Career Survival Skills: Responding to Interview Questions
by Michael Mayher

What would you do if you see a colleague do something wrong?

It is quite vague isn’t it, and you cannot nor should you answer that question as it is presented. So let this be an example of your own obligation as an interview participant. Anytime you are asked a performance related question that is so general and non-specific, your responsibility is to ask them to be more specific. There can never be an effective answer to vague questions, which can be wildly interpreted and therefore taken out of context. Whenever you are asked something so general, reply by asking them, “can you give me an example…?” You need to also press them because often some interviewers are just going through the motions and repeating questions they’ve been given, but have no clue why they are asking.

Here’s another:

What it the most difficult situation you’ve had to solve?
Once again, ask them in what context they are speaking before you formulate your response because the question is again quite vague. It is possible it is intentionally vague to see what you will reply, in order to learn what you identify and reveal as a weakness or strength. I also suggest you use anecdotal evidence describing a situation because that is to what they are alluding.

My point is that when you interview, in order to stand apart from others and present yourself in the best manner, you need to do more than sit and nod in agreement like a bobble-headed figurine, offering only the bare minimum in response. Take your time, don’t be in such a hurry to respond so that your answers are thoughtful and complete. Engage them, subtly challenge them to step up in their role as the interviewer, in order to present to them why you are their best choice.

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.)
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