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How to Answer Any Interview Question – Part 2

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In part 1 of How to Answer Any Interview, I discussed an article on job interview techniques suggested by professionals with media and public relations expertise.On the one hand, there are benefits of using the technique suggested that include a job seeker’s ability to transition their response to reinforce their qualifications.Also using this technique gives a respondent greater participation, and control over the interview.

There were some pros and cons of the technique suggested. On the other hand, there are possible concerns of using this technique that include over answering, and thus compromising the interviewer’s interest, as well as undermining the sincerity of their answer.

So what can you do to have greater control and influence over the interview without any of the negatives mentioned above?Especially in interviews where you feel it is not going so well or the interview is heading in the wrong direction?What can you do to handle or prevent this?

How You Can Influence the Interview

There are many things you can do to influence the interview from how you dress to non-verbal communication and so on. Here are a couple that I feel are often overlooked by many job seekers.

The most subtle and non-intrusive way to influence the job interview begins outside the interview room with your resume and cover-letter.You may be surprised to learn that your resume directly influences the job interview right down to the kind of questions asked.Here is what I observed from conducting interviews with hiring managers.Hiring managers and HR professionals will review your resume and prepare questions based on the content of your resume.Hiring managers often scribble these questions down directly on the resume in preparation.Here is a tip for you job seekers out there, there is usually more scribbling on the first page than on the second or third page (pay particular attention to the first half of the first page).For you recruitment and staffing professionals, this would mean not only your candidate’s resume and cover letter but the written introduction you submit along with these documents. So by carefully and purposefully crafting your resume, you will influence and maybe even control your job interview without anyone ever knowing it.

Another very good way to influence the interview is to ask questions at an appropriate time.Again, as a general rule, “don’t interview the interviewer”.By this I mean asking too questions i.e. clarifying questions about the interview question may cause the interviewer to question your listening skills or perceive you as difficult. Regardless, a good interviewer will give you plenty of opportunities to ask questions and when your chance is presented ask away (again this gives you a chance to take control over the interview while giving the interviewer a sense that they still have control….yes, this is very deep).A good question to ask is to uncover any potential concerns of the employer and address them.For example, a general but open ended question would be “considering the job requirements and my qualifications what kind of concerns do you have about my background that would weaken my application?” Of course if your concern is more specific, for example a lack of experience in a certain technical background then you can make your question more targeted.

So in summary, while the Q = A + 1 technique may work very well for politicians and senior execs in addressing media, until I see a demo I would recommend it for job seekers.The potential for over answering, undermining the sincerity of the candidate’s response and interviewer’s sense of control make this technique not advisable.Instead, I opt for subtler and less intrusive ways of influencing the interview.Our suggestions include, influencing interview questions with specific content in your resume and cover letter.Lastly, ask questions to uncover concerns at appropriate times.

Photo by International Information Program (IIP)