Answering difficult interview questions -- strategies successful candidates use
The secret to answering difficult interview questions is to know how to stand apart from the crowd. Most people, when they are asked to describe what they do, reel off a long list of responsibilities. This is one of the worst ways of answering difficult interview questions for two reasons.
First, it's extremely boring. It sounds as if they are reading from a job description written by a committee! Second, such interview answers provide no insight into what they actually do, their accomplishments and what skills they have developed.
Answering difficult interview questions without covering those areas is pretty useless.
Instead, describe your job in terms of results you achieved.
Put you into describing whatever job you have done. A detached, impersonal description just won't do.
Which of these two statements is more memorable?
'My job is to sell personal financial products to high net-worth individuals. I know how to develop a client base. I have cultivated a client base of such individuals and have developed an excellent understanding of the products.'
"When I took up my current job, I was thrust into the role of structuring and selling financial products. It was sink or swim - I managed to swim quite well and got to understand the products and the market in just a short while.
"I exceeded my targets by 60% in the first year. Today, I regularly advise people who have a net-worth exceeding $ 2,500,000 and I've a client base which includes people like Mr. XYZ, CEO of ABC Inc.'"
Obviously, the second one is a whole lot more memorable. That's because it gives concrete details
-- exceeding the profitability target and the fact that the candidate seems to be a quick learner.
Also, because the candidate mentioned a name which, if it happens to be a known and respected figure, can definitely set him apart from the crowd.
Now, you may or may not have high profile clients, but that's not necessary to stand apart. The key to
answering difficult interview questions is to connect accomplishments and skills to concrete events, places and people.