Your skills and qualifications are the basic things that the hiring manager is looking for. Whether you get the job depends largely on your behaviors in the interviews.
What the employers are looking for when they ask you a question.
Let’s use a very common question as the example—can you talk about your last internship. First of all, they are looking for a clear and objective description of the situation. You not only need to have relevant things to talk about, but also need to communicate concisely and thoroughly. The strong business communication skill is also needed in your daily life—for example, when you need to report your research progress to your professor, you want to quickly remind him of the project you are working on. Secondly, you should include the lessons learned from the internship in your description and an example of how you apply them to another situation to show your understanding of the lesson and your capability of applying new skills.
Four words that help you to answer a question: STAR
Situation—Briefly describe the situation
Task—be specific on what you did and what you learned
Action—address your skills. How did you solve the problem?
Result—should be measurable
How to prepare examples for a question
Start from thinking about the employer’s intention of asking this question. What kind of skills they are looking for by asking this question? The job description will probably give you the answer. Do you have any relevant skills? Also when choosing the example, make sure you have enough experience to answer the question and any possible follow up questions.
Demonstrate your leadership
Employers like to ask about your leadership experience which demonstrates your interpersonal skills. Did you have a strong role in a situation no matter in work, class, or extracurricular activities? Did you manage multiple activities at the same tie? Did you ever have to deal with a difficult person? Do you have answers for these questions?
How to deal with an unexpected question
Don’t get panic! Don’t try to be clever and skip the question. The employers know you might not be prepared for all the tricky questions, so they can accept you thinking during the interview. However, you’d better make a transition instead of leaving the room in silence by saying something like “it’s a good question, let me think about it”. Yet you cannot be silent for too long—once at most in an interview. Therefore the best solution to avoid an unexpected question is to do more preparation. Mock interview with CCD is a good way to prepare for interviews.
Nebula Han, Martel College PCA