Part of the stress that comes with a job interview is the knowledge that the hiring manager has a list of questions she may ask, and you don’t always know what’s on the list.
Sometimes, however, as you strive to highlight the skills and accomplishments that make you stand out as a candidate, you might find that there are a few questions that did not get asked.
Should you give up and play it safe by only answering what you’re asked? Definitely not! An interview is an exchange of ideas and inquiry into your fit, so it’s well within interview etiquette to take the conversation where it needs to go.
If you struggle to make sure every interview highlights your strengths, here are a few ideas for structuring your interview to answer those unasked, yet vitally important, questions:
Identify the Questions Likely to be Asked
Make a list of questions you know the interviewer is likely to ask. You can do this by performing a web search such as “[Job Title] + Interview questions” or referring to your notes from past interviews to see which questions came up.
For example, if you are interviewing for a copy writing position, you may receive questions about what you write, how often you write, what you’re reading and how you stay creative or energized throughout the day.
Identify the Questions you Need to Answer
Review your resume and cover letter and consider your job history. Which significant moments, concepts and accomplishments are important to bring up in the interview?
For example, as you interview for the copy writing position you’ll want to highlight moments in your career when your work was particularly well received by a previous employer.
Identify Overlaps in the Lists
Compare the lists to each other and see if there are any obvious connections. If your interviewer is likely to ask “Tell me about the most recent book you’ve read,” prepare an answer that links your most recent reading to an accomplishment at work.
Use Unasked Questions as Questions You Ask
If you still have unasked questions, consider whether or not you can rephrase or include them as questions for your employer.
The job interview represents a significant opportunity for you to present your skills, accomplishments and unique fit for the working environment. It’s not likely that you can fit all of that into the pre-chosen questions of the average interviewer. Add an edge to your interview by planning and answering the unasked questions in a way that continues the conversation and highlights your abilities for the hiring manager.
Ashleane Alabre is a third year communication studies major from Miami, Fl. When not in class, Ashelane enjoys ballet dancing, sightseeing, and literature. Keep up with Ashleane on her Tumblr.