by Roselle Pendergast, Head Editor, INALJ Minnesota
Darn those Tough Interview Questions!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a ton of sites online discussing this very topic. Such as this article titled How to Tackle Three of the Toughest Interview Questions from Lifehacker or this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Matt Krumrie titled Ask Matt: How should I answer these interview questions? Krumrie suggests to use the STAR method: Situation (describe a real-life situation from a past college, work, volunteer or extracurricular activity where you applied the skill in question); Task (describe your task or goal in creating a response to the situation identified); Action (review in detail the action you took, applying the skill in question to address the situation); Result (report the result of your action, providing as much measurable detail as possible).
First, we must ask ourselves, what’s the purpose behind these tough questions? Lifehacker, again, found a wonderful (huge) image that discusses the reasoning behind the most common interview questions, The Logic Behind 19 Common Interview Questions. In my opinion, understanding the reasoning behind the interview questions helps us know why the question is being asked and what we can do to answer it appropriately.
After being bombarded by those questions, we often get asked one last question, “Do you have any questions for us?” Usually I’m so wound up that I burst out with a standard answer, “No, I’m good!” Lifehacker has a way around that! The Interview Question That’s Always Asked (and How to Nail It) explains the reason behind the question and gives a nice list of questions you can ask the interviewer. I always end up having questions later after the interview because it didn’t occur to me to ask them during the interview. A good way to counteract that is two things, write your questions down before going in for the interview and ask for a business card to contact the interviewer if you have any more questions afterwards.
The main thing we can do when preparing to enter a job interview is to ask ourselves those tough questions and prepare our answers so we’re not caught off guard by unexpected questions. Plus, the preparation gives us a chance to make our answers as detailed as possible while being clear and precise. It gives us a better chance of obtaining either the position or another interview later down the road.
Preparation, preparation and more preparation! It does go a long way.