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How to answer common interview questions
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Many of us get stuck or frozen at job interviews, even though we have practised long and hard for handling all sorts of questions. This is due to the anxiety spiral that we get caught in, putting pressure on ourselves.
Some stress and anxiety are inevitable in any interview, something that will ‘knock-off’ about 25 per cent of our preparations. We need to over-prepare to balance the odds, practising hard for the tough questions that push us into the anxiety spiral.
Before going to an interview, ask for unbiased feedback from your mentors, peers, family members and friends, just to gain some clarity. We usually would miss those true negative aspects due to our skewed state of mind.
An outside perspective shines a light on our hidden mistakes and the competencies and attitudes that we need to highlight. It helps to be honest about our fears and note down the feedback, working on your ‘interview performance’ later.
It helps to self-conduct mock interviews and practice the tough questions, especially the initial words you may have to blurt out while you frame your real answer:
“That’s a great question, and I haven’t dealt with that exact situation yet. Could you elaborate a bit so that I can take a minute to flesh out my strategy in this scenario?”
Keeping your tone open, confident and curious helps in this tightrope walking of difficult questions. Saying ‘I don’t know’ doesn’t help anymore.
Many of us have the habit of endlessly brooding over negative events after they occur, subjecting ourselves to hard self-criticism. Many people who are perfectionist also amplify small things that go wrong. One needs to recognize and manage such behaviour by breathing exercises or practising hard to reduce anxiety.
One can try being honest and provide creative answers to the questions using their past experiences, both personal and professional. It doesn’t have to be scripted all the time.
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