© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
Some people might say you should prepare yourself for all the possible job interview questions and answers and be ready to provide your memorized response to whatever your interviewer throws at you. Other people say there is no way to prepare for all the possible job interview questions and answers so you are better off simply being honest and responding to the questions that are posed. As usual, whenever there are two diametrically opposed points of view, a good answer can be found somewhere in the middle. Though it is true that there are theoretically an infinite number of questions that an interviewer could ask, in practice, there are limits to the kind of information the prospective employer will try to get from you.
For starters, some job interview questions and answers are illegal. No employer can ask you any questions that relate to your race, age, religion or marital status. Second, a lot of questions the employer might want to ask are irrelevant. Your opinion on the latest movie you saw, for instance, or your favorite brand of breakfast cereal doesn't matter. Instead, the job interview questions and answers will focus on a single issue: what can you do for the company? In that subject, there are several different questions the interviewer can ask, but as a general rule they will focus on technical expertise, workplace dynamics, and personality.
Today, an increasing number of job interview questions and answers take what is called the behavioral interview format. The premise behind this kind of questioning is that past behavior tends to be a good indicator of future behavior. As a result, these questions take the form of requests for specific examples from your past. These questions could probe your technical expertise, how you interact with other coworkers or aspects of your personality of interest to the employer. For instance, a job interviewer using the behavioral question technique might ask you for examples of times that you had a time crunch in your last job, and what you did to handle that situation. Other topics that are commonly probed are your leadership experience, your intellectual curiosity, when you were under stress, and similar areas of performance.
The best way to prepare for these job interview questions and answers is to think ahead of time about what you bring to the company you are applying to. When you have a good idea of the attributes that you believe you offer, then think of examples of when you displayed them in the workplace. Chances are good that you will be able to refer to this example at some point in your behavioral question interview. If the job interview questions and answers turn out to be completely unexpected, though, don't worry. Just be calm, be honest, and answer the question as completely as you can using the "what I can offer the company" perspective as much as possible.
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