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Tips for answering interview questions
Job interviews are a way for employers to work out how well you you will fit into their organisation, and if you have the skills for the job. How you present yourself and answer their questions will help them decide who to hire - so what should you do to make the best impression?
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Employers will start assessing you the minute you walk in the door, so your presentation and attitude are very important. You should show you:
- can add value to a company
- appreciate being interviewed
- want to work for the company
- are willing to improve your skills
- have something to offer the company, such as a willingness to work, pride in the work you do and a spirit of co-operation.
General tips for answering questions
Most interviews have a lead-in time of introductions and settling in, questions from the interviewer/panel, and then a chance for the interviewee to ask questions.
- Speak clearly and vary the tone to show you are interested and enthusiastic.
- Give yourself time to think about each question. Pause before answering so that you can think about the best response, and make sure you're giving them the information they need.
- Listen to questions carefully and let the interviewer lead the conversation. If you do not understand a question, ask for it to be explained or repeated.
- Be diplomatic and discreet, particularly about previous employers or co-workers. Don't badmouth anybody.
- Speak from experience - give examples that can demonstrate what knowledge and skills you have, and what you have learned in the past.
- Be positive about the skills you have and what you have done. Don't give the employer a chance to downgrade your abilities by saying things such as "I only have..." or "I don't have direct experience in that area". Instead, tell the employer what you do have or can offer.
|Types of questions||What to cover in your response|
|Can you tell us about yourself?|| |
|Why do you want to work for this organisation?||Use your research about the job and the company here.|
|What made you apply for this particular job?||Talk about your interest for the job and organisation.|
|What makes you the right sort of person to work for this company?||Give examples of the skills and experience which make you right for the job.|
|Have you done this kind of work before?||Discuss the skills and experience you have that will transfer to the job you are applying for.|
|How will you fit into our business? How will we benefit from taking you on?||Use your research about the job and the company here.|
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Careers New Zealand website
Updated 21 Feb 2012