Mistake 2. Not answering the interview question.
Some people like to think they are politicians and seem to avoid providing a straight answer. More often, you may not be exactly sure what an interviewer is asking. So, ask for clarification. Repeat the question back in your own words. If you’re still not sure whether you answered the question when you’ve completed your response, say to the interviewer at the end, “I’m not sure whether my answer fully answered your question. Was there a piece of it I left off?”
Mistake 3. Speaking before thinking
You will likely face an interview question that you’re not ready for. Before you respond, get your feet under you. Otherwise, you may end up using a lot of “ums” and “likes.” Your answer may lack direction or miss the question entirely. What can you do? Pause. Take a breath. If you want, say, “That’s a really good question; let me take a few moments to gather my thoughts.” If you’re still not sure how to tackle it, break it down into pieces. Start by answering what you feel most confident about, and go from there.
Mistake 4. Providing generic answers.
A good answer gives vivid examples. An okay answer at least references yourself and the organization. A generic answer sounds like you had a list of canned responses, played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and pulled out wherever your finger landed. Generic answers include “I’m a team player,” and “I’m really excited about the work you do here.” If you prepare for your job interview well and do your homework, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Mistake 5: Not creating a conversation
An interview is, in large part, about establishing a relationship between you and your interviewer(s). If it seems like they’re just shooting questions at you on the hot seat, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. When you have a question pop up during the conversation, ask it. If they ask you, “What’s the most challenging project you faced?” at the end of your answer, you can follow up with, “What are the kinds of challenges that people here encounter?” A good interview splits the airtime 50-50 between the interviewer and the interviewee.
Having strong answers for job interview questions is a matter of practicing before the interview and providing succinct and personal answers during the interview that answer the interviewer’s questions.