Once you get to the interview stage with a company, you want to make sure you give yourself the best chance for success! If you’ve done a few interviews before you might have notice that although the company, position and level at which the position is at may change, there are a number of common interview questions that tend to arise or can come up.
Take a look at some of the most common interview questions below and some suggestions on how to prepare for them:
- Tell me about yourself
Most interviews will start off with some variation on this question, as it is an easy way of leading into the interview and getting the interviewee talking. Although this question seems straight forward, unless you’ve prepared for it you may struggle with knowing what to actually mention to the employer. Take this opportunity to emphasize what you feel is important for the interviewer to know. There is no need to recite off your entire CV when they have it in front of them, but mentioning specific knowledge or work you have carried out that you know is related to the position you are interviewing for is beneficial. Try to keep your answer concise and summarize it to exhibit information to help the interview see why you would be a good fit for the job, and remember to be enthusiastic too!
- Why are you looking for a new role?
Another way of asking this is “why did you leave your last role/company X” or why are you looking to leave your current job?” Sometimes this is an obvious answer like it was a contract position, summer internship, company shut down, however your answer may not be that straight forward. Employers ask these questions to find out important information about a candidate, such as if you left a company on good terms, did you have a good reason or to find out what is important for you in deciding where you work.
When answering this question regardless of your reasons try to focus on the positives of the new opportunity available rather than the negatives of previous ones. If the role offers you something that you haven’t had an opportunity for previously mention it and let them know that’s why you’re enthusiastic about it, just make sure that you don’t lay on the praises too thick as you want to make sure you come across as sincere and not over-eager!
- What are your biggest strengths?
This is a great opportunity to toot your own horn, however you need to also try not to come off as if you’re bragging. This question lets the employer see whether you will be the best person for the job, if you’ll be a good fit for the team and whether your strengths will align well with the company and the role. When answering this don’t self-sabotage yourself by acting too humble or by not understanding your own strengths, think about three strengths you have in advance of your interview and prepare a SPECIFIC example of when you have demonstrated each of them during your career to date. It can be hard talking about your own strengths but try practice doing this with someone before your interview; it will make it come out much more naturally on the day.
- What are your weaknesses?
The most dreaded question! There are a few ways that people tend to go about this question, some people refuse to answer it and state they can’t think of a weakness (which let’s be honest, isn’t very realistic) while others try to make a strength sound like a weakness (eg. I’m probably too much of a perfectionist). Overall these answers wouldn’t be what we would recommend. A great way and one of the best way to answering this question is as follows: Describe a weakness that wouldn’t be a significant issue for the role and then explain what you are doing to improve on this weakness. This explanation is very important as it shows the interviewer that you are self-aware and the type of person that is trying to improve themselves. Keep this trick in mind next time you go to answer this and you won’t be dreading the question half as much!
- Why should we hire you?
This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the employer. Remember anyone called for interview will possess the necessary skills or qualifications for the position, however this is the question that will let you stand out from the other candidates the most. Before any interview, prepare a short and concise list of bullet point answers to this, focusing on your most recent or relevant experience or your impressive strengths and again have an example prepared for each that you can mention. Don’t make this list too long, a shorter and more to-the-point answer will be more memorable than an oral-essay type answer.
- Do you have any questions?
This is generally the closing question during an interview. Make sure that you go into your interview with a question you have prepared that you can ask, having more than one question to call upon is also a good idea in case the employer answered your question during the interview already. Avoid questions that can be answered by a simple Yes or No answer, good questions you can ask will be focused and open ended and will allow the employer to give you a better insight into a particular area. Some topics that are always good to ask about are the company culture, the expectations the employer has for the successful candidate going into the role or the day-to-day responsibilities of the role.