© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
For a job seeker, hoping to impress a potential employer, the temptation to memorize clever answers to job interview questions is very strong. After all, the candidate might think there's no such thing as being too prepared. Ultimately, however, the attempt to memorize every possible answer leads to a condition of not being able to answer any questions in a natural and organic manner. Even in the unlikely event that the questioner asks the exact query that you were prepared for, an answer which is memorized is more forced and ultimately less convincing than an answer which comes naturally.
Ultimately, the best answers to interview questions are the simple, unvarnished, spontaneous truthful ones. To prepare for these, think in terms of broad topics and areas which are most relevant to the success of the job. If you come up with a clear and complete list of the kinds of things the potential employer wants to know, then you can prepare some general responses, as well as specific answers. Then just mix and match pre-prepared stories and examples in a way that combines the best of impromptu answers.
Knowing the answers to job interview questions often means finding out in advance what questions the hiring manager will ask. The best way to get that information is from the company itself. The job description, for instance, is more or less a cheat sheet for the job candidate to find out what the company is looking for in the person who will fill the target job. People in your social network who have familiarity with the company also provide a valuable source of information about the corporate culture and the people the target company includes. And finally, news and trade stories give a clear picture of the kinds of challenges the company and industry face right now.
Between these three sources of information, you should be able to come up with the answers to the interview questions the hiring manager is most likely to ask. Remember, instead of simply memorizing answers, you should come up with general responses which make the case that you meet the requirements of the position and meet the profile of the desired employee. The best way to do this is to come up with examples and specific actions which you have taken during your career which vividly illustrate your qualities. As it happens, employers find answers to interview questions which take the form of stories and specific, concrete examples to be more convincing, interesting and memorable than questions which are answered in generalities and abstract terms. The more examples you can come up with ahead of time, the more likely you are to be able to work them into the interview responses when you are prompted.
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