What’s the best way to answer the interviewer’s questions? In this article, you will learn how to formulate the answers to a job interview to convince the recruiter that you are the candidate they are looking for.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you need to be careful and discreet. Sincerity in your answers is key, however, you don’t have to get carried away by revealing information the recruiter may not like.
This applies mostly to questions about your previous work experience, your managers, bosses and colleagues, and your career goals.
During a job interview, it is easy to get carried away by the confidence that is created with the recruiter and fall into the trap of the recruiter’s questions, especially the trick questions.
For this, you’ll need to make sure you pay attention to the things you say, the way you respond, the details you provide, and even your body language, which many times speaks louder than your words.
The recruiter has the task of getting the clearest idea possible of the candidates: he must make sure that the person who will be placed in the company will be able to perform the role in the best possible way and that his values are in line with the vision and the company’s “mission”.
Therefore, he will try to dig deep into your story, he will want to understand your personality, what your ideas are, to make sure that the right match is created between you and the company.
Let’s see how you can prepare your interview answers and impress the recruiter.
Tips for preparing to answer
Collect information on the role and the company
Before going to the interview, do extensive research on the company and the position offered. The more you know, the more you can adapt your responses to the needs of the company and the role you are going to fill.
Practice answering out loud to gain confidence and be cool in front of the recruiter. If you are comfortable, the recruiter will think that you have confidence in your abilities and that you are a good candidate for that position.
You know the facts mentioned in your resume
It seems like a trivial piece of advice, but the reality is that many candidates do not remember where they worked and for how long. You must be able to answer the interviewer’s questions about your career path promptly and in detail.
If you hesitate, the interviewer may think that you are making up the answer or that you have not prepared properly because you do not care.
Take your time
Don’t rush when answering the interviewer’s questions. Think carefully about how to formulate your answer before saying something you might later regret.
When answering interview questions, it is not enough for you to make statements. You will need to bring concrete and specific examples of situations you have faced in the workplace and how you have handled them thanks to your skills and strengths. If you want to exercise this point, I invite you to also read the aptitude interview.
Share Your Results
Many candidates are shy and afraid of being arrogant when talking about their goals at work. The reality is that talking about your results helps the recruiter understand that you are a capable candidate and that you can benefit the company. Therefore, mention your successes without shame.
Create a match between you and the company
It is not enough to mention your qualities, your skills, and your training, to convince the recruiter that you are the right one for that role. You will have to talk about how your skills match the company’s requirements and allow you to do the job at your best. For this, he carefully studies the position and needs of the company.
The best answers to a job interview are direct and concise ones. The recruiter doesn’t want to get lost in your stories. If you go off-topic he won’t get the information he needs, and you will be penalized. So when you answer, go straight to the point and be brief.
Ask for clarification
If you are unsure about the question the recruiter asks you, ask for clarification before answering. It’s okay to ask questions, otherwise, you risk giving an answer that doesn’t satisfy the recruiter’s interest.
The recruiter will dig deep into your story and may ask you questions that make you uncomfortable (trick questions). Your answers must be always focused on the positive of the situation, on the solutions, on the lessons you have learned by overcoming the difficulties. There are always critical moments in the workplace, the recruiter needs to see that you can deal with them positively.
Your answers must relate solely and exclusively to your professional skills and abilities. Don’t talk about your private life or the logistical problems that could arise due to family, children, if you get the job.
Don’t speak ill of your previous experiences
Even if, in the past, you have faced a difficult boss, a bad colleague, rude customers, never speak badly of your previous work experience. Instead, focus on how you resolved the situation, how you handled conflicts and can cope with the most challenging circumstances.
Use a thank-you letter after the interview
If you decide (as it is advisable) to send a thank-you email to the recruiter after the interview, you can use this to mention information or clarify some of your answers if you have not had the opportunity to do so during the meeting.
Frequently asked questions and strategic answers
Here is a list of frequently asked questions and how to formulate the most strategic answers.
Tell me about yourself
This is one of the most common questions in a job interview, usually the recruiter’s first question.
This is an invitation to introduce yourself. Your answer is your chance to share some information about your story with the recruiter, the most significant details of your career.
It’s also a good way to set yourself apart from other candidates. To find out more, read the article dedicated to how to answer the question Tell me about yourself.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Many candidates tremble at this question, thinking they need to reveal who knows what ambition. The reality is that the recruiter does not necessarily expect you to say that you want to become a manager or manager of the company.
If the role you applied for isn’t for a position as a manager or manager, the recruiter isn’t particularly interested in your managerial skills.
By asking this question, the recruiter wants to know what results you will be able to bring to the company, if you plan to stay, how you expect your role to evolve and if you think you can achieve your career goals in the company.
