5 Tips on Personal Interview Questions Responses

Interviews are a big step in the job search process that I don’t think most job applicants put in the right amount of effort for how important they actually are in a hiring manager’s eyes.

To start off my guide of personal interview tips I first want to emphasize what an interview is.  An interview is a chance for a hiring manager to put a face with the qualifications on the page.  The person has been handed your resume, looked over it, and they want to now find holes in it.  They want to find where you may have exaggerated, they want to find where your strengths and weaknesses are.  Most of all, they are looking to answer one basic question, “By bringing you on board are you helping or hurting the organization?”

5 Personal Interview Tips

1.       Do your homework. When you get in front of a hiring manager make sure that you can talk her ear off with details about the company.  Now it is unrealistic to expect that you will know everything about the company, but it is obvious within 10 seconds if you have done your research.  Know the general idea of the company and if you can, try to use their products for more than 15 seconds before walking into the interview.

2.       Look the part. If you want to be taken seriously you need to dress seriously.  This goes far beyond just the clothes that you wear.  You need to look your best that means brushed teeth, limited facial hair, clean hands, and no stains.  It is not that hard and it goes a long ways.

3.       Think before you speak. The questions being asked of you are not meant to be easy.  A hiring manager doesn’t expect you to have an answer in ground breaking speed.  In fact it is better if you take a second to relax, take a breath and collect your thoughts.  A coherent answer is better than one that jumps around and hits on some of the points. I consider this one of the most important personal interview tips that I can give. A good answer is worth the wait.

4.       Ask yourself “what is the question really asking”. If you are given a scenario, most likely the person is not looking for the perfect answer, they want to see your process.  No one cares if you can come up with the right answer once in a while, but if you can think through a problem, even if you don’t get to the right answer all the time, the interviewer will know that you have a good head on your shoulders.  An interviewer does not want to be lied to, but they do want their main question and their underlying question answered. With that being said, answer their direct question always.

5.       Be passionate but not over the top. It is great to show enthusiasm.  You have to show that you are interested in the position, but repeating on and on about how you would really like the job and how you love the company sounds like you are begging.  You want to be confident, you want to show interest – leave it at that.

These personal interview tips are important regardless of the interview or the position.

In my opinion before you want into any type of interview you should first put yourself on the other side of the table.  You should think to yourself “Why are they interviewing me? What sort of information are they looking for?  Do I fit with what they are looking for? “ If you can bring those questions up in your own mind and come up with some answers then you will be much more prepared for the interview than anything else.

Understanding expectations is a huge part of the job search process.  It is all too often that someone is hired into a position and they do not do well because they lead the hiring manager on during an interview or the job is below them because they were over qualified for the position.  Making sure you are a good fit with the job is an important step before the interview even starts.

You want to make sure that you are always putting your best foot forward.  Some of the best personal interview tips that I can give are mostly common sense.


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  1. 1
    RJ Sherman

    Kathy – thanks for the comment. I agree that people don't always realize how important an interview can be. It is a big step that all too often people don't put enough time and effort into to make sure that they are doing everything that they can to land the job.

  2. 2
    interview preparation

    A no-brainer, many job seekers panic right off the bat by incorrectly assuming the interviewer asked a loaded question. In reality, the interviewer just wants to see how well you can sell yourself.

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