How to answer interview questions

2 mins | Travis O'Rourke | Article | Interview advice

Woman on her phone

Interviews effect people in different ways; some excel while other crumble under the spotlight. The interview is a such key part to getting the job and although every interview and interviewer is different, there are a few techniques you can employ to help make the most of the meeting. 

“Tell me about yourself?” Keep it business focused. 

Prepare three examples that relate back to your keys skills and how you want to present yourself. Rehearse these answers and be armed when asked in interviews and also presentations, reviews or networking events. 


Use the STAR technique to get your point across   

Explain the Situation, describe the Task at hand, what was the Action you took, and walk through the (positive) result. Stick to this format and your answers will be clear, concise and respond to the question. 


Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know 

Turn this into a positive; maybe you don’t know that particular system or process, but you have worked on something very similar which you can share. Otherwise use this as an opportunity to show how you learn: when starting in your current role the system was new but your picked it up quickly. 

Search and apply for your next opportunity  


Prepare your weaknesses and be comfortable talking about them 

Avoid sharing a personality trait as a weakness as these are hard to un-learn. Stick to a practical skill that is not part of the job description that you wish you had spent more time on and talk about your plans to tackle these head on. Good examples include lack of foreign language skills, specific software, certification or qualifications. 


Be positive, no matter the subject 

The interview is not the place to criticize your boss or current company. Instead focus on why you want to move into this new role and the value you will bring to the job. 


Remember it’s a two-way process 

You're not the only one being interviewed. Take the time to see if this prospective employer is the right fit for you. Think about questions to ask your interviewer and look out for warning signs.

About this author

Travis O'Rourke
President of Hays Canada & CCO, Hays Americas

Travis is a Marketing graduate from Fanshawe College and was the 2023 recipient of their Distinguished Alumni Award. He joined Hays after holding various leadership roles elsewhere in the Canadian staffing industry. Travis setup and established Hays' outsourced talent solutions business and played an integral role in building Hays’ temporary and contract divisions throughout Canada. Initially joining Hays with a deep background in Technology, he holds extensive cross functional knowledge to provide clients with talent solutions in Financial Services, Energy, Mining, Manufacturing, Retail, and the Public Sector.

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