Prepping for a job interview involves a lot of hard work. You have to research the company, review the job description, and prepare for the most difficult part — the interview questions. We’ve all done the Google search, “How to answer difficult interview questions.” The downfall of typing this into your search engine is that you end up with a lot of overused and overgeneralized responses.
Instead of giving cliche answers every interviewer has heard before, try personalizing each answer with key points from both your experience and personality.
Here’s how to change-up your interview strategy:
Question: Why are you the best fit for this role?
Answer: I have many years of experience.
Always be honest in an interview and consider how your wording can be interpreted. Employers are going to be skeptical about how much ‘stretching of reality’ you do, if you clearly have only two years of selling experience listed on your resume, and even if you’re a veteran sales rep, that doesn’t mean you’re exceptionally skilled at it.
Try to not be this vague. You didn’t make it this far just because you have some sales experience. Provide details on what you’ve accomplished in sales. What have you learned in the field? What do you hope to bring to this role that others might not based off of your unique experience? Do your best to leave the interviewer with no doubts about your capabilities.
Question: What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Answer: When I have a sales goals in mind, I always reach it.
This statement is both nonspecific and bold. There are plenty of other candidates who can walk in and tell the interviewer they reach all of their goals as well, but do they openly presume you can’t? You better have the numbers ready to show employers you have what it takes to excel at this job.
This is the perfect time to reference past projects and articulate how and why you were successful and how the skills you’ve acquired align with the talent required for the position. If your past experiences don’t connect directly to this new opportunity, be prepared to show how your other skills offer an advantage. For example, if you’re interviewing for a sales job, but were previously in marketing, discuss how your communication skills transfer into sales. Be creative and always look beyond the obvious.
Question: What’s one of your positive personality traits??
Answer: I’m a hardworking team player.
Unfortunately, interviewers will not be jumping for joy because you’re a hardworking team player. Not only is this response overused, it doesn’t actually answer the question. The point is to see how well you’ll fit in with their culture.
This is not the time for buzzwords. It’s an opportunity for your true personality to shine through. Give up details about yourself that are not on your resume. What drives you to be hardworking or what is it you like about working with a team? The more original and specific, the better.
Question: What’s one negative aspect about yourself?
Answer: I’m too passionate about my work.
Everyone has something negative about themselves that can’t actually be turned around into a huge positive. And that’s OK.
Be honest. If there’s something about yourself that’s negative, and you’re in the process of working on it, tell them how. Do you struggle with organization? How do you keep yourself on task? Are you distracted easily? What do you do to refocus throughout the day? Answering with an example gives you a chance to be genuine, but also redeem yourself in the moment.
Interviewing can be nerve wracking, and it’s easy to default under pressure to vague or cliche responses, but you were invited in for a reason — because you’re qualified for this position. Win the employer over with genuine answers, specific details and, above all, be yourself.
Do you know any cliche answers to interview questions? How have you fixed them in the past? Let us know!