You’ve perfected your CV, written a great cover letter and now you’ve been invited to an interview. This is the crucial part of your application process when the potential employer will get the best idea as to whether or not you will be a good fit for their business and the role. It is therefore crucial that you come prepared to make the best impression you possibly can.
We’ve done some research into the most common interview questions so you can kickstart your preparations.
1. Why do you want to work here?
Preparing an answer to this question is a starting point for the rest of your interview preparation as this will form the basis of many of your other answers. There are three key things you need to do with your answer to this question:
- Show your enthusiasm for the company and what they do
- Show that you would be a great fit for the role on offer
- Explain how this move makes sense for you in the wider context of your career
To find out more about what interviewers are looking for when they ask this question, see our article on ‘How to answer ‘Why do you want this job?’’
2. Can you tell us what you know about our company?
Make sure you’ve done your research! You should be able to give an overview of what the company does. It should be relatively easy to find this information on the company’s website or via a quick Google search. Your interviewers will be looking to see how well prepared you are for the interview and how interested you really seem in working for their company. This will give them an indication as to whether you might be a long-term hire or not.
3. Can you tell me a bit more about yourself?
When you’re asked this in an interview, make sure your answer is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your interviewers don’t want your life story, instead, they want to know about your professional life, how you got to this stage in your career and what your goals are. Ideally, you’ll be able to explain exactly how this job fits in perfectly with your aspirations.
4. Describe a challenge you’ve had working with other people. How did you overcome it?
Teamwork and communication skills are central to many roles and recruiters will be trying to work out how you’ll fit into their team. Make sure you choose an example where you used a skill relevant to the role to overcome the challenge.
5. Why are you leaving your current job?
Your interviewer will be interested in why you’re applying for the role which will usually involve finding out why you’re leaving your current job. This is especially relevant if there are gaps in your employment history or you haven’t been in your current role for very long. The key to answering this question is to position the move as a positive and how it will help your career progress.
We explain how to answer this question in more detail in our ‘How to answer ‘Why are you leaving your current job?’’
6. How do you think your current/former boss would describe you?
This is a tricky question that is sometimes asked in order to gauge your self-awareness. Try to frame your answer within the context of the job you’re applying for. What do you think your boss would highlight that would be an asset in the role you’re interviewing for?
7. When was the last time you made a mistake?
Although questions like this can seem to be mean, they are actually a great opportunity for you to tell a story that promotes your skills. The question you want to answer here is not all about the mistake, it’s about how you dealt with it. Did you try to cover it up? Or were you proactive about fixing it?
8. Tell me about a time you had to execute a bad idea.
In a similar way to the question above, when you’re asked this question it’s more about how you dealt with the situation rather than what the bad idea actually was. Were you aware that it was a bad idea? Or did you not think about the consequences before you went ahead with it? Were you open in your communication about it?
9. What are you most proud of that’s NOT on your CV?
This is your chance to reveal a bit more of your character to your interviewers. However, it’s still important that you choose a hobby or achievement that shows off a skill relevant to the job. Perhaps you’re going for a management role and can talk about the time you captained a sports team, for example.
10. What can you bring to this role?
Make sure you have a good answer lined up for this question as this is a great opportunity for you to explain what you can offer that the other candidates might not be able to. We explain how to go about preparing for this question in another article: ‘Interview tips: ‘What can you bring to this role?’’
11. What is your greatest weakness?
This is the classic interview question that every interview candidate dreads. And don’t think you will get away with saying you don’t have any or that you’re ‘too much of a perfectionist’. The key to answering this question is to choose a genuine weakness, but then explain how you managed to combat or overcome this weakness.
We go into more detail on how to prepare for this question in ‘How to answer “What is your greatest weakness?”’
12. What are your salary expectations?
It can sometimes be difficult to know where to go with this question. You need to make sure that you go for a reasonable range that covers what you need and that is competitive within your field. Many candidates worry that they will put recruiters off if they go too high. Here are some more tips on how to go about answering this question: ‘How to answer ‘What are your salary expectations?’’
13. Why should I hire you?
If you’re not a natural salesperson, this can be a tricky question to tackle. However, this is your chance to deliver your best pitch so it’s really important that you’re prepared to tell your interviewers why you’re the best person for the job. Make sure that you back up any skills you highlight with examples of how you’ve used them.
Here are some more tips to get you started with this question: ‘How to answer ‘Why should we hire you?’
14. Tell me how your current skills fit with the requirements for this job?
When preparing an answer to this question, start with the job description. From this, you should be able to get a good understanding of what the interviewers are going to be looking for. Cross-reference the skills on the job description with a list of your own and pick out the most important ones for the role. The interviewers will be looking for you to pick out these key skills in order to demonstrate that you have an understanding of what the role will entail. Always back up any claims you make about your skills with examples.
15. Do you have any questions for us/me?
This is your chance to find out anything that isn’t quite clear to you about the role or the company. It’s also your chance to reiterate just how interested you are in the role and working for the company.
Make sure you have a list of questions prepared as some of them may be answered throughout the rest of the interview. You might want to take a copy of the job description with you into the interview and jot down your questions on here.
If you’re struggling with where to start with this, we have some suggestions of what to ask in this article: ‘10 great questions to ask your interviewer’.
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