Interviews can be daunting, especially if you’re not used to them. Luckily, while you may get some role-specific questions thrown in there, most interviewers follow the same kind of question format. This makes it relatively simple to read up beforehand and prepare your answers to make them the best they can be.
Here’s a list of some of the most common interview questions, and how best to answer them.
Tell me about yourself.
While not technically a question, this is likely the first thing the interviewer will ask. They will expect you to give some basic background information about who you are and what you’ve been doing over the past few years that has led you here. Try to keep it relevant and not to go on for too long, a few sentences at most.
What are you strengths?
This is when you try to sell yourself as a person and potential employee. Try not to use generic descriptions like organised and enthusiastic. Instead link your strengths to specific examples, so your interviewer knows that you are as creative or team-orientated as you claim.
What are you weaknesses?
This question is about being self-aware and knowing your flaws. The interviewer will know you’re not perfect, so try to be honest about your weaknesses, but at the same time don’t paint yourself as a human wreck. Try and frame your answers in a way that you are aware of your flaws and are working to improve them.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
This is all about showing your passion for something you’ve done in your life. It doesn’t have to be work related, though it couldn’t hurt if it was. Even better is if it is an achievement that involved you overcoming some kind of obstacle and meant you learnt something in the process.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
If you’re feeling confident you could reply ‘hopefully working here’, but how well that goes down will depend on the interviewer. This question is just about what your ambitions are. They’ll understand if it’s not necessarily at their company, but if it’s a career job you’re applying for then it’s best to focus your answer around that industry to make you seem committed.
What do you know about this company?
While they won’t be expecting you do regurgitate an in-depth history of the company, they will want to know that you cared enough about the job to do prior research. This shouldn’t involve any more than looking up their website and having a read through.
Why do you want this job?
Try to make it seem like you’re genuinely passionate about the role you’re applying for, because if they don’t think you care about it then they won’t bother hiring you.
What can you bring to the position?
An employer is only going to hire you if it’s to their benefit to do so, so try and sell yourself to them. Talk about your skills and experience, and what you can bring to the role that others couldn’t.
Do you have any questions about the role?
They are almost certain to ask this last, and it’s important to come prepared with questions. Even if you don’t think you have anything you want to know, ask them something anyway. It makes you seem interested in the job, and that you plan on taking it.