Q:

How should you answer interview questions?

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Quick Answer

A successful job interview candidate answers questions in ways that highlight his positive qualities and make his case for why he should be hired. He also avoids disclosing disqualifying information. Superior answers to job interview questions provide examples. For instance, a job candidate who claims he works well under pressure should tell a story illustrating this, such as when he wrote a detailed report while on a short deadline.

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Successful job interview candidates are also on guard against alternative or trick questions. Interviewers commonly ask questions that force candidates to characterize themselves in one or another opposing way. A typical example of this is when an interviewer asks, "Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?" Since most jobs require workers to perform both independently and as part of a team, the candidate's best answer is that he likes and is able to work both ways.

The candidate should back up his answer with an example of a project he completed independently, such as researching a new product, plus an example of when he worked well on a team project, such as coordinating a price quote that required the input of several departments. Candidates should answer questions clearly and concisely, asking the interviewer for feedback on their answers to foster two-way communication.

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