Every moment of a job interview matters, but there is one component that outweighs all the others. Instead of getting caught up perfecting your handshake and introduction, or thinking about your follow-up note, realize that your answers to key interview questions are what interviewers really value. Find out how to impress interviewers during the moments that matter most.
Talking About Your Biggest Strength
Your interview answers help hiring managers determine whether you're the right pick for the job, and the classic interview question "What's your biggest strength?" helps them make this decision. This one can be tricky as candidates want to stand out without bragging. According to a 2018 survey of 800 hiring managers by Netquote, the best way to answer is to say you're a problem solver, as voted by 42 percent of hiring managers. Saying you're good with communication and time management is also a safe bet. However, keep in mind that interviewers want you to expand on your answer, explaining exactly how and why you excel at that skill.
Acing the Curveball Questions
Every interview has a question or two that seemingly comes out of nowhere. These are often impossible to prepare for and unrelated to the job itself. For example, the interviewer might ask how you would escape from a desert island. These interview questions are designed to measure more unique aspects of candidates, such as creativity, personality and cultural fit. While they may seem irrelevant, they matter to hiring managers. Even if you're caught off guard, take these questions seriously, and don't be afraid to ask for clarification and additional information, such as asking what materials would be available on the desert island. If your interviewer asks tricky questions such as why you left your previous job, answer honestly while focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
The Importance of Asking
When the interviewer finally asks if you have any interview questions of your own, you should always have a few ready to go. Interviewers want to know you're interested in the company, not simply applying for any job that pays the bills. Show your interest by asking about the company's mission and the office culture. When in doubt, have at least three questions prepared.
Don't Sweat the Follow-Up
While sending a follow-up thank-you note is still good etiquette, the Netquote survey reveals that only half of hiring managers believe the follow-up is important, and just 17 percent see extreme importance in a hand-written thank-you note. Instead of spending time worrying about following up, take extra time preparing your interview questions and answers.
Your answers to crucial interview questions, as well as your own questions, are undoubtedly the most important parts of a job interview. What are a few other important questions that might carry more weight with interviewers? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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