(August 2016) - As the fall semester gets underway, students are returning to campus for another round of classes. But it’s never too early to begin planning for the next step, whether that’s an internship or finding a job after graduation. The key to landing any internship or job is the interview.
Interviewees must have go-to answers hammered out long before sitting down with a prospective employer. How you answer behavioral questions can make or break your chances of landing your dream internship or job.
“Tell me about a time when …” “Give me an example of a time when …” “Describe a time when …"
Being well prepared for an interview means anticipating some of the questions you might be asked.
TheMuse.com’s Lily Zhang compiled a list of 30 behavioral interview questions hopeful hires should be ready to answer. Zhang breaks the questions into six categories.
Employers want to hear more than cookie-cutter responses. They want examples of times when you’ve exemplified desirable employee characteristics. For any question an interviewer asks, you should have a polished answer complete with a real-world example.
One of the teamwork questions Zhang says interviewees should be prepared for is: “Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.”
Only you have the answer for questions like this. When preparing a compelling answer, Zhang says to recall a time when there was a conflict between you and your coworkers and how you used your communication skills to get past the issue.
Interviewers will often asked veiled questions in an attempt to learn about what motivates you. A question to be on the lookout for is: “Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.”
Zhang says your answer would ideally address the underlying question, not just the one being asked.
For example, if your proudest achievement is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, be sure to elaborate on why that is and how you got to that point. Think about how your answer and phrasing might come across to the person asking the question. While you might have achieved great things personally, it most likely wasn’t without the help of others.
I highly recommend you take the time to read through the full list of questions before your next big interview. Read them here.