I joined some LinkedIn groups so I get emails when people post. The post that drives me craziest is when people want to offer or sell some sort of eBook that will give you ALL the “right” answers to interview questions. The suggestion is normally to rehearse all of these answers so that when you are asked any of these, you are READY with the PERFECT answer.
The perfect answer is the one that isn’t rehearsed and comes from you.
If you don’t think of yourself as a great speaker or good with surprise questions, then thing one, don’t apply for a job that requires you to do public speaking or answer surprise questions.
Outside of that, potential employers know that people being interviewed are nervous and sometimes fumble for words or answers. Most won’t hold that against you. They’d rather hear what you have to say.
The truth probably isn’t that scary, but these eBooks will make you think it is.
Why not just tell the truth about those things? There was a gap in employment because jobs can be hard to find and you wanted to find the RIGHT one for you. That’s not so scary.
Swallow your coffee. Here come some of the suggested answers.
If I were a hiring manager, I would make sure I’ve read all of these eBooks to know which of my candidates decided to study rehearsed answers instead of coming up with their own answers.
And here are some of those answers.
“You’d agree that having this type of experience would help me succeed in this position, wouldn’t you?” WINK WINK.
Ugh. This sounds so salesman-y.
As for some of the other things they suggest you say, I have rarely interviewed for a job and found that they revealed what their biggest problems or challenges are. That’s probably confidential. I mean jeez, sometimes jobs won’t even tell you what the department is working on because it’s confidential. I can think of a few jobs where I wish the interview had included, “The lead has weird approaches to power and control. We’re hoping you can fix that person’s natural behaviors, ignore those poor behaviors, or help us decide to fire him/her.” That would have been GREAT to know in an interview! Not going to happen.
I had one job interview tell me their product problems, hand me a white board marker, and ask me to design something that fixes it. Looking back, I should have walked out. I should have said that I get paid to fix people’s UX problems; I don’t fix them in unpaid interviews.
Don’t feel like you have to fix a company’s or department’s problems in an interview. Don’t pretend you can! You don’t work there. You have no idea what’s going on.
And the “systematic” approach in the suggested answer sounds like so much BS your answer will be immediately composted. You’re going to clarify the problem and look for the best possible outcome? Wow. Nobody here thought about doing that. We made sure to ask no follow up questions and then we tried the solutions with the worst potential outcomes. You’re a freaking genius.
What you should be prepared to answer in an interview.
Depending upon the job, you should be prepared to answer questions like:
- If you’re solving a problem, how do you determine what is the best possible outcome?
- What makes you the right fit for this job?
- Where is your career headed?
- What’s all this stuff on your resume?
The rest you probably can’t be too prepared for. I’ve been asked to talk about a project that made me proud. Or a project where I saved the day. Or a project where I handled a difficult customer or stakeholder.
But in general, I have no idea what someone will ask me. I interview well because I think on my feet well and come up with grammatically-correct, unrehearsed answers that address the question head on. You can practice doing that but don’t memorize anything!
Good luck in your job interviews. 🙂