Over the years I have been on some challenging interviews, and from every one I learned something new, not just about the company I was interviewing for but about myself as well. There are many different interview questions that you can come across, and there is no specific “right” answer for any one of them. But I have compiled some suggestions that may help when it comes to explaining your experience, goals and personal life/hobbies during a job interview.
When explaining your experience in relation to the job being offered, one thing I have learned is that less is often more. I used to go on a long-winded spiel of my entire education and work history, going into much detail. Then a recruiter pointed out to me that when I do that, I risk exhausting the interviewer and interrupting the flow of the interview. I also waste my own energy explaining details about myself to the interviewer that may be completely irrelevant to what they want to learn about me. Generally, it is best to give a shorter, more direct response, which then allows the interviewer to continue to ask more specific questions if they want to learn more about a certain skill, past job, etc.
When you are asked about your goals in an interview, providing a suitable response can be tricky. While you don’t want to be too specific (because you could be selling both yourself and the company short), you also don’t want to be too general (because then you may come across as wishy-washy about your future). You want to come across as ambitious, but not too unrealistic. And trying too hard can backfire as well. For example, if the interviewer asks a question such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” the best response obviously might not be to say that you hope to still be in the same position that you are applying for. It may be better to respond by describing aspects of yourself and your life that would go along with being a dedicated and loyal employee, but not someone that remains stagnant in a position for too long. It is safe to assume that many people strive for qualities such as stability, growth, leadership and creativity, so it may help to describe how you would be achieving such qualities in the future.
While most questions prospective employers ask tend to dig into your career and education, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them some insight into other interests you have as well (if the questions they ask allow it). Most prospective employers would probably be even more pleased to see that you are a well-rounded and balanced person, because in turn that will make you a better worker. Hobbies such as sports are healthy for both the body and mind, and the benefits pay off in all aspects of your life, including your job. Interests such as art and music show a certain level of creativity that could likely carry over to the job. Also, you may have certain interests in common with the interviewer, which could establish an instant bond. This will also allow you to relax and have a little fun in the interview, which will only make you look more appealing to the interviewer. The fact that you have a full life shows that you are a happy person, which in turn would make you a better employee and co-worker.
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