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Nail Any Interview With These Fail Proof Answer Formulas

Nail Any Interview With These Fail Proof Answer Formulas

You spent hours perfecting your CV and resume and you’ve locked down the interview! So now what? At this point in the game, your potential employer has seen you have the necessary qualifications, it’s just a matter of seeing how you would fit in with the team.

Here are some common but essential questions that come up in every interview.

Q: Why do you want to work at _____?

This is going to be a question you get in basically every interview. The purpose of it is to see if you have a genuine interest in working for the said company. If they are going to commit to investing in you as an employee, they need to know you are making an equally committed investment in them. So how do you tackle this question? Make sure you do the research on the company. Have specifics about the company that you can refer to and that you genuinely like. Then try to make the connection of how the focus or values of the company align with your own interests.

Example: I like (x)’s values and goals, I think they are visionary, or I like the work-life balance culture that has been developed at (x).

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Try to avoid things that are too general. You want to really wow your interviewer with how much you know about the company.

If you are an experienced professional you can tell them exactly what you want to accomplish at (x) organization. Identify areas you think you can improve and tell them how.

Q: So tell me about a time you displayed_____?

Usually the blank will consist of something like leadership, time management etc. These questions will most likely stem from the traits they are looking for in their future employees. Most people expect this answer and are able to recall on a specific story. Here’s how to go one step further.

After your story, make sure to link back how you could apply this experience to the job. For example: if you worked at a summer camp and you are currently applying for an HR position. Using your organizational skills you were able to keep track of 20 kids and plan activities and make sure they were present at all times. From what I understand about this position, I will need to be managing a team of 15. I believe I can use the skills I learned from my camp experience in keeping track of each member’s progress and tasks etc.

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If you build the bridge for them they don’t even have to think if you would be a good candidate for the job. You are telling them: YES YOU ARE.

They are trying to see if you are a fit for a position, all you have to tell them is yes you are and here’s why.

Q: What’s your biggest weakness?

The “weakness” question is always a tricky one to tackle but there are ways to answer that actually make you more attractive to a potential employer.

However we should start by emphasizing to never mention a weakness that would be detrimental to the job you are applying for and avoid turning too much a good thing into a weakness. Like saying that you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard.

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Everyone has some sort of weakness; the key is to identify one that would not impede your success in the position and to emphasize the steps you have taken to mitigate it. Employers know that no one is perfect and they can appreciate if you recognize this as well. Stating a genuine weakness may actually prove that you are more self- aware and understand how to overcome barriers that may exist.

Q: Do you have any questions?

ASKK!! When an employer asks if you have any questions, it is always best to ask.

Here’s why: There is no way you know everything about the company purely from their website or job description. Some good follow ups would be to ask more specific details about the job and what the companies upcoming goals and visions may be. Also it is important to ask questions to give yourself a better understanding of the company to identify if it’s really somewhere you want to work.

No matter what questions they throw your way, just remember that you are interviewing for something specific. Make sure you stay in the context of the organization or at least link your answers back if you get on a tangent.

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But most importantly, SMILE, be friendly and practice beforehand. As I stated in the beginning of this article, they already know that you have the necessary qualifications. They just want to see if you would be a fit for the team a.k.a someone they wouldn’t mind spending most of their workdays with. So have fun and try to make a connection with your interviewer.

GOOD LUCK.

Featured photo credit: Image of human hand with pen during seminar or conference via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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