How to Answer Interview Questions Thoughtfully

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While you might stumble upon a job description that you were absolutely born to fill, you still have to convince the hiring manager. They look at multiple applicants and use a variety of different methods to screen potential candidates. Most often, it comes through the form of an interview (in-person, over the phone, or through an online questionnaire).
It is crucial that you are honest in your answers and put thought into your responses. Here are some common questions with guidelines on how to form answers that best represent yourself, your experiences and your intentions.

How would you describe yourself?

Three’s the magic number. See if you can come up with three adjectives that describe you (in a way a potential employer would find valuable). You want to balance being true to yourself and your personality while also showing why you’d be a great fit for a job. There are plenty of easy words to choose, but make sure you can back them up.
Reliable, responsible, dedicated. These sound great on paper and are words every employer loves to see. But how can you back them up? Be prepared to give an example of when you proved you were a worker who was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done.
Energetic, fun, happy. These are wonderful insights into your personality, but what are the ways other people see this? Do you always greet people with a smile? Are you dedicated to customer service and guests’ happiness? Adjectives like this describe how you act, but make sure you also point out how your actions benefit others.
Flexible. Creative. Innovative. Emphasize how you can be valuable in several ways, especially if a company is considering multiple people for a job. Employers want to see someone who can adapt to their surroundings–maybe you are willing to be a leader but also can work collaboratively on a team. Maybe you can follow rules but also stay open-minded to other options.

What are your strengths?

While you may have many skills and accomplishments under your belt, try to answer this kind of question with something that covers a couple of different areas. Here are some examples:

  • I am a people-person. I am a great listener and always want to find a solution. By paying attention to my customers and guests, I do my best to make sure they’re happy and have an overall great experience.
  • I am a hard-worker. I am eager to learn from others and never say no to a task. I know how important it is to be accountable to my position and won’t stop until the job is done.
  • I am organized. I have managed people and projects before and understand the importance of deadlines and staying on top of tasks. I know communication is key and I try to keep everyone on the same page.

In each of these examples, you can start out with one descriptor (people-person, hard-worker, organized) but then, when explaining it, highlight strengths that relate to the first word you chose.

Why are you a good fit for this position?

This is a two-part question. A key to answering this, is to articulate something important to the success of the job, then relating it to something you are good at. For example:

  • Delivery Driver: I am a good fit because I have a clean driving record and understand that customers want their deliveries in a timely fashion. I know having each delivery on-time and in great condition is a priority.
  • Event Worker/Greeter: I can provide great customer service by answering questions, smiling, and providing a positive environment for guests.
  • Brand Ambassador: I am willing to learn everything I can about the brand I would represent. I know familiarizing myself with the service or product means I can answer questions and pique the interest of potential clients or customers.

Why do you want to work in this position?

Note that there is a big difference between why you are a good fit and why you want to work a position. For many people, the answer could simply be to earn a paycheck, but this isn’t what you want to tell a potential employer. Consider using these responses:

  • You want to gain more experience (either with the role or the hiring company)
  • You enjoyed doing something similar and wanted to do it again
  • You like the industry, company, venue or atmosphere
  • You believe in the cause/product/brand

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