By Michael R. Neece, CEO of Interview Mastery
Each interview question presents your client with an opportunity to present why they are the best person for the job. Your client's response should highlight their positive qualities and avoid presenting reasons to disqualify them as a candidate. For each quality your client presents, have them describe a situation where they demonstrated that quality. Coach them to describe specific examples of their experience where they demonstrated the quality they are discussing. Basically, you want them to be able to prove what they claimed.
For example, if your client states that they " Work well under pressure," describe an example where they did work effectively under pressure and delivered the results required.
Let your clients know that they shouldn't play the interviewer's game with alternative or trick questions. Interviewers often ask trick questions like, "Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?" Tell your clients: "In your response, be like a politician. Politicians answer questions by presenting information they want to present and do not allow reports to trick them." The next time you watch a press conference, notice the kind of questions reporters ask and see how the politician responds. Politicians often answer questions indirectly by presenting information they want to convey. Your clients can use a similar response strategy.
For example, if the interviewer asks if your client if they prefer to work alone or on a team, they are trying to get you to say you're one way or the other. Don't play this game. The reality is that most jobs require us to work independently and in teams. Your client's response to this question needs to show that they have been successful in both situations.
Before responding to any interviewer question, coach your client: "Take your time, breathe, and think about your answer. Thoughtful answers delivered clearly are much better than answers given rapidly. The quality of your answer is not measured by the speed of your response."
Other tips for clients. Tell them:
Be honest and succinct with your responses.
Tell the truth in a positive manner and don't discuss things or events in a negative fashion.
Long answers are less effective than concise responses and tend to make interviewers suspicious. (If you are talking more than 90 seconds without interaction with the interviewer you may be giving them more detail than they want. If you feel you've been talking too long, just stop and ask the interviewer a question like "Am I giving you the level of detail you're looking for?" This question prompts a response and promotes a conversation. Besides, if you're putting the interviewer to sleep with your long answer, asking a question will wake them up.
After your client's response, have him or her ask the interviewer a tag-on question to make sure they are understood accurately and to promote two-way communications.
Your clients deserve the best, so help them practice their responses to frequently asked interview questions (FAiQ) and prepare them to be their best when it matters most.
-- Interview Mastery is the job interview program for candidates covering more than 50 interview topics and situations. The program is based on 20 years of research and authored by Michael Neece, the “Interview Master” from Monster.com who has written extensively on interviewing for both companies and job seekers. Interview Mastery is the most widely used program of its kind and used by job seekers in 66 countries.