Let the recruiter understand which aspects of the job you would like to focus on to grow professionally, what your goals are, and what you aspire to.
Why should we hire it?
To answer this question, focus on the needs of the company: you must assure the recruiter that you meet all the requirements for that position and mention some other strengths that will help you bring value to the company.
The recruiter wants to know that you not only meet all company standards but that you have important assets to help achieve meaningful goals.
You can also mention a skill that the employer did not give importance to when preparing the announcement, but which in your professional experience was essential to allow you to achieve great results.
Having learned a lesson in previous jobs and sharing it with the recruiter – and therefore the company – is a very important plus for a candidate.
Why do you want this job?
In the answer to this question, you will need to express your motivation and enthusiasm for the possibility of being hired.
Even if some reasons why you want that job are location, salary, working hours, benefits, or bonuses, try to talk about reasons strictly related to the role and the company.
You need to mention those factors that will make the recruiter understand that you are ready to do a good job, that you have passion, and that you will play your role with dedication.
Let the recruiter know that the position offered is exactly what you want as the next step in your career path. Talk about how the role meets your professional needs and how your knowledge and skills will be best used in the company. The recruiter wants to know if this job means anything to you or if, in fact, you are willing to accept any kind of job.
What do you know about the company?
This question is a kind of test for the candidate. The recruiter, based on how you answer, gets a better idea of the interest you have in the position.
If what you know about the company is very little, the recruiter will assume that you don’t have a great desire to work there or that you take the interview lightly.
Candidates who are excited about the prospect of being hired to conduct extensive research into what their future employment might be. Therefore, if you want to impress the recruiter, you will need to show him/her that you have collected the most information about the company.
Why do you want to quit your job?
Pay attention to the things you say when answering this question, the recruiter tries to spot the red flags in your answer.
If you respond by saying that you hate your current boss or company, the recruiter will think that you are a problematic candidate and that you are likely to struggle with your future employer and business environment as well.
And, if you say that the reason you want to change jobs is that you are not satisfied with your current salary, even then, the recruiter will have serious doubts about you.
While the above are reasonable reasons to decide to quit your job, speak ill of your previous experiences, or imply that your drive for change is money, they are not reasons the recruiter wants to hear from you.
You will need to explain and assure the recruiter that what you do not have in your current job now, you will find it in the place you are interviewing for.
Attention: you can mention aspects that you don’t want to find in the new job, aware that the recruiter may tell you that these will be present in the place you applied for. In that case, you will understand that the company and the work do not meet your needs. Sincerity, in many situations, can save you from the risk of finding yourself in a work environment that is not suitable for you.
Why did you quit your job?
This question is capable of putting pressure on a candidate. Also, because, in most cases, you don’t leave a job until you have another proposal.
However, unforeseen events happen and circumstances are different for each of us.
Did you quit your job because you didn’t have enough time to find a new one and interview? Or maybe the company you worked for was going bankrupt, and you didn’t want to waste time waiting for the last day before closing …
Of course, there are understandable reasons that constitute necessities:
- a transfer to another city;
- family or health reasons;
- difficult or unsatisfactory working conditions (be careful how you explain these and what you say).
The key to answering this question is not to dwell on it and to be direct. The more details you include, the more likely you are to say something uncomfortable.
What is its greatest strength?
Your biggest strength to mention in an interview is what the company needs. The essential one to get good results in the job.
Don’t talk about something irrelevant to the company and the employer. For example, if you know how to have good relationships with clients, but the role offered does not require you to have contact with them, this is not an important skill to mention.
You may have several strengths, but you must choose one or a couple significant to the company. Talk about a skill that will allow you to have excellent performance and will grow the company.
How to make a good impression
Remember that in addition to answering you will have to ask the recruiter a few questions, to dispel your doubts and to show that you are interested and want to know every detail of your potential job.
Also, end the interview by asking if the recruiter has any concerns about you or would like to have some clarification.
I suggest that you do this after asking your questions so that you can tell the recruiter that you believe the position is right for you and that you want to make sure that the recruiter feels the same positive feeling too.
The recruiter will tell you if there is something that has not totally convinced him or if he needs further clarification regarding a particular topic you talked about. This might be your chance to mention something important you wish you could have said.
Your goal during the job interview is to differentiate yourself from other candidates and make the recruiter positively remember you. Even when answering questions that, in your opinion, are less relevant, be enthusiastic, and always provide details of the experiences you have had. Read on to learn how to answer interview behavioral questions.
After the interview it is advisable to send a thank-you email to the recruiter, this is a further opportunity for you to clarify some answers you have given, to add information, and to attach works or projects that highlight your uniqueness.