How to Answer Open-Ended Interview Questions

Interview Panel

Tip of the Day

When you’re asked an open-ended question during an interview, success is about delivering a good answer and delivering it well. The first part is about preparation, while the second is about communication skills. Can you deliver a clear, concise, well-structured answer?

Here are two structures that will help you:

  • Nugget First: In this approach, you lead with your thesis, or “nugget.” For example, if you’re asked about a challenging interaction with a co-worker, you say something like: “Let me tell you about the time a teammate objected to the product’s new direction. So what happened was….” This helps your interviewer–and you–focus on what you’re about to say.
  • Situation/Action/Result: In this structure, you clearly outline what the situation was, what action you took and what resulted. Be careful not to give too many details. Your interviewer only needs to know the specifics that actually relate to the action and result.

These two structures are often used in conjunction with each other. You might start with the nugget, and then go into the situation, the action and the result. If nothing else, even if the content of your answer isn’t great, you’ll demonstrate that you have strong communication skills.

Related Articles

Image: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com