Ever wondered what you might be asked in an interview? I’ve put together a few of the most common questions and advice on answering them, so you can avoid those awkward interview silences...
Tell us a bit about yourself...
This will most likely be the first question you are asked at an interview. It gives you a chance to highlight your achievements and skills in both a personal and professional capacity. Give details of your educational and work achievements and also your reasons for pursuing this job role; what gave you an interest in the subject, as this will identify your passion. Don’t talk for too long but ensure that you are giving the employer a real insight into your strengths, as this is the perfect opportunity to shine. It is important to keep the job you are applying for in mind, and tailor your responses to the requirements of the job.
How would your friends/ co-workers describe you?
This question enables you to highlight the qualities about yourself that you are most proud of. Use positive words and phrases and if possible, tie them in to match the job you are going for. Things such as being a hard worker, reliable and trustworthy are all valuable skills that you could bring to a workplace.
Why do you want to work here?
‘I need a job’ may be the worst possible thing you could say at this point. This is your opportunity to show the employer you have done your homework. Find out as much as you can beforehand about the company, what their mission statement is, what values they uphold and what goals they wish to achieve. You should be able to find this information on the company website, especially the ‘About Us’ section. Tell the employer what you hope to achieve within the company, what you think you can do to help them achieve their goals and emphasise why you have the skills to be able to undertake this task.
What are your strengths?
Ensure that you give examples that are really relevant to the post you are applying for. Things such as ability to work well under pressure, being quick to learn new things, and particular computer skills you may possess are all useful strengths for any job. Be prepared to think of examples of when you have displayed these skills, as the employer may ask you to demonstrate an example.
What are your weaknesses?
What do you know about this company?
There are two things to remember when approaching this question. The first, and most important fact, is to ensure that the weaknesses you discuss are not vital to the job in question. Try to identify a weakness that you are taking active steps to improve. For example, ‘I did not feel I was particularly competent using this IT software, but I have taken steps outside of work to improve this by researching and learning in my own time.’ This will show that you are capable of identifying your own faults but also emphasises your ability to self-improve.
Use this opportunity to show the interviewer that you are serious about this job and that you have taken the time to prepare. Find out about the company, their goals, achievements and mission statements. Make sure you are aware of how the company works, the departments within the business, and if they have a particular stance on environmental, ethical issues. Pick something about the company that really interests you and let them know that you have a shared interest.
Why should we employ you?
The best way to answer this question is to know your strengths, skills and accomplishments and relate these to the job description. You should emphasise any accomplishments you are particularly proud of in your previous roles and how these accomplishments would translate to the new position and enable you to be successful within the company. You should make positive, confident statements about what you can bring to the company and emphasise your interest in the business and the job itself.
Why did you leave your last job?
Explain that you are looking to the future and that your previous company did not offer you the best opportunity to further your career. Ensure that you do not openly criticise your previous employer and do not bring any personal grievances with you to the interview. Keep a professional head when answering questions that may concern personal issues.
These questions are just a starting point for you to chew over, but make sure to check back as I will be adding more interview questions soon. Preparation is the key for the perfect interview, and the ideal way to keep those nerves at bay!