Be Specific

Be specific when answering questions at a job interview. Back up your statements with numbers, examples, or stories. It will help you sound more convincing and genuine.

Compare these two answers.

“My greatest professional achievement is increasing my sales last year. I was able to do this by making new contacts.”

“My greatest professional achievement is increasing my sales by 12% during the second half of last year. I was able to do this by making contacts with representatives from several companies in Europe. I met them at a seminar about wireless communication systems, and I was able to convince them that doing business with my company was best for them.”

Which answer is more impressive? Obviously, the second answer is more persuasive and genuine because of the details.

The best way to be specific during an interview is to prepare beforehand. Think of the numbers, examples, or stories that you will use. Memorize them or write them down on the notepad that you will bring to the interview. It is fine to check a number or figure during an interview. It shows that you are prepared, careful, and organized.

Vocabulary from the Article

1. to be specific: to be clearly defined and detailed

  • Our company focuses on meeting our customers’ specific needs.
  • Try to give specific answers during a job interview.

2. to back up: to support

  • You need to back up your answers with examples or data.
  • I will back you up if you need it.

3. to be genuine: to be real and authentic

  • His apology seemed genuine.
  • Is this a genuine Rolex watch or is it a fake one?

4. beforehand: in advance; before something happens

  • You need to reserve a hotel room beforehand.
  • If you are going to make any changes, please let me know beforehand.