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Articles on Job Interviews

Learn how to win at high-level job interviews, with easy-to-learn techniques that are proven to work.

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16. Are your job interview answers at the right level? 

Do your job interview answers sell you well enough? Sadly, many interviewees fail to sell themselves convincingly and the panel or interviewer is left in doubt about the value of employing them. Don't be one of these, polish up your job interview answers now.

But how do you do this?

Three tips on job interview answers:

  1. First, don't hold yourself back from talking about your skills and strengths.
  2. Second, don't dismiss or undermine the importance of your skills.
  3. Third, make sure your job interview answers are not vague, longwinded or failing to get to the point - if there is one, that is!

I don't joke. While I have been providing interview training I have heard some incredibly long answers which achieved very little, except to take up the air the interviewee used! Your job interview answers must make a point, and a relevant point.

What you say in your job interview answers about yourself, your strengths and the benefits you bring to the specific organisation, all help to sell you to the interviewer(s). The level at which you pitch your answers and connect them to the specific position are crucial.

This applies whether you are being interviewed for a Principal's position in Catholic Education in Western Australia, a specialist medical role in a large teaching hospital in Sydney, or for your articles at a large law firm in Melbourne.

Sell yourself! That is what your job interview answers are meant to do. It is up to you to make sure the panel think you are brilliant and not just OK. Help them pick you!

Here is one more vital tip to help you improve your job interview answers.

Job interview answers tip 4: Get the level right

One of the commonest mistakes people make in their job interview answers is not speaking at the right level.

What do I mean by that? I mean that they give examples, they use wording, and they talk about their work at a lower level than the position they are going for.

It is simple really:

  1. If you are going for the CEO's position then talk like a CEO. Don't just say you "get on with people", talk about your leadership style, your strategic vision and how comprehensive your network of key stakeholders is.
  2. If you are going to have to liaise with the Board, then highlight your skills and experience in liaising with a Board, and show that you understand how important communicating clearly on governance issues is for a Board. Don't just say you are "a good communicator".
  3. If you are going for a level eight position in the public sector and they want someone who is excellent at "cross agency strategic analysis", then you need to talk about your strategic analytical skills at a cross agency level. Do not just say that you are "good at solving problems", people at level one can do that.

I know this sounds obvious now I have said it like this, (well I hope so!), but the majority of people I provide interview training to talk at far too low a level when they give their job interview answers. 

I remember one client I was providing job interview coaching for; he was being interviewed for a CEO position. He was an existing CEO. When I asked him what his strengths were he told me he was really good at using Excel Spreadsheets. My response was, so are people at a level one position! He was talking at too low a level.

Don't let your feelings of embarrassment or hesitancy hold you back. Make sure your job interview answers are at the right level.