If you’ve got a job interview coming up, you might find yourself researching the company and planning out answers to likely questions. Those are both helpful techniques, but it might be better to shift the focus onto yourself. Taking some time to self-reflect and run through your experiences can give you a better understanding of yourself, which can give you a leg up in the interview, especially when it comes to tricky interview questions.

Self-reflection can help you to better respond to those generic, sometimes tough questions interviewers like to ask.

For example, what should you say when interviewers ask about your weaknesses? Understanding yourself better is the key to crafting the right answer. If you think back and are really honest with yourself about the highs and lows of your career, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

What about questions that ask you to consider another person’s point of view?

For instance: “What would your past or present colleagues say is the best thing about working with you?”

A good way to approach this is to think back on any feedback you’ve received. If nothing comes to mind, try to identify what makes your working relationships… work! What qualities of yours make you an essential part of a team? Be sure to have some anecdotes ready.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is probably one of the most dreaded interview questions. It might take some of the stress out of answering if you keep in mind that the interviewer isn’t looking for all the details. They’re just looking to find out your general goals and aspirations. So imagine your life in a few years. What’s different? And where do you want to go after that?

It might help to take out your resume and a notepad, go through each item on your resume, and jot down some notes about the highs and lows that come to mind when you think back on your career. Be ready to describe yourself and the cornerstones of your professional life as full-fledged stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Be honest, but also be sure to accentuate the positive and present what our career experts refer to as “the best version of you!”

And if you get stumped on a question? Don’t worry. Take a breath, let your interviewer know you need a few seconds, and ask questions for additional information if you need to. Want more great tips on how to handle interviews? Check out more great tips in our blog (including this great video on landmine interview questions) or, better yet, reach out to the experts at TalentBridge today!