At an interview for an energy job, you may be asked any number of questions. Some of these, like “Tell us about yourself” or “When have you failed?” are classics. Others are specific to the job, the employer or your professional background.
No matter what question you’re asked, however, every great interview answer has certain features in common. Here’s what you can expect to find in any great interview answer.
A direct response to the question.
Every great interview answer responds to the question. While this may seem obvious, it’s also common for candidates to give general answers, or to answer a related but unasked question, when they aren’t sure how to answer the question asked.
Believe it or not, an “I don’t know” is better than evading the question. When you say, “I don’t know,” then follow up with a brief explanation of how you would find the answer, you demonstrate you’re willing to admit your limitations and then push past them.
A connection between the content of the question, the candidate’s skills and the employer’s needs.
In a great interview answer, you stand out from other candidates by demonstrating you understand how the question relates both to the employer’s needs and to your own skill set. For instance, the question “When have you failed?” gives you the chance to describe how you learn from past mistakes and apply that knowledge to avoid repeating the error—an essential quality for employers who need to avoid similar mistakes and who want their staff to take charge of learning.
Specific, memorable examples.
A vivid story sticks in an interviewer’s memory long after lists of credentials or skills fade, and the person who told it sticks in the memory as well. Illustrate your answers to questions like “When have you failed?” or “What is your process for handling his problem?” by briefly telling a story of a time you addressed a similar issue, what you did and what the results were.
An answer to the question, “What’s in it for us?”
Every interview question has a second question hidden within it. That question is, “How does hiring this person help us?”
When asked, “Tell us about yourself,” your answer should frame your skills and experience in a way that explains how you’re valuable to the company. When asked, “Have you ever disagreed with your supervisor? What happened?”, tell your story in a way that demonstrates your ability to handle conflicts constructively with the ‘big picture’ in mind. When the employer knows you’ll be valuable to them, they’ll be far more likely to hire you.
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