Knowing how to develop your answers to interview questions is an important skill, if the interviewer senses that you are regurgitating an answer that isn’t your own they will mark you down for it – big time!
Yes, you will naturally want to use answers on this site for guidance purposes, but ultimately you want to develop your own unique answers that sell your value to the employer.
Developing unique answers to interview questions is easy once you are clear on what to expect from the interview. This is the big secret of top performing candidates, they know what to expect and they take the time to prepare unique, authentic answers to interview questions in advance of the interview.
So, the first step in the process is to do your research on what is important in the job and to the employer. Once you have completed your research on the company as well as the skills and behaviors required for the job, then get busy writing out short stories which illustrate your competence in these key areas.
Remember, your job in the interview is to sell your value to the employer. So, your stories need to emphasise the value that you are likely to bring to their company.
See answering interview questions for further guidance on how to do this.
How to develop your Answers to Interview Questions
Let’s take an example of a job that requires ‘excellent customer service skills’. A likely question might be:
How would you define excellent customer service? Provide an example of a time when you delivered excellent service to a customer?
You might first define what excellent customer service means to you and then give an example of a time when you offered excellent customer service.
“Customer service is all about listening empathetically to the customer. Taking care to really understand their needs and then using my customer service skills to meet their needs in a timely and efficient manner. Excellent customer service sometimes means going beyond the call of duty to help a customer achieve an outcome they want. Let me give you an example…”
“A customer was looking for one of our most popular products as a gift for her son’s birthday. Unfortunately we were all out of stock and she looked very disappointed. I spoke with her a little and found out that her son specifically requested this product and was expecting it for his birthday which was in three days. I asked her to wait while I spoke to the store manager.
After a few minutes I came back and told her that we would be putting in a special order today to restock on the product and that I would do my very best to get the product in stock in time for her son’s birthday. I requested her telephone number and we arranged that I would call her as soon as the product came in.
She was absolutely delighted with the solution I proposed. A few days later I called her and we managed to get the product to her son in time for his birthday. Since then Ester has become a regular, loyal customer and we continue to have excellent relations with her.”
You can find more sample interview questions and answers like this one in the good answers to interview questions section of the site.
This short story will tick all the boxes with the interviewer because you have done two things. First, you have illustrated that you understand what excellent customer service means and second, you provided proof that you have effectively applied that knowledge in a real context.
There are lots of people that will be able to say what excellent customer service is but not everyone will be able to give examples of where they have successfully applied those principles.
You see, interviewers have very limited time to make a decision about how you are likely to perform in the role, so the best way you can convince them is to give them proof of past successes you have achieved. When the job interview answers you provide paint a picture of the results you have achieved in the past, then the interviewer can easily visualise you repeating the same success in their company.
In addition, make sure your answers to interview questions also focus on the personailty traits that you are likely to bring to the position; for example, if the customer services position requires that you are ‘willing to adopt a flexible, accommodating attitude when dealing with customers’, make sure your answers demonstrate that you are ‘flexible’ and have a ‘can do attitude’ when dealing with customers.
Identifying these unique traits in advance and then articulating them in the interview are powerful ways to sell your value to the employer.
In summary, your answers to interview questions need to reflect back to the interviewer that you understand what is required in the post and you have the confidence and the competence to get the job done to excellent standards.
Remember to back all your answers to interview questions up with examples of past successes and you have a winning formula to impress any interviewer.
Originally posted 2016-09-06 17:10:59.