The recruitment experts at face2face have pulled together the top frequently asked questions candidates are often asked at interview. Considering these questions before your interview could well improve your performance, making you an impressive candidate indeed.
Before your interview, also remember these quick tips:
- Control your breathing, allowing oxygen to go to your brain which enables you to think better and control nerves.
- Be prepared so you perform confidently.
- Don’t rush when answering questions—take your time.
- Stay calm and carry on.
For more tips, check out Resume Success Secrets, written by Kate Prior. This book shot to #1 on Amazon in it’s category when it was released.
Tell me about yourself.
This is your opportunity to talk about things that aren’t in your resume, such as your personality, hobbies or something you’re passionate about. It helps paint a picture of who you are. You can also include in your answer what you think your greatest achievement has been in your career to date.
What motivates you?
Money is likely not the best answer to this question, even though it’s important. Tell the interviewer what makes you happy in the workplace. It can be recognition, company culture, ability to help people or opportunity to develop your skills. What motivates you should be based on your personal drivers.
What are you passionate about?
Share what’s important to you and this doesn’t have to be work related. Describe how dedicated you are when it comes to the things you’re passionate about but be careful not to leave the impression that your hobby might affect your work hours or performance.
Which one of your previous positions have you enjoyed the most/the least?
Interviewers ask this question to give them a better understanding of whether you’ll be a good fit for the company. Be honest but avoid being negative about previous experience because it could create a wrong impression.
What is your salary expectation?
It’s important to know the salary range being paid for the position you’re going for before being interviewed. When answering, try to avoid giving a specific figure because it could signal that money is your key motivator. Refer to the job advertisement when stating the salary range and be clear on the experience you’re bringing to the position, especially if you’re looking to start at the higher end of the salary range. Never back a prospective employer into a corner. Leave the door open for negotiation.
What are your weaknesses?
Only mention weaknesses that aren’t crucial to the position. For example, if you’re going for a reception position, being weak with numerical skills likely won’t affect your chance of securing the job. You can also describe small flaws you’re currently working on. Always turn negative into positive.
What are your strongest attributes?
Focus on the attributes that are relevant for the position and give examples. Decide on two strengths before going in to the interview and tie these into what’s included in the job description or advertisement.
What was your biggest career achievement to date?
Think of a major accomplishment in a previous position and provide an example of an achievement related to the position you’re interviewing for. Succinctly describe what the achievement was, what you did to achieve a positive result and what that result was.
What is your long-term goal?
Relate this answer to the job you’re interviewing for. Mention how you want to progress within the organisation, to show your ambition, but don’t leave the impression that you intend to jump ship as soon as something else comes along. Longevity is important to employers. If your employer states that they’re looking for an expert who will stay awhile, and you’re happy with this prospect, then say so, and clearly.
Are you interviewing for other positions?
Interviewers ask this question for different reasons. They might want to test how serious you are about looking for a new opportunity. They might want to know if they’re competing with other organisations. If you have other interviews lined up, tell the interviewer you’re considering options, but don’t name the companies or specify the number of applications you have out there.
Do you have any questions?
This is usually the last question in an interview and it’s your chance to show how interested you are in the job. Research the company beforehand, especially through its website, and always have two questions ready that are connected to what they do. This shows you’ve taken the time to research. It also shows you’re keen and prepared. You can even ask about the next steps in the hiring process.
Why are you interested in this position?
Tell the interviewer you believe the company will be a good cultural fit and why. Connect what they do and the position to your skills and interest.
What do you know about our company?
Always do your research so you know what the company is about. This applies whether you’re applying for a private or public-sector position. Check out the company website, their social media presence and their LinkedIn profile. Find out as much as you can to show respect and genuine interest. Get familiar with the programs and projects the company is working on.
Why should we hire you?
This is your chance to highlight all your skills and experience relevant to the position. Before the interview, look closely at the job description and prepare examples of relevant experience you have. Mention your personality, attitude and ability to work well with team members and management. Tell the interviewer what your strengths are and what you will bring to the table.
Behavioural questions are popular. Many companies use these questions to determine how you actually behaved in a situation instead of how you say you would behave. This is an indicator of whether you can fulfil the duties listed for the position.
Provide an example where you were working under pressure? How did you manage pressure situations?
Be prepared to provide examples of stressful work situations where you relied on your problem-solving skills. Succinctly tell the interviewer what the situation was, how you addressed it and what outcome you achieved.
Have you handled a difficult situation with a
Provide an example of a challenging situation you had with a co-worker and how you handled it. If you’ve never faced such a conflict in a workplace, describe how you would deal with one if you had to.
Do you work well in a team?
Don’t be vague or limit your response by simply saying you work well with people. Employers want to know if you’re a good cultural fit and if your personality will suit the team. This is very important to any organisation. Describe your ability to listen to, communicate with and work as an effective team member. Provide an example of a team project where your ability to work well with colleagues led to a positive outcome.
Do you prefer to communicate verbally or in written form? Why?
Before answering this question, think about what the position requires. If verbal communication is a big part of the job, emphasise your ability to communicate well in person. Equally, if the job involves a lot of writing you should highlight your written communication skills.
What management style would you work the best with?
A great answer is that you work well with managers who are clear on what’s required, willing to provide constructive feedback (including on how you can improve) and prepared to let you know when you’ve performed well.
What is your management style?
This question is especially important if you’re interviewing for a managerial position. The employer will likely need to know if you can successfully manage a team. Remember, that a great manager can quickly adapt their style to suit individuals and situations. They don’t believe in ‘one-size-fits-all’. Describe how you apply different management styles depending on circumstances. Provide examples.
Did you ever have any issues with your previous manager?
Be careful when answering this question. Don’t speak badly about your previous employer or you could come across as a difficult person to work with. Always turn a negative experience into a positive one. If you had issues with your boss, describe what you did to overcome them.
Why are you leaving your current role? Why did you leave your previous position?
Make sure you give a short and clear answer without going into too much details. People leave jobs for various reasons, including redundancy, company closure, lack of professional growth and development, or even the need to move to a new city. You could also be leaving because you’ve just finished a degree and are ready to start the next chapter of your career. Don’t ever say you left a role due to a personality clash. Instead, simply say the role wasn’t a good cultural match for you. Remember to stay positive.