When answering interview questions it is important to back up your claims with one or two examples. This adds to your believability and credibility.
To help structure your examples to include all the information the interviewer wants to hear without them losing interest, there is a well known technique to answering interview questions called the STAR Method.
S – Situation, the circumstances or background of the example,
T – Task, what’s required or what needs to happen in that situation,
A – Action, what you did. What your specific actions were to accomplish this task,
R – Results, the outcome of your actions. Make sure it is quantified and that its significance is mentioned.
“What’s your best quality?”
“My best quality is my ability to thrive under pressure. An example of this is (situation) during our latest product launch. We heard confirmed rumours a competitor was due to release something similar the following month, (task) so we needed to bring forward our release date by two weeks. (action) I was responsible for the marketing, so I managed the process to account for the lost time.
I delegated revised tasks to the team, maintained an active dialogue to ensure everyone was pulling in the same direction, and kept a close eye on morale and motivated the team when required. As a result of this (result), we completed the project and launched two days early. We smashed initial sales projections by 10%, which was largely attributed to the marketing campaign.”
There’s one other type of tough question worth mentioning here, which is:
“Why do you want to leave your job?”
This is always asked, and requires a little preparation because you don’t want to mention anything that could show you in a negative light. When answering interview questions like this there is another technique, the CLAMPS method, which covers acceptable reasons for leaving.
C – Challenge, the job became mundane and your skills were no longer tested.
L – Location, your commute was unreasonably long.
A – Advancement, there was nowhere for you to progress career-wise.
M – Money, you were unreasonably rewarded for your contribution.
P – Pride or Prestige, you wanted to be with a more prestigious company, or be involved in work you can be more proud of.
S – Security, your position was not secure.
“Why did you leave your last position?”
“I left my last position because there was no room for advancement. The structure was bottom heavy and there were too many people in front of me that needed to be promoted before I could be. As a result of this structure the work had become mundane. I need a position which really tests my skills and offers a challenge. And I need to work in a company which will recognise my contribution and give me more responsibility when I become ready to handle it.”