Preparation is the key – nail your job interview with these common questions.
There are common job interview questions that regardless of job position or industry, recruiters always seem to ask. You do not want to sound like you have rehearsed your answer or sound unnatural but you do want to be prepared for any possible interview questions. This is your opportunity to show why you are the perfect candidate, demonstrate your interest in the role and the company and what value you can bring.
Tell me about yourself
This question is often asked first as an icebreaker to ease the tension between the interviewee and the interviewer. Don’t just give people a rundown of your resume – this is your chance to show your personality. Tell them your USP (unique selling proposition) and what sets you apart from the other candidates and why they should hire you for the position. You are giving them an overview of who you are, professionally speaking.
What do you know about this company?
It is very easy for a prospective client to research a company online and there is little excuse for not being able to answer this question. As well as looking at their website, the products and services they offer, the ‘About us’ page and media releases, add yourself to their social networking accounts and find out what they are chatting about. Demonstrate your understanding of the role and how it fits in with the organisation and industry.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is one of the more common job interview questions and this is a chance for you to shine and really talk up your strengths. Try and link them to an actual real-life example of work you have done in previous positions. With weaknesses, try and make them into a positive and show what you have learnt. For example, you can say that you’re a perfectionist but you have learnt that you can’t hold onto tasks for too long.
Describe a time when you were faced with a difficult situation and how you handled it
These types of questions are behavioural questions and you may be asked different variations. These are very tricky and are designed to catch the interviewee out so be prepared for them. Try to present a professional challenge that places you in a positive light and one that you successfully resolved. The best way to approach these questions is by using the STAR method which is:
S – Situation, background set the scene
T – Task or Target, specifics of what’s required, when, where, who
A – Action, what you did, skills used, behaviours, characteristics
R – Result – the outcome, what happened
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This where you can show your commitment to the company and that you want to have a long term future with them. Most companies don’t want to invest in training and development if an employee is planning to leave within the first two years. Find a balance between being realistic about your career goals and being overly-ambitious and coming across as a ‘know-it-all’. When answering this question, keep it work-related.
Why did you leave your last job?
As tempting as it may be to blurt out that you left because of personality conflicts with the boss, this is no time for over-sharing. Respond with a positive answer such as looking for a new challenge, a career advancement or increased responsibility. If you were fired or demoted at your last job, try and put a positive spin on it and be honest about what happened but explain how and what you have learnt from the experience.
Do you have any questions for me?
This is another opportunity for you to demonstrate that your passion for the role and company. The best questions will be a mix of your research and questions based on what was discussed in the interview. Good questions to ask are about a company’s future direction, career opportunities etc. Close the discussion by asking the next step in the interview process will be and when you can expect to hear from them.
If you feel uneasy about the question you are being asked, you can choose to terminate the interview. Remember you are interviewing the company representative as much as they are interviewing you – fitting into the company culture is more important than the actual job itself. These are just a few of the common interview questions but also think about specific questions you may be asked about your particular job role or industry.