Job Interview Questions and Answers
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Apart from having a great open body language beaming out of you, you should also structure your answers back to the interviewer. This job interview questions and answers format applies when you are asked to elaborate on specific experience in doing a particular type of task.
Be a STAR Interviewee
Use the S-T-A-R method for job interview questions and answers:
S – Situation
You use a few sentences to describe the situation and brief background (if relevant). I literally mean only 3-4 sentences to state what the situation was.
You then describe to the interviewer what the task was that was given to you to execute. Again, be specific and clear about what it was you had to do.
A – Actions
This part of the answer is all about what and how you performed the execution of the assigned task. Focus on your specific actions (and not the group’s actions) and describe it using good, positive adjectives. This is your most important part of the answer and you should therefore spend the most time on this part of your answer.
Always remember to have an outcome or result associated with what you specifically did. Again, you are able to mention the group’s result here too but put all the focus on the part of the outcome or result that you were specifically responsible for.
Example of how to implement the STAR for your job interview questions and answers follows below.
Sample Job Interview Question and Answer
S – Situation
“I was working on a Asia Pacific Project for Company XYZ to implement a new payroll system.”
T – Task
“I was responsible to prepare a requirements plan for the entire project and had to ensure all business analysts across Asia were included.”
A – Actions
“The way I went about preparing this plan was to start with understanding the number ofstakeholders who would be involved in each country and the timeframes I needed to work within. This enabled me to define requirements gathering approach based on a geographically dispersed stakeholder group. Requirements gathering were done via requirements validation sessions via country-by-country conference calls. Other parts of my plan included roles & responsibilities and requirements documentation approach.”
R – Results
“I presented the requirements management plan to the project management board and obtained sign off right away. My requirements management plan has since been re-used as a baseline on other Asia Pacific initiatives.”
Take note of these points ..
Note how brief I was in answering the first two aspects of the question, situation and task. This information is very important to ‘set the scene’ but essentially not what the interviewer is really after. The actions part of the question is framed in terms of what I did specifically. Although it gives some detail, I am focussing on answering the most important aspects of this part of the question. I am saying enough to cover off the answer well without going on and on about it. Finally, in the results part of the answer I focus on the main outcome of my actions which is the re-use of my requirements management plan. There may have been other outcomes too but this is the most important.
Tip: Don’t give too much or too little detail during the job interview questions and answers, try and strike that good balance. In general, spend about 2-3 minutes on answering any question unless it is a big question that the expectation is to elaborate. Remember that the interviewer can ask further questions if they want more detail about a particular aspect of your answer.