4Ps for handling Interview questions

We have discussed a lot about phases of an interview, role of thorough preparation and importance of body language for effectively handling Interviews. 

But how exactly can you tackle different questions in interviews? What are the strategies that you can use to tackle the variety of challenges that an interview poses? What are specific and concrete, practical pointers for effortlessly answering/discussing during interviews?

  • Pause

Actively listening to the interviewer and the questions posed is a crucial first step to set a good tone for the entire discussion and develop a trustworthy relationship with the interviewers. Due to stress, anxiety and interview pressure, interviewees tend to be in a hurry to answer the questions. This results in incomplete/partial understanding of the question and a very short answer, leaving the interviewer unsatisfied. 

Pauses are uncomfortable at the start but meaningful pauses create a relaxed atmosphere. They help by giving yourself time to breathe, think and respond with your best answer, instead of just reacting hurriedly. Pausing also creates a sense of calmness, values the interviewer and greatly enhances the overall discussion, also positively impacts decision making.

  • Paraphrase

Paraphrasing is using your own understanding of the posed question/sentence for summarizing, diving deeper into the specific topic in focus. It ensures that the intention of the question is carried along in your answer and ensures keeping the conversation within the interviewer’s line of thought. Paraphrasing not just gives you more clarity of the question but also showcases your capability to comprehend, understand and value the interviewer & the questions.

Paraphrasing can serve as a great tool in difficult situations where you are struggling to answer a particular question. Use paraphrasing specifically when you wish to stress on a particular part of the question, have a very strong example/ story that aligns very well with the context of the question. This will elevate the power of your answer and make it more reliable and convincing.

  • Probe

Probing should be used at every point of the discussion where you feel there has been any kind of unclearness or ambiguity in the interviewer’s question, thought process or style of communication. 

It’s normal and fine if you haven’t completely understood the interviewer’s message/question. In such situations, don’t just assume something and base your answer on that assumption. Instead, probe.. Probe to seek clarifications by asking counter questions, understand the intention/reasoning behind the question, uncover more information from the interviewer.

Probing is required even more if there are fundamental cultural differences between the interviewer & interviewee. There could be disparity between what is asked/said by the interviewer and what actually is understood by the interviewee. Probing ensures that everyone is on the same page and also showcases your capability to counter question, aggressively seek clarifications & proactiveness. 

  • Put ideas

Don’t restrict yourself by just giving quick, short & generic answers during the entire discussion. You are unique, have a pleasing personality and mindset that separates you from the crowd. You bring immense possibilities for the employer. Use the interview session to show your ideation skills and new ideas relevant to the specific topics. Prepare well in advance by researching trends & latest happenings in your sector based on the available information regarding the job profile. 

Showcasing your ideas takes the discussion and comfort level to the next level and can enormously help the interviewer during the decision making phase, tilt the decision in your favor. It also portrays your high degree of self-confidence and courage to share your ideas, your attitude of taking extra efforts and going beyond what is expected.

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