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Rehearsing Answers to Questions Before a Job Interview is Always Smart
Get that "Dream Job" - Even in a Recession!

Step 5: Always Rehearse Your Answers to Potential Interview Questions
Illustration: This woman is being interviewed for a job by telephone. Screening interviews are often conducted this way.
Practice your answers to common interview questions until you can almost recite them in your sleep. Next, prepare a list of questions you want to ask the employer about the job.

Most interviews follow this general pattern: First, you will be required to answer questions about your experience and qualifications. Then you will be allowed to ask questions about the job opening for which you have applied.

If at all possible, rehearse all your answers with a trusted friend or family member.

You should be able to convey all pertinent information about yourself in 15 minutes as your friend plays the role of your interviewer, using some of the various interview styles we discussed on the previous page.

You want to be ready for anything!

After you've practiced a few times, and feel confident about how you're handling yourself, make a "dress rehearsal" video of yourself to check your diction, speed of delivery, body language and appearance.

Examples of Commonly Asked Interview Questions:
By formulating and rehearsing your answers to the interview question examples below, you will become more familiar with your own qualifications, and will consequently be better prepared to demonstrate how you can benefit an employer.

"Tell me about yourself."
Make a short, organized statement of your education and professional achievements and professional goals. Then, briefly describe your qualifications for the job and the contributions you could make to the organization.
"Why do you want to work here?" or "What about our company interests you?"
Few questions are more important than these, so it is important to answer them clearly and with enthusiasm. Show the interviewer your interest in the company. Share what you learned about the job, the company and the industry through your own research. Talk about how your professional skills will benefit the company. Unless you work in sales, your answer should never be simply: "money." The interviewer will wonder if you really care about the job.
"Why did you leave your last job?"
The interviewer may want to know if you had any problems on your last job. If you did not have any problems, simply give a reason, such as: relocated away from job; company went out of business; laid off; temporary job; no possibility of advancement; wanted a job better suited to your skills.

If you did have problems, be honest. Show that you can accept responsibility and learn from your mistakes. You should explain any problems you had (or still have) with an employer, but don't describe that employer in negative terms. Demonstrate that it was a learning experience that will not affect your future work.
"What are your best skills?"
"What are your best skills?" If you have sufficiently researched the organization, you should be able to imagine what skills the company values. List them, then give examples where you have demonstrated these skills.
"What is your major weakness?"
Be positive; turn a weakness into a strength. For example, you might say: "I often worry too much over my work. Sometimes I work late to make sure the job is done well."
"Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?"
The ideal answer is one of flexibility. However, be honest. Give examples describing how you have worked in both situations.
"What are your career goals?" or "What are your future plans?"
The interviewer wants to know if your plans and the company's goals are compatible. Let him know that you are ambitious enough to plan ahead. Talk about your desire to learn more and improve your performance, and be specific as possible about how you will meet the goals you have set for yourself.
"What are your hobbies?" and "Do you play any sports?"
The interviewer may be looking for evidence of your job skills outside of your professional experience. For example, hobbies such as chess or bridge demonstrate analytical skills. Reading, music, and painting are creative hobbies. Individual sports show determination and stamina, while group sport activities may indicate you are comfortable working as part of a team.

Also, the interviewer might simply be curious as to whether you have a life outside of work. Employees who have creative or athletic outlets for their stress are often healthier, happier and more productive.
"What salary are you expecting?"
You probably don't want to answer this one directly. Instead, deflect the question back to the interviewer by saying something like: "I don't know. What are you planning to pay the best candidate?" Let the employer make the first offer.

However, it is still important to know what the current salary range is for the profession. Find salary surveys at the library or on the Internet, and check the classifieds to see what comparable jobs in your area are paying. This information can help you negotiate compensation once the employer makes an offer.
"What other questions have I forgotten to ask you?"
Use this question as a chance to summarize your good characteristics and attributes and how they may be used to benefit the organization. Convince the interviewer that you understand the job requirements and that you can succeed.

For other "possible" job interview questions you might want to rehearse, click the links below. Each group of questions will open in a "new" window. If your web browser is NOT Java-equipped, or if you are viewing this page in Translation Mode, click on the "No Java" link instead:

Rehearse Possible Questions About Your Qualifications

Rehearse Possible Questions About Your Work Experience

Rehearse Possible Questions About Your Education

Rehearse Possible Questions About Your Career Goals

Additionally, certain questions are illegal to ask during a job interview (and sometimes in a job application). Those illegal interview questions are discussed on this page.

Once you have finished rehearsing your answers to all possible questions you can imagine, and have also memorized the questions you want to ask your interviewer, you can relax a little bit. You are now almost ready for that extremely important In-Person Interview, which we will discuss a little more on the next page.

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