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6
Be Ready for the Routine Questions

The Story Technique

Well-chosen stories can make your answers to interview questions more vivid and compelling. Instead of making general statements about your qualifications, compile half a dozen brief stories about work or life experiences -- incidents that have taught you a lesson or given you valuable experience. Then, weave them into your answers.

When interviewers ask general questions, they are trying to judge how suited you are to the job. They're not trying to elicit irrelevant personal details, nor do they want to hear your life story. Look on all these questions as chances to focus on your strong points. Remember to use specifics in your answers. Plenty of candidates say they are team players or goal-oriented, so be sure to give examples to show that you are.

Here are three common questions that come up in many job interviews:

  • Tell me about yourself. Have a short, pointed answer down pat. Emphasize the experiences that make you right for this job. Don't ramble. Instead, make your case in a clear, logical way.
  • What are your strengths? You should practice your answer to this one in advance. You don't want to come off as arrogant, but you do want to put the focus on job-related skills. It's always a good idea to emphasize that working effectively with others is one of your strong points.
  • Why do you want to work here? This is a chance to emphasize both your knowledge of the company and the qualities that make you a perfect fit for the job. You might want to refer to the company's mission statement.
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