses" or "Describe the worst job/boss you have ever had." Turning negatives into positives will help you stand out at the interview.
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    Think about how others would describe you. This question often comes up in interviews. Talk about your best qualities without sounding arrogant.
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    Use specific examples. Your answers should include specifics whenever possible. For example, if you are asked why you want to work for Company X or attend School Y, be ready to cite a current program that interests you or an exciting mentor you would like to work with.
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    Respond with flexibility to salary questions. This is awkward for many people. If you are asked what you want to earn, provide a range.
    • Explain why you might be taking a pay cut. Some employers might find this suspicious, so be ready to point out how benefits or work/life balance are more important to you at this point in your career.

Method 2
Maintaining Composure for Interview Questions

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    Take it slow. When you are asked a question, do not respond right away. Take a breath and think about the question before you answer.
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    Pay attention to body language. Sit up straight and make sure you look attentive. This will demonstrate confidence when you answer interview questions.
    • Try not to use a lot of wild hand or arm gestures. This can indicate nervousness or unpredictability.
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    Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question. This is better than giving a nonsensical response that does not match the question.
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    Watch your use of industry jargon. You want to demonstrate you know the business, but it is important to talk like a regular person when you are interviewing.
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    Show up well-groomed and a few minutes early. When you feel like you look good, you will answer interview questions confidently and you do not want to rush to get to the interview on time.

Sample Questions and Answers

Interview Tips and Tricks


  • Remember what the interview really has to prove. You need to demonstrate you are competent and ready for the job, school or assignment you are interviewing for. Clever answers will be appreciated, but not as much as specific examples of past experience and articulate goals for the future.

Article Info

Categories: Interview Skills