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Interview Questions

Always Be Ready for Interviews

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity
Luck is when preparation
meets opportunity

Although it can safely be said that no two interviews are the same, there are areas that a recruiter will always focus on to draw the best comparison between competing candidates. As for “typical” questions, you can safely assume that some, if not all, of the following will feature at some point during the interview. Before you arrive, make sure to prepare answers to these frequently asked questions.

Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work here?

Stress the aspects of the role which have encouraged you to apply, focusing on issues that are relevant to the position.

What qualities do you think will be required for this job?

Although the job advert will provide a good basis for your answer, use your knowledge of the role and the industry to understand what will help you succeed in the position. You might want to refer to specific personality traits that will add value to the technical aspects of the role. Leadership, communication and interpersonal skills will always be seen as positive.

What do you know about us/the recruiting company?

This is your chance to show the employer you are serious about your application. Your interview preparation will give you a great foundation on which to talk about their products/services, sales figures, news, and big wins. Talking about any challenges the company faces will also provide further brownie points and increase the likelihood of you standing out from other candidates.

Why should we employ you?

Your aim when answering this question is to show how well you fit the requirements of the job. Refer to your previous experiences and achievements; show how they are relevant to the company and/or role in question and highlight where you can add value.

Why did you join your previous company and why are you looking to leave now?

Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Avoid saying anything negative about your present or most recent employer. If you are willing to criticise them, this does not reflect well on you and the recruiting company might wonder what you will say about them when you leave.

To say you are looking for a new challenge is always a good way to approach this question. Explain the challenges you faced in your previous role, how you successfully managed them and how these qualities will add value in your new role.

What will you bring to the role/company?

The key to getting the most from this question is to try and anticipate what your future objectives would be if you were to get the job. Your answers should then focus on how you would satisfy these objectives.

Try to also focus on the particular requirements of the role. Look at similar roles inside and outside the company and use this information to show how you will be able to hit the ground running and add immediate value.

Where do you want to be in 2/5/10 years time?

For most people and most roles this question refers to the type of situation they’d like to be in over the specified period. Employers are looking to see if you will make a positive contribution. Therefore, this question provides the opportunity to reinforce your experience and expertise and further make your case.

What were your key achievements in your last role? What are you most proud of?

Rather than rambling about everything you have ever been proud of during your career, make sure to focus on one or two achievements that are specifically linked to the role you are applying for. You want to either position yourself as the driver of these initiatives or as the person who was able to affect change.

Make sure the examples you use deliver tangible results and make sure you have the figures to support them. The examples should show significant organisational benefits, whether it be making/saving money, increasing efficiency, improving quality etc.

What are your strengths?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in any interview and you should expect to be asked this and the question that follows. The aim of this question is to convey your level of self-awareness as well as showing you can identify the particular strengths associated with the role.

Avoid merely telling them how great you are and prepare two or three strengths that are particularly relevant to the requirements of the role and/or company. You should also look to analyse why you are strong in these areas and how this will help you make a difference.

What are your weaknesses?

A strong answer starts by saying that you are not actually weak in any given area but lists areas for improvement that could be interpreted as strengths, for example, not giving up on something when you strongly believe in it.

This question will inevitably prompt follow-up questions, enabling you to show how you are working on managing your weaknesses.

Tell me about a big challenge or difficulty you've faced and how you dealt with it?

This question provides an opportunity to show you can achieve results in the face of adversity and you maintain professionalism regardless of the challenges that may occur. It also allows the interviewer to explore your definition of difficult and if you have a logical approach to problem solving.

Make sure you are not overly critical about your former/current colleagues/company, and again focus on where you most contributed to the resolution.

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