5 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions

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When going into an interivew, it's best to be prepared. We've got the right answers to the questions you should be ready for.

Hiring managers and recruiters ask job seekers a variety of questions to glean specific details. The key is giving them the information they want. Some questions are designed to get to know you as a person by shedding light on your credentials, experiences and opinions, says Tina Ragin, senior talent acquisition partner with Invesco. Others focus on how competent you are by asking about particular situations. Recruiters want to hear well-thought-out, honest responses, adds Kimberly Jones, talent acquisition leader for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Below, our experts decode what recruiters are trying to discover, and suggest ways you could reply.

Question: Are you affiliated with any professional organizations?

What They're Looking For: Your credentials

How to Respond: Give names, chairmanships and offices held.

Question: Have you been a team leader? How did you organize a project?

What They're Looking For: Your experiences

How to Respond: Explain how you led or motivated others in completing a special project.

Question: What are you looking for in your next job?

What They're Looking For: Your opinion

How to Respond: Explain how you hope to grow through different aspects of the job requirements you are applying for.

Question: Describe a situation where you had to think on your feet.

What They're Looking For: Your competency in a past situation

How to Respond: When describing the situation, include the actions you took to get specific results.

Question: What would you do if you were challenged to meet a deadline?

What They're Looking For: Your ability to command a future situation

How to Respond: Give an example of a similar situation you experienced in the past and say what you did to get definitive results.

This article was originally published in the October issue of ESSENCE magazine, on newsstands now. 

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