Questions


Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. Here’s a list of the most common questions and a guide to the kind of answers your interviewer wants to hear. The responses below are only suggestions. Personalise your responses as much as possible and avoid giving generic answers. Keep it brief and to the point. Remember to stay calm if you’re facing a difficult question and take a moment to think about it before answering.

Question: Tell us about yourself

Answer: This is usually the opening question and, as first impressions are key, one of the most important. Keep your answer to under five minutes, beginning with an overview of your highest qualification then running through the jobs you’ve held so far in your career. You can follow the same structure of your CV.

Q: What would you say are your strong points?

A:Pick the three biggest attributes that you think are the most important for this job and explain how these strengths are useful in work situations. They could be tangible skills, such as proficiency in a particular computer language, or intangible skills such as good man-management. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the job description. There is usually a section listing candidate requirements, which should give you an idea of what they are looking for.

Q: What would you say are your weak points?

A: The dreaded question, which is best handled by picking something that you have made positive steps to redress. For example, if your IT ability is not at the level it could be, state it as a weakness but tell the interviewer about training courses or time spent outside work hours you have used to improve your skills.

Q: Why do you want this job?

A: Think carefully about it. Your answer is very important for the interviewer. Quote the aspects of the job that you like and explain why it matches with your career path and your expectations. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job you are being interviewed for.

Q: What do you know about this company?

A: This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run down of their products/services, news, customers, etc. This shows that you are interested in the company and have done some research.

Q: Why do you want to work for this company?

A:The interviewer is waiting for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought. If you’ve prepared for the interview properly, you should have a good inside knowledge of the company’s values, mission statement, development plans and products. Use these information to explain why you like this job and why it matches your career ambitions. You can conclude telling the interviewer what you would bring to the company.

Q: You have not done this sort of job before. How will you succeed?

A:Show your qualities that will enable you to be successful in this position. That can be your capacity for adaptation or your strong interest for the field for instance.

Q: Why should we hire you?

A: What makes you special? You should be able to find out what they are looking for from the job description. Stress the similarities between your profile and your experience and their requirements. Explain what you would bring to the company and why picking you and not someone is will be strategic for us.

Q: What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?

A: Explain why you are interested in the job and ask questions about what you possibly dislike. Stay positive about it.

Q: Why did you choose a career in …?

A: Be positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.

Q: How much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for? What are the differences?

A:The interviewer is trying to see how well you would fit in to the position. Point up the similarities rather than the differences.

Q: What do you think of the last company you worked for?

A: You should stress ONLY the positive aspects of your last company. Tell them about the training you received or the work related experience you gained.

Q: Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?

A: Remember why you applied for this role! You can explain what you like about small, medium or large companies, and put a focus on the type of company you are applying to for this role.

Q: Why are you looking for a new job?

A:Explain your reasons for moving. Do not say negative things about your current employer.

Q: What would your ideal job be?

A:Again, remember where you are! Describe the job with the help of the job description. Quote things such as challenging projects, interesting career opportunities, good team atmosphere, learning and mastering new skills etc.

Q: Did you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?

A: If you progressed faster than normal you should say so. If growth was not as good as expected then be careful how you phrase this.

Q: How do you handle criticism?

A:Mention the positive aspects of criticism and think of an experience you had where it was useful to get criticism. Your answer should be along the following lines: “I always think that it is important to get feedback on how I am performing so that I can improve my work.

Q: Can you act on your own initiative?

A:Think of an example where you have had to do something on your own initiative in your current job.

Q: What motivates you?

A: List your motivations such as: career growth, opportunity to learn new skills, good co-workers etc.

Q: Can you work under pressure?

A: Think of when you have had to work under pressure and how you reacted to it.

Q: How many hours are you prepared to work?

A: You should be prepared to work the necessary hours to get the job done on time.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: Link in all your goals and the ones that are relevant to the company who is interviewing you.

Q: What interests do you have outside work?

A:Your hobbies and interests can tell an employer a lot about you, including whether you are sociable or solitary, and whether you can take on leadership roles. Think about which interests can be a plus for the position you want.

Q: Are you prepared to relocate?

A: If you are, say so. If it’s maybe, then you have to explain that it could depend on location, salary, etc…

Q: What did you earn in your last job? What level of salary are you looking for now?

A: You should know what the average salary is for the position you are being interviewed. You can find surveys on internet that will enables you to have an idea of the salary braket. Once you have that information, decide of a salary you think is fair for the experience and skills you have.

Q: What will your referees say about you?

A:Include one thing that shows your ability to do the job, one thing that shows your commitment to the work and one thing that shows you are a good person to have in a team.

Q: Do you like working in a team environment or do you prefer working alone?

A:Think about your experience in a team environment and about a time where you had to be autonomous. Describe both.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?

A:It’s best to talk about both short-term and long-term goals. Talk about the kind of job you’d eventually like to do and the various steps you will need to get there, relating this in some way back to the position you’re interviewing for.

Q: Why would you want a position like this?

A: List your goals and interests

Q: If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?

A:Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer ‘a bunny’, you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer ‘a lion’, you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality will it take to be successful in this job?


 

Remain calm
Answer to questions

Interview questions can sometime catch you off-guard but this can be a good thing as it gives you a chance to show your ability to think and react quickly.


Ask the recruiter
questions3rec

The interview is a two-way process. Most interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions after they’ve finished grilling you, so be prepared to make the most of it.