Impactful Interviewing:

Be Specific When Answering Questions

by Beau Riche

Sometimes - or more like every time - you go for an interview, your nerves make it hard to concentrate and answer questions to the best of your ability. The important thing to remember is to really listen to the questions being asked. If the interviewer tells you they want a specific example, don't answer with a general how you would do something - it is a surefire way to ruin your chances for the job.

These types of questions are known as situational questions. If an interviewer were to say to you, "Tell us about your favorite vacation." You wouldn't respond by telling them about all the places you would like to go or make a generalization:

"My favorite vacation is to go someplace hot with my family and sit on the beach."

Instead, you should answer as specifically as possible including all the pertinent details:

"My favorite vacation was two years ago when I went to California with my family. We spent a lot of time on the beach. It was very relaxing."

The second answer adds credibility. It is obvious that you are providing information from something that actually happened as opposed to making something up just to answer the question.

Potential employers are trying to gauge how you react or perform in specific situations. Common questions that are asked include:

"Tell me about a time you led a team project." Include what the project was, how many people, and any challenges including how you overcame them.

"Tell me about a conflict you had with a co-worker." Only pick situations that had a positive outcome.

Employers today want to know how you are going to perform on the job before they even hire you. By answering situational questions specifically you can assure the interviewer you have the skills and thought processes that they are looking for.


Beau Riche is a Career Coach and Career Advisor for a company called Career Movement

Career Movement offers a high quality, affordable suite of Career Development products and services for business professionals. These products and services include personalized career coaching, online career training, career assessments and books that help professionals with their resumes, interviewing skills and job search as well as many other career topics.

We offer a FREE 15 minute Career Consultation with a certified career coach to start building the career path of your dreams.

We also offer 20 minutes of FREE Career Training which will help you assess your career situation and help build your career plan.

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