What your Interview Answers Say

What Your Interview Answers Really Say

Your interview is likely to last between 20 and 30 minutes but it may last longer.   During that time, the interviewer(s) will try to learn the following:

  • The level of your experience and skills
  • Your willingness and ability to learn
  • A sense of your personality, professionalism, and commitment
  • An indication of how you would fit into the organization or their team
  • Answers to specific question

Interview Styles

There are two styles of interviewing: traditional and behavior-based.

Traditional questions

Direct questions that tend to give the interviewee the sense that he's being tested, as if there are right and wrong answers. Traditional questions might be something like these:

  • Why do you want to hold this position?
  • Aside from money, what will you gain from having this job?
  • What motivates you to excel?

Behavior-based questions

Behavior-based questions invite the job applicant to tell a story. The theory behind behavior-based interviewing is that by hearing about a job seeker's past behavior, the employer can predict his future behavior. Here are some sample behavior-based questions;

  • What accomplishment are you particularly proud of?
  • When did you handle conflict with your boss, colleagues, or subordinates? Tell me about it.
  • Tell me about a situation that demonstrates your work habits.
  • Describe a time when you and your superior were in conflict and how it was resolved.

Many managers have been trained in giving behavior-based interviews, so you're likely to run into them. Others will ask traditional questions, in which case, here's a tip: Give behavior-based answers whenever possible. Even when asked traditional questions, take every opportunity to tell a short story about one of your accomplishments, a scenario that demonstrates your style of work, or an example of your skills in action. Your behavior-based answers will make your interview more memorable, more meaningful, and more fun for the manager.