Imagine if you knew all the questions you’d be asked in your interview before the big day...
It would be like having the answers to an exam in advance. While there are no firm guarantees around what you#ll be asked, the ten questions below come up time and time again. Here’s how to answer them well!
Tell me about yourself…
This a very open question, but your interviewer basically wants to hear what makes you a good fit for the job, so stick to facts that are relevant and that paint you in a positive light. Don’t be tempted to tell your life story or deepest secrets, but let your personality shine through.
Why do you want to work here?
This is where your research about the organisation will pay off. Explain how your values and vision align with those of the company. Talk about your passion for what the organisation does, whether that’s building stunning offices or handling client accounts.
What are your strengths?
Describe what you’re best at, what you most enjoy doing and what other people have said you are good at. Give examples of times when you have used these strengths.
What are your weaknesses?
This is one of the most dreaded interview questions out there, but all you really need to do is think of a weakness that doesn’t disqualify you. For example, if you’re bad at filing paperwork, explain that you’ve developed a new system that has helped to combat this weakness.
Why should we give you the job?
You should be familiar with the job and person specifications, and this is your time to demonstrate how you tick the right boxes and can deliver what they are looking for. Give examples of how you have used your skills and experience to benefit your current company. For example, if you’ve smashed all your sales targets, explain why you’re a good salesperson and how you can be a major asset in a prospective sales role.
What’s your best achievement and why?
Think of a situation in which you have personally made a difference. For example, you went to Uganda to build a school and 20 kids are receiving an education as a result. Or you worked full-time while studying for a degree. Then relate this achievement to the role. Perhaps it taught you how to prioritise or fuelled your passion for working with children.
Describe a time something went wrong and how you dealt with it
There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t experienced some sort of difficulty, so think of a project or situation that didn’t go to plan and explain why it didn’t work. Share how you felt about it and what you did to turn it around. Communicate what you learnt from the experience and how you would do things differently in the future.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Be careful with this one. You want to show that you are committed to the company and ambitious, without obviously being on the prowl for your boss’ job! You certainly don’t want to suggest the role is simply a stepping stone to something bigger and better elsewhere. Explain that you would like to develop and take on increasing responsibility as time goes by, but that your primary goal is to do the job well at whatever level you find yourself.
What motivates you?
Your motivations say a lot about you. If you’re simply in it for the money or the social status, this won’t reflect well on you. Maybe you’re motivated by new challenges, a passion for travel or your personal belief system. Be honest and enthusiastic, explaining how this motivation will help you to perform this role with excellence.
Do you have any questions?
Interviews are a two-way process and it’s important that you show a genuine interest in the organisation. You can ask about the role, about opportunities for personal development or about the team you would be working in. Ask what they enjoy about working there. Try not to make it all about the money, but it’s ok to ask about salary if it hasn’t already been specified.