Interview Questions and Answers: Self awareness and interview questions

If you think you're self-conscious when answering interview questions, you may be surprised to hear that your feelings are perfectly natural. Even that built-in paranoia is quite normal. It's actually a survival instinct.

This is an awareness of situation, and those who are highly alert in new situations are supposed to have particularly good survival instincts. Some people will be horrified to hear that their loathing of job interviews is based on good instincts, but that's only part of the story.

This level of alertness is good, for any interviewee. It's 'thinking on your feet', in the most literal sense. Many people perform badly at interviews because they simply don't pick up signals, or don't listen closely. They turn their interviews into routines, usually unsuccessful routines. Both interview questions and interview answers are dealt with on auto pilot, and the results are usually terrible.

The alert interviewee registers every interview question, and all signals from interviewers, instantly. When giving any interview answer, an alert interviewee is monitoring what they're saying, looking out for mistakes, in self defence. The interview answer will be checked while in progress, to cover anything that might be missed.

Learning to listen to yourself and your interview answers

If this sounds like an alert interviewee is pretty jumpy, it really means that alert people look where they're going, and listen to what they're saying. It's actually pretty easy to learn how to listen to yourself, in an interview environment. All that's needed is some practice.

The trick is to check to see if your interview answers make sense, and come out sounding the way you want them to sound, with the right information.

You can practice by yourself, or with a friend, but try it out.

  • Pick any ordinary interview question you've ever heard.
  • Think about the interview question, and decide how you want to answer it, and what you want to say.
  • Now, try saying your normal interview answer to that question, out loud.

How'd you do? The likely result of the first attempt is that you missed something you intended to say in your interview answer. That's quite normal, and quite infuriating after any interview, when you realize you could have given a much better interview answer.

Even if you pick a different interview question, and have to give a completely different interview answer, you'll do better next time. You've already learned what you want to avoid, when giving your interview answers. You'll find that you check out the interview questions more effectively, too. You'll have a better idea of how you want to respond, and your interview answer will be more decisive.

The difference when you learn to listen to yourself giving an interview answer, is that you're using your alertness to monitor yourself. You therefore make fewer mistakes. Mentally, you're looking where you're going, and trying not to put your feet in your mouth when putting together your interview answers.