Job Interview Basics : Personal Questions
Of all the questions you'll be asked, personal and family ones appear to be the most "statistical." For this reason, most jobseekers answer them in a "static" way, with "name, rank, and serial number." They're also often emotionally charged, since interviewers ask about personal perils, family feuds, and status symbols. Therefore, rehearsing your lines is particularly important, since what you say is as important as what you convey.
While most of the questions in this area have only marginal value in determining your qualifications to perform a specific job, you must get past them so you can get down to business with the interviewer. That's why they're called KO factors. Wrong answers will knock you out in Round 1; right ones will keep you in the ring for a while. Personal and family items are invariably at the top of resumes, on the front of application forms, and at the beginning of interview checklists. Since these are the "cue cards" used in the actual interview, expect the questions in Act 1, Round 1.
"First impressions really count" (and they really do to overworked people who are interviewing), this is your chance to shine. Most film critics will tell you they lock into a review within five minutes. If they watch longer, it's either to enjoy the show or to justify their negative rating. That's why lawyers often see judges writing their decisions from the bench soon after the opening statements. Yours will, too. Your judge is overworked.
Then greet the interviewer with the Magic Four Hellos:
1.) Smile. If you can't fake it, just think about how lucky the interviewer is to be meeting you.
2.) Direct eye contact. If it's too much for you, look at the bridge of the interviewer's nose.
3.) Introduce yourself. Say, "Hi, I'm (first name) (last name). It's a pleasure meeting you."
4) A firm but gentle handshake. Rehearse. No live shark; no dead flounder. Then, once you're “on the road", head for the chair on your favored side (right if you are right-handed, etc.) If you're ambidextrous, you can take center stage. Just be sure there's a chair behind you. Stand there until you're asked to be seated.