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How to Answer Questions

In this Section

About the Organization  – The vast majority of interviews begin with questions pertaining to a candidate’s interest in working at their organization and why the position is of interest. Below represents some topics that candidates can learn about/research prior to the interview. Be able to discuss these topics in terms of their importance/interest to you and/or how they fit your background. Use your knowledge about a company to demonstrate why it fits you!

  • Why did you apply to our organization?
  • What about the position interests you (why did you apply)?

 Examples of topics to review (just select those that interest you)

  • Relative size of firm in the industry Potential growth for the industry
  • Array of product line or services Present price of stock & recent trend / sales growth
  • Current customer base
  • Company or organizational culture
  • Competitive products Organizational structure (if readily available)
  • Competitive organizations
  • People you know in the firm
  • Formal versus on-the-job training
  • Typical career path in your field
  • Name of recruiter / other contacts
  • Geographical locations
  • Various price points in product or service line
  • Type of training program
  • Potential new markets, products, or services

Answering Questions  – After discussing your interest in the company and position, the interview will transition to questions about your specific skills and behaviors as they relate to a position. Candidates ought to be specific when answering questions by providing an example or illustration.

Employers most often use the STAR technique when evaluating skill/behavior questions. Their questions will begin with “Tell me a time when…” or “Descirbe a time when….” Or “Give me an example of when you……..”

STAR technique – how to answer using this method of example driven answers

  • Situation or Task: Provides the background information of who, what, when, where, etc.  or the task that needed to be accomplished. Describe a specific event or situation. Provide enough details for an interviewer to understand. The situation/tasks can be from any experience (job, internship, co-op, club, volunteer). For instance, if describing a class or work project, say which class it was and what the project objectives where specifically.
  • Action: This is where you describe the role you played or the action you took to complete the tasks. For group examples, describe what you did…..not the team (unless specifically asked about team skills).
  • Result: The outcome of what happened, what you learned, and what you accomplished.

Closing & Next steps
After an employer has asked their questions, they will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions. Candidates should always have questions, otherwise it appears as if they are not interested. Sample questions to ask may include those listed below. Ask questions that are of interest to you and always ask about the next steps in the hiring process or when a decision will be made. Always be sure to send a thank you note!

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