How to Answer Interview Questions When You’re Short on Experience

Be Confident

See yourself in the job. The fact that you have been asked to interview shows the hiring manager sees something they like in your resume and wouldn’t waste time on interviewing someone they wouldn’t consider employing.

Understand What It Is the Hiring Manager Wants to Know About You

The first step to answering interview questions successfully is to understand why you have been selected for an interview.

Read the job post again and place it next to your resume. Where is the common ground between them? Does the job description ask for specific skills and personality traits? Are these included in your resume?

Highlight all the commonalities between the job and your resume. These are your positive attributes that have jumped out at the hiring manager. These will be tested with the questions asked during the interview.

Prepare Answers to Probable Questions

The STAR interview answer technique is one that you can apply to any question. By preparing a few answers that demonstrate how you have applied your skills and knowledge to various situations, you’ll be prepared to answer any question.

STAR stands for:

  • Situation – a brief description about a situation been in. This sets the scene for the interviewer.
  • Task – a sentence or two about the task you faced. What was it that needed a resolution?
  • Action – a concise outline of what you did to resolve the issue.
  • Results – round up with an explanation of how your actions made a difference to the outcome.

When you break down answers in this way, you make your explanation relatable and engaging. You are less prone to ramble, and will help the interviewer corroborate what they wish to know about you.

Here’s an example:

Interview question: “Why are you the best person for this job?”

Sample answer:

“The job description asks for someone who is organized and can bring people on board with an idea. While at college, I was asked if I would be prepared to start an investment club.

To do this, I needed to find the scope of the club, arrange for meeting rooms, and decide upon club rules, among other things.

I had some ideas, but wanted to bring others on board, too. I advertised on the college website, and met with fellow students who had expressed an interest in such a club. Together we set up a board, decided on rules and the focus of the club, and then put our ideas into action. I also arranged for a monthly column in the college newspaper and a page on the college website.

I chaired the club for two years, by which time it had grown to be one of the largest extra-curricular bodies on campus.”

Everything Could Be Relevant

You have far more experience than you think. Internships, volunteer placements, and membership of clubs and associations can all prove to be foundations of valuable experience. Even those few months spent as a server are relevant to your application.

Your home life can be a source of inspiration, too. Were you one of half-a-dozen siblings, the one that always managed to keep the peace in a hectic household? That’s some impressive interpersonal skills!

Focus on Your Strengths

Before you attend the interview, and when creating those STAR answers, focus on your personal strengths. Make certain that your answers show how these strengths are related to the job. Also, use them to highlight how you will prove to be a good fit to the team and company culture.

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you have identified the key qualities that have prompted the hiring manager to want to interview you, create answers for all of them. Write them down, and practice them. If it is possible to do so, have a friend ask you questions and reply with one of your prepared answers. Think about how you can adapt each for different scenarios and different types of interview questions.

Don’t Be Too Perfect

Though you should practice your answers in different scenarios, and practice is essential, don’t over-practice. It’s crucial that you don’t give answers that sound rehearsed. You must sound natural. Afterall, an interview is a two-way conversation.

Be Humble

While your job is to expand upon your strengths and personal skillset, there is no room to be egotistical. One of the most common questions is to ask about your weaknesses. Don’t try to hide them. Instead, be forthright and show that you are self-aware, and that any weaknesses you have are being worked on to improve. There is always room for a little humility.

Be Prepared for Your Interview

Even though you may not have job-specific experience, go into your interview in a confident mood. The hiring manager has already seen plenty they like about you. By understanding what this is, you’ll be better positioned to create answers to possible interview questions that will help you highlight your personal strengths.

Sometimes, all you need is a helping hand. That’s why partnering with 6 Degrees can be so beneficial. We get to know and understand you, and recommend the most suitable job(s), whether it is an entry-level position you seek or a career-changing role. We also help you prepare and guide you through the  interview process

To learn how we help candidates land their dreams job faster, submit your resume to 6 Degrees Group.

Take the next step in your job search today