You want to give the best job interview answers, but how?
In this article, I’m going to reveal the 3 most important rules to follow to give the best interview answers possible so you can land a better job.
After working for more than 7 years as a professional Recruiter, these are the 3 strategies that I’ve found have the biggest impact on who gets hired from a job interview.
Let’s get started…
We’ll go through sample answers to interview questions in a minute, but it’s important to understand this stuff first, because it’s going to make EVERYTHING else easier.
(…and save you a ton of time practicing your answers and preparing).
Let’s go through the 3 key points…
This is the first secret to giving the best job interview answers the company has heard.
Other job candidates are going to make general statements like, “yes, I’ve done that.” Or, “Yes, I’ve worked with ___ for the past 4 years. I definitely know how to use it.”
If you want to set yourself apart, you should prepare specific examples, facts and metrics that you can use in your answers.
You want to be able to say things like, “Yes, I’ve used that technology for the past 4 years, and I recently managed three different projects where we used it to reduce our production costs by 38%.
You’re showing them what you accomplished. That’s what they really want to know.
Let’s say they ask, “Have you ever managed anybody?”
Which of these two sample answers to this interview question do you think sounds more impressive?
Sample Answer A: “Yes, I’ve managed people for 3 years, it’s definitely something I’m comfortable with.”
Sample Answer B: “Yes, I’ve managed people for 3 years. In my last job, I grew my team from 7 to 12 people in 18 months, while training and mentoring all new team members.”
Answer B is going to win every time. So go back and think about past accomplishments and dig up some facts and details that you’ll be ready to use!
If you think about your past work and accomplishments, you’ll be able to prepare examples you can use for a variety of questions! So you’re not going to have to slowly prepare for one question at a time.
Imagine… you think of a couple accomplishments in your last job, or your education (if you’re a recent graduate), and then they ask any of the following interview questions:
When they ask these questions, you’re going to have a ton of examples running through your head, that you’ll be ready to use in your answers. That’s the power of preparing like this.
Hiring managers HATE this.
So if they ask a question like, “have you worked with ___?”… or, “how many years have you worked with ___?” just answer it quickly and clearly, without a long story.
This is the next rule to follow if you want to give the best interview answers of anyone the company has interviewed.
If you want to impress them, you need to be upfront. You’ll notice the sample job interview answers throughout this article are very clear and don’t try to avoid the subject.
Hiring managers are great at knowing when you’re doing this, and it’s often worse than just saying “I don’t know” or “I’m not familiar with that”.
If you don’t know something or haven’t worked with something they ask about in an interview question, just say so.
Hiring managers will forgive one or two pieces of missing experience and still hire you if they like you…
…But they won’t hire someone who lies, is dishonest, or seems to dodge questions or dance around the topic. They don’t want you working for them if they can’t trust you. (no matter how talented you are).
So giving confident answers without hesitation, and without seeming like you’re afraid or trying to cover anything up, is incredibly important. It’s just as important as the actual words you give in your interview answers.
This third and final rule to follow is probably the most important if you want to give answers that truly stand out. The best interview answers are customized and “tailored” to the job and company.
If you want to get noticed and receive more job offers… make your answers about the employer in your interviews. Think about their needs, and make yourself sound like a solution to their problems.
Talk about what you’d help them accomplish. What could you improve? What could you do for them?
You see, the average job seeker gives answers about themselves.
“I’ve accomplished ____.”
“I have experience in ____.”
But they give the same answers to each company, more or less. They don’t adjust their answers to talk about the exact problems the employer is facing, or their specific needs or goals.
The employer has a goal, just like you. They posted this job for a reason. If you want to gain a big advantage… figure out what this reason is, and show them how you can help with it.
Asking questions of your own is a great way to figure this out. More on that coming up…
For now, just know this:
If you want to get hired fast, focus on them, and focus on talking about how you’ll help solve their problems, make them money, save them money, etc.
Imagine they ask, “why should we hire you?”
Here is a sample answer of what you might say:
“I read on the job description that you’re looking for someone with experience in ____. I’ve done that for 3 years and can immediately help you accomplish ____”.
Very few people do this, and it’ll give you a big advantage if you learn how.
See how you’re talking about what you’ll help THEM do? Rather than just talking about your own abilities.
Of course, this does require that you know something about the company and research them. You can’t “tailor” your answers or talk about how you’ll help them if you know nothing about them before your interview.
So I’ll cover that next:
It’s really simple… walk into the interview knowing more about the company than ANYONE else…
Researching the company is one of the easiest ways to set yourself apart.
This doesn’t take any talent. Just effort.
So if you can’t find a job, and not making a ton of effort here, there’s really no excuse.
If you don’t know how to research the company, it’s on this interview preparation checklist.
Imagine how much easier it is going to be to answer common questions when you’ve read about the company, their products, their team, their story, etc.
Let’s look at some sample interview answers you could give IF you did your research…
Interviewer: “Why do you want to work here?”
You: “I’ve been actively searching for jobs since graduating with my Nursing degree. I’m interested in intensive care and emergency medicine and I’ve seen your hospital mentioned as having one of the best ER’s in the region. I thought the job description matched up well with my background, and saw some of my personal strengths mentioned, like multitasking and being able to thrive in a fast paced environment.”
Let’s look at one more sample answer to the same interview question. This time, for someone with prior work experience…
You: “I read in the job description that this position will manage one of your largest customer service teams. In my last job I did all of our customer service training and led a team of five, so this seemed like a great next step in my career. I also read a recent Forbes article where your CEO described your work culture very positively and company culture is something that’s important to me.”
Neither of these sample answers to the interview question above would be possible if you hadn’t done your research.
And both would impress the hiring manager and immediately set you apart – because they’re about how you’ll fit into their needs (while also sharing your own skills and experience). So try to copy this style of answer whenever possible.
The steps above should help you get hired much faster, and for a better job, if you put in the effort and follow the strategies.
But there’s one more thing that’s equally powerful…
Most people will tell you to ask questions at the end of the interview. Everybody’s heard that.
Yet the real secret is to ask great questions THROUGHOUT the interview.
Doing this turns the interview into a back-and-forth conversation, and makes the hiring manager start to see you as a colleague (i.e. someone they should hire!)
I call this “conversational interviewing”.
Let’s look at a sample question we talked about earlier… “Have you ever managed anybody?”…
You could use the previous sample interview answer, and add the bolded part below at the end…
“Yes, I’ve managed people for 3 years. In my last job, I grew my team from 7 to 12 people in 18 months, while training and mentoring all new team members. I saw on the job description that you’re hoping to double the size of this team within the year, can you tell me more about that?”
This will turn the interview into a casual conversation and give the hiring manager a much different feeling than they have with any other candidate.
Almost nobody else is doing this. If you’re competing against 30 people for a job, I’m willing to bet 29 of them are not doing this, or at least not doing it properly.
If you’re going on interviews and don’t want to leave anything to chance, I recently created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. You can get more details here.