© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
The most common job interview questions are those which solicit information about your technical competence, your workplace interaction styles, and your personality. These questions might be close-ended, in that they can be answered with a few words or a phrase. They might be open-ended, and require you to spend some time explaining yourself more fully. Common job interview questions might focus on your opinion about a subject, or what you would do in hypothetical situations. Or they might require information about a specific instance or action from your work history. Because of the wide variety of theoretical questions you might receive, as a general rule it is not worthwhile to spend a great deal of time memorizing potential answers.
Instead you should concentrate on preparing information which could apply to any number of common job interview questions. As a general rule, one way to do this is to become extremely comfortable recounting examples and telling stories of your past actions which demonstrate the most important values to be exhibited by the person who wins the target position. Naturally, to do that, you will have to know what those values are. Some of them you can deduce from the job description or job ad. Others you might learn from any networking you do with past or present employees of that company. You might gather more from research you perform online and in print publications. Once you have an idea of the key characteristics the company is looking for, try to remember times in your work and personal history in which you have displayed them.
Examples of past work experience are relevant to most common job interview questions because personal anecdotes can be easily inserted into each answer. If you are asked about your technical skills, leadership history or personal passions, a personal story will make your answer vivid and effective. If you are given an open-ended question, your first-hand example fills that space nicely. If you are quizzed about an opinion, share it and then follow up with a story about when you formed it or how you've applied that. If you are asked a hypothetical question you can answer it, then prove that you've actually encountered something similar to that in real life and had great results.
To use this common job interview question strategy, you won't need to create a full job history for each piece of desired experience. A simple bullet-pointed summary or even a single line on a piece of paper might be enough preparation to give you a starting point when you are asked to speak. Because the answers you give are based on your honest life experiences, they will ring true, whereas answers that are vague and abstract or general or theoretical will smack of pandering. What's more, the truth is always vivid, interesting and memorable. And finally, the more you speak about your successes, the more you will reinforce the message that you are experienced and successful in your field.
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