Preparation is key and this is certainly the case when looking for work. So when you have been offered the chance to prove yourself at a job interview you should be ready to answer the following questions:
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF?
Keep it short and sweet. No one really wants to know your life history but make sure you have an answer. Tell them about qualities that will benefit the company such as you are a bubbly person who enjoys socialising. State that you are a determined individual who has always wanted to improve and develop your skills from a young age. You can then give some background on how you have done this.
WHY DO YOU WANT THIS JOB?
Relate this answer to the role you are applying for. If you are working in customer service, say you love meeting and assisting people. You could also answer by saying about what they have achieved in the past (research) and how you want to be a part of future developments.
WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?
This is intimating but it is also a great opportunity for you to show off a bit (but not too much!). Explain how you are enthusiastic and willing to develop your skills within the business. Make them feel they cannot work without you.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
This does not mean what you are good at in everyday life (even if you do make a mean curry, you can tell them that when you have the job). Your strengths should include what they need from you as an employee. This should include good organisational skills, that you’re a team player but you can also work independently.
WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
This should never be a real weakness. Convert a positive statement into something that sounds like a weakness. Okay, this probably doesn’t make much sense… My answer is usually that “I am always eager to get the job done before the deadline.” Why is this a weakness? If I had to answer that in an interview I would say, “It’s a weakness of mine as it can lead to human error but I am also a perfectionist so I know what to look out for.” It’s always good to relate it to previous employment: “For example, in my previous job, I knew this was a weakness so to ensure I did everything correctly, I would take my time and work with other colleagues to double check for any errors.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS?
Make sure you remember what is on your CV at this point and refer the interviewer back to it.
HAVE YOU FACED A CHALLENGE IN THE WORKPLACE? IF SO, HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?
Always say yes. Even if it’s small make sure you prepare an answer that will show how you were able to deal with the issue calmly.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS TIME?
Don’t imply that you want to be in a different workplace to where you are being interviewed. Explain, “I hope to be working with a established and successful company, such as yours. I hope to be in a management position alongside yourselves helping run the business to a new level of success.”
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR YOU LEAVING YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYMENT?
Don’t slag off your current company. It is always best to say that you are looking for new challenges that can help you develop your skills in the role you are applying for.
ARE YOU A LEADER OR A FOLLOWER?
This can be a tricky question. My answer (which tends to impress) is that you are a team player who will work with other members of the team, giving instruction but also receiving instruction.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH PRESSURE?
A good answer can be, “When under pressure, I take some time out. It’s good to clear your head before taking on a challenge so I would make a cup of tea, come back to my desk and evaluate the problem step by step. This way I can work out deadlines and what needs to be done in an effective way.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Stick to basic answers but give examples such as, “I like to watch films, mainly classic Hollywood. I also enjoy 1960s music as well as reading biographies on popular figures such as John Lennon.” This will show that you are 3 dimensional and it may also allow you to have some common ground with those interviewing you. Also talk about hobbies that show you can work well in a team or show that you are creative.
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US?
I have added these to my hints and tips for being interviewed.
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