Our expert signed on to offer her best interview tips.
We give lots of advice here at TopInterview, but we know that dedicated job seekers like you often have questions of their own. Because of this, our career expert, Amanda Augustine, took on some of your burning questions in our first Facebook Live Q&A. Read on for part one of our summary of Augustine's responses, or click here for parts two and three of our recap.
1. “How do I answer the 'Tell me about yourself' question?”
This is one of the most common requests you'll hear at the start of your job interview. While you may be inclined to share personal details, fight that urge. Instead of an invitation to share your life's story, this question is another way for the interviewer to say “Give me your elevator pitch.”
Don't simply recite the same 30-second spiel you use at networking events, though. In an interview, your elevator pitch needs to be tailored to fit the job at hand. Before your meeting, determine the priorities of the particular role by carefully reading the job listing and, if you've been working with one, consulting your recruiter. Then go back and look at your own career story in this specific context. Use this information to weave an organized story that describes how your background has led you to this opportunity.
2. “I don't understand behavioral interview questions. Can you give some examples and tips?”
Behavior-based questions are asked by interviewers and employers to get an idea of what kind of employee you would be, and how you might fit in with the team dynamic. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate soft skills like adaptability and time management, so you'll likely see these questions when certain soft skills are an important aspect of the job.
Most behavioral interview questions will ask you to recall a certain situation of conflict. Classic examples include:
“Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone on a team and your personalities clashed. How did you handle it?”
“Tell me about a time when you had two competing priorities. How did you balance multiple projects at once?”
The easiest way to tackle any behavioral interview question is to use the STAR method. This acronymic technique breaks down into four parts: Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Situation: Briefly describe the situation or problem you faced to provide context for your story.
Task: Outline what you were responsible for. What role did you play?
Action: Explain what specific action you took to improve the situation or solve the problem at hand.
Result: How did the story end? Hopefully, your efforts resulted in an accomplished goal or resolved issue. If not, what did you learn along the way?
3. “What do I say when an interviewer asks what makes me different from other candidates?”
This question is similar to the classic “Why should we hire you?” and it's just as challenging to answer. However, there is a simple trick: showing your passion. When all things are equal between candidates, the person with passion for the field, company, and opportunity will win out. You can reiterate your possession of the essential qualifications, but make sure to demonstrate your genuine enthusiasm as well.
Something most people don't realize is that while in an interview, you can — and should — ask for the job! Don't dance around the idea or assume that your passion is implied. State your interest outright, and get specific about the reasons.
More tips and tricks
Thank you for joining us for TopInterview's first live chat! If you have more questions, you can browse our blog of interview advice or check out parts two and three of our recap. If you're ready to take your interview preparation to the next level, consider working with one of TopInterview's professional interview coaches. Learn more here.