It’s the stuff of a job seeker’s worst nightmares – being in an interview for their dream job and not being able to answer a question they’ve just been asked. Such thoughts can fill job seekers with dread, and make them anxious when facing into an interview. According to experts at King of CV, a popular New Zealand CV writing service, many job seekers struggle with the anxiety of how to answer difficult questions at an interview: “Many of the people who come to talk to our interview coaches because they have a real fear of tripping up over one of the questions they’re asked during an interview.” However, there are some strategies you can use to make sure that this nightmare doesn’t happen in an interview for your dream job.

Don’t Forget to Listen

Interviews can be nerve-racking experiences, and it’s easy for an interviewee to get lost for a moment in the anxiety and tension. It’s important, however, that job seekers keep their focus and listen to the interviewers when they’re asking questions. Seeming distracted will not make a good impression on potential employers. One way to help keep focused is to keep eye contact with whoever is speaking during the interview. It will help convey interest and project a sense of confidence.

Maintain Positivity

Interviewers can often ask awkward questions, or sometimes interviewees can trip up trying to answer a simple question. One way to face awkward questions and avoid tripping up is for job seekers to keep a positive theme running through their answers. Potential employers don’t want to employ someone who’s leaving their current job because they can’t stand their boss or their work colleagues. Focusing on the positive aspects of a new job – such as fresh challenges and new opportunities – gives a better impression to interviewers, and helps them picture the interviewee as a positive person who would fit in well with their team.

Emergency Strategy

In his book Winning Job Interviews, Dr Paul Power gives a handy formula for answering questions that job seekers might otherwise struggle to answer. He recommends that the fail safe answer to any question can be summed up in an easily remembered formula: Experience + Knowledge + Personal Characteristics = Fail Safe Answer. Highlighting knowledge and experience allows a job seeker to showcase their achievements to interviewers. Highlighting personal characteristics enables the job seeker to show what they uniquely bring to the table, and how well they can function both independently and as part of a team.


Keep it short and simple! Some job seekers can get overwhelmed and give over elaborate answers during an interview. It’s best to keep answers simple and not to go over one or two mintues. According to an interview coach at King of CV, “We always advise people who come to us for help to keep their answers simple and to the point. Interviewers don’t want to be overloaded with too much information. They want to know that you can communicate your ideas in a way that isn’t off putting.”

Interviews can be stressful for job seekers, but they don’t have to be the stuff of nightmares. Following simple strategies can help to turn interviews into a positive experience for job seekers. Professional interview coaches can help job seekers develop strategies like the ones listed above to help them take the stress out of interviews.