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How To Answer Job Interview Questions

Much of this site is dedicated to helping you anticipate which questions you might be asked, so that you can prepare the answers in advance. This article however is focused more on some best practices for how to answer job interview questions.

Take Your Time

Your natural inclination during an interview will be to respond to a question as quickly as possible to 'prove' to the interviewer that you know your stuff. Often this is not how you want to answer a job interview question.

Remember this: A good answer is better than a quick answer.

Some simple things that you can do to make sure you don't rush your answers are to be aware of your breathing, and try to take a breath before responding to the interviewer. It sounds silly but it forces you to slow down a bit before saying something that you might regret later.

Understand the Question Before You Answer It

How can you answer a job interview question if you don't truly understand what is being asked? A common mistake made by interviewees is not making sure that they understand what the interviewer is asking before they give an answer. Remember the interviewer is only human, and it's quite possible that they ask you a question that is vague, or could have multiple answers. Ask clarification questions if there is any ambiguity around what the interviewer is asking. The interviewer will get the information they need, and you will demonstrate your communication skills in the process.

It's Ok Not To Know The Answer

One of the traps people fall into during a job interview is wanting to be able to answer every question perfectly. This is natural given the purpose of a job interview, but in some cases you are going to be asked questions where you may not know the exact answer. How do you answer these type of interview questions?

Draw upon your past experience

Your biggest asset is your past work experience. When faced with a question that you aren't entirely familiar with, the best thing to do is to try to connect the essence of what is being asked (perhaps it's a question about teamwork for example) to an experience you've had in the past. It's fine to say something like 'While I haven't had exactly that experience, here is another experience that I have gone through that I think applies'.