Hiring managers say this is the most critical part of a job intervew 

During the interview process, you definitely walk a line between showing your best self and not sounding overly boastful.

Instead of one-word descriptions or adjectives, give full descriptions of your strengths, says Heather Barker, director of human resources at TGS, a Houston data company.

“The answer can’t just be, ‘I’m really good at communication,’ or ‘I’m a perfectionist,'” Barker said.

Tell a story or anecdote that illustrates your commitment to long hours, and the results of your superior communication ability.

List three ways you pay attention to detail. “Identify what you are good at, why and how you’ve done so in the past,” Barker said. If your manager gave positive feedback on a project, mention that, as well.

One piece of advice Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of human resources at Indeed.com, the job site, always gives is to research the company. Understand as much as possible from Glassdoor reviews and other information that’s available online.

“You’re probably a few degrees of separation from someone who works there,” Wolfe said. By all means, reach out for advice.

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Get a handle on the culture and mission. This background can help you come up with a set of go-to questions to ask the recruiter.

You definitely want to arrive armed with questions. “The thing that strikes me [is] when I ask candidates what questions they have for me and they don’t have any ,” said Wolfe. “That’s a bit of a red flag. Are they really interested in this company?”

A good question in most situations is asking what the company culture is like. Wolfe recommends asking it of everyone you meet during the interview process to see if the answers are similar or not. “Asking about the company’s mission is good,” Wolfe said. “It helps you to understand their focus and if they can clearly state it.”

Ever wonder about the reasoning behind the so-called curveball interview questions?

“The company is trying to evaluate a unique skill set or culture fit that isn’t easily identifiable using other types of questions,” Barker said. So if you’re asked to figure out the weight of a 747 jet, but all the documentation has been lost, and there’s no large-enough scale, don’t panic.

“Ask for clarification,” Barker said. “Provide alternative solutions and ask questions. How many resources do you have?”

Sticky questions about salary or why you left your last job should be answered honestly. “Anyone should expect these to come up in an interview,” Wolfe said. “Focus on what you’re looking for in a new company or a new role. Don’t focus on the negative.”

No need to lie. Wolfe recommends moving on quickly to your future goals and the type of role you are looking for.

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