Most people worry about their answers to interview questions, and are sometimes surprised or unable to answer questions they’ve heard many times before. The best answers to interview questions are those which you can answer clearly and simply, fully understanding the needs of the interviewers.
Competency based interview questions
A large percentage of interview questions are competency-based, up to 80%, in fact, of all interview questions. These questions typically ask you to describe a situation and your actions.
How you solved a problem, for example, or how you managed a situation with conflicting priorities, are a couple of the normal questions of this type.
These familiar types of question, however, come in many forms. Don’t try to memorize answers for specific questions. There are far too many of them, and you can confuse your answers, in some cases.
Structuring your interview answers
It’s better to have a standard structure for your answers, a way of answering, to simplify managing these questions.
There are 3 basic elements to answering a question of this type:
- Circumstances – What’s the specific situation, the background to help you describe your answer?
For example – “We had a huge backlog of calls and we were short of people at the call center” describes the situation.
- What you did – Describe how you managed the situation clearly, step by step.
For example- “I suggested changing the phone queue to rout the all easy calls through one channel.”
- Outcome – The result, but in your answer, it’s how you define the outcome that really matters.
For example – “We cleared up the backlog and got our response time back to 5 minutes, which is our target, as a result of changing the phone queue routing system.”
As you can see from this question, the structure is basically a storyline, with a beginning and end. It’s easy to follow the situation and solution, from describing the problem to describing how the problem was solved.
How to practice basic interview answers
When you’re practising your interview answers, use this method as a simple way of answering questions. You’ll find you can use it to manage any type of competency-based question. It’s also a very simple way to organize your thinking when answering interview questions.
Whenever you’re wondering how to answer interview questions, just remember:
- What you did
Pretty easy, isn’t it? You do know how to answer those tough questions, just remember you do!Images are taken from: ledgerlink.monster.com, gstatic.com.