TAO Self-help

Title:Pre-Interview Prep

Author:Hannah Morgan

Date:June 2019

Source:Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

If you've been applying for jobs, now is the perfect time to do your pre-interview prep. It's never too early to start preparing answers to job interview questions.

There are standard questions you can expect to be asked during a job interview. These questions are designed to see if you have the skills and interest to be a good fit for the job. You can begin thinking about these answers and prepare your responses today.

Cramming for a job interview isn't the best idea. You want to come across confidently qualified during the interview and that takes practice and time.

These are some of the questions you should be prepared to answer, grouped by what the interviewer wants to know.

About your application
  • What made you apply for this role?
  • Why do you want to work for this organization?
  • Why do you feel you'd be suited to this role?
Questions about your career choices and decisions
  • What made you enter this [industry/profession]?
  • What's the biggest highlight of your career to date? Why was it a highlight?
  • What's your biggest career mistake to date? What did you learn from this mistake?
  • Where do you see your career going in 3 years (...or 5 years, 10 years time)
Questions about each of your roles
  • What made you take that particular role on?
  • What were your reasons for leaving that particular role?
  • What did you deliver in each of your roles? Can you quantify these achievements?
Questions about you
  • What type of work have you enjoyed the most? What was it about them that you enjoyed?
  • What types of work have frustrated you the most? What was it about them that was frustrating?
  • What are your strengths? Can you provide me with a specific example to back each of them up?
  • What are your weaknesses? What are you doing about them?
  • How would you describe your personality and working style?
  • What's unique about you? How are you different to all the other people we're meeting?
Behavioral Job Interview Questions

Then there are behavioral job interview questions...

  • Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with your manager.
  • Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.

You can see a list of more behavioral interview questions here (popular behavior based job interview questions).

There is a trick to answering these questions. You use the acronym STAR.

STAR Stories

Each of your answers should use a STAR story. And it's really important to use quantifiable information in the results part of your story! Try really hard to quantify the productivity, efficiency, performance or outcome of your actions.

  • Situation — what was going on (Briefly stated)
  • Task — what was it that had to happen
  • Actions — step by step, what did YOU do
  • Results — what happened because you did what you did

It isn't enough to just think about your answers or write them down. YOU MUST practice these answers out loud. Your answer sounds different when spoken than it does in your head or when you've written it out.

Review The Job Posting - Again

You've already thoroughly reviewed the job posting when you created your resume. But dig out the job description again and review each requirement and develop a STAR story to provide proof you meet that requirement.

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