Let’s face it, job interviews are scary. The interview is the one thing standing between you and the job that you want, so it pays to be prepared. From the interviewer’s perspective, what they want to know is:
- Can you do the job? (Tip – they already know that you can, that’s why they’ve selected you for interview!)
- Can I work with you?
- Will you fit in well with the rest of the team?
To this end, most of the questions will be aimed at finding out about you, and whether you fit their image of an employee in their organisation. These 7 questions are their ammunition. They are tried and tested, so they tend to always come up. If you can answer these questions well, then you’ve increased your chances of landing that job.
1. Tell me about yourself
This should be the easiest question of the interview, as you get to talk about you, but it is also the one that throws people completely. They ramble on about things that are totally irrelevant to the job.
Think about why this question comes up? First and foremost, the people in front of you probably haven’t met you before. All they know about you is what’s in your resume and any research that they may or may not have done about you.
When you practice your answer, make sure that you cover:
- your professional background
- your main career achievements
- what about the job made you want it
2. Tell me about your current/last job
In the last question, you (hopefully) gave them an overview of your career. In this question, they want to specifically know more about what your current job entails. Yes, they have seen what you’ve said on your resume, but you may have lied or exaggerated what you did.
Don’t list your key responsibilities, tell them what you do, and any instances of where you performed above and beyond what was required of the post.
3. Why do you want this job/to work for this company?
Now that you have established what you have done in the past, you need to establish why you’re planning to leave your current job, and what it is about the new job that appeals to you. What was it about the job that interested you? Was it the option of working for a company that has an excellent track record? Was it certain parts of the job that you really enjoy doing? Whatever the reason was, there are some things that you shouldn’t mention:
- that you’re leaving because you hate your current job or boss, even if it’s true
- that you’re looking for more money. It implies that you’re only motivated by money and not for the love of the job. Whilst this is true of most of us, employers don’t like hearing it!
4. What are your strengths?
This is an important question because it helps the interviewer identify if your strengths line up with what the job needs and the organisation needs. If you’re not sure what your strengths are then take the VIA Character strengths test. Also, look at the job description and think about which strengths you have will help you do the job to the best of your ability.
5. What are you weaknesses?
What this question asks is that you recognise that you have weaknesses and know how to manage them. An old trick, but one that still works, is to use a strength in this instance. Any strength can be a weakness under the right circumstances for example someone who has attention to detail can become a micromanager.
6. Where do you see yourself in 1/2/5/10 years?
This question has one aim: to see if you have any career goals, and to see if you can articulate them. Simply having a career goal shows that you are motivated and proactive. Why else would you set yourself goals, if not to meet them? However, it’s one thing to have a goal, it’s another for them to be realistic and achievable, and this is what your potential employer will be able to draw out.
7. Have you any questions for us?
Many people are so desperate for any job, that they forget that the interview is actually a two way street: you’re interviewing the company too! You may find that the culture of the organisation comes across as too aggressive or that they don’t offer enough professional development opportunities, but when you are asked this questions, then it’s your turn to do the interviewing to find if they are the right fit for you.
There are any number of questions that you could be asked in interview, and these are just 7 of the most common questions that you should be able to answer. If you pop along to Amazon, and take a look at the free best selling Kindle books. In the career section, under the Business and Finance section, you can usually find one or two books covering interview questions.
Don’t forget to download my free 5 Steps to Interview Success workbook. It’s jam packed with everything you need to get ready for that all-important job interview.
Take care for now