Interview Questions

Now that you've been offered an interview it is think about what you could be asked, they key to success is preparation, preparation, preparation. Our experts have pulled together some of the most common interview questions to help you get a head start:

1. Tell me about yourself?

Employers often use this question to relax you into the interview, they are not trying to trip you up they are just trying to learn more about you. This is a subject you know about, so you should feel confident in talking about yourself. It is important to think about this before the interview so that you can provide a well-rounded summary. Interviewers do not want to hear you go on and on about yourself. Touch on the key points and link them to the job that you are applying for. Topics you could cover include:

  • School / University
  • Previous work
  • Interests and hobbies

2. Why do you want this job?

This is a very important question as it can set the scene for the whole interview. You need to show that you have researched the employer and link your knowledge of the company and the role to your skills and interests.

3. What relevant experience do you have for this role?

Match your skills to those of the role that you are interviewing for. Where possible use examples to demonstrate the skills you have and how you have used them in a work or education environment. This is your opportunity to show how well you match the job profile. 

4. What do you know about our company?

It is always good to do a bit of research, have a look at the company's website. At the very least you should have a clear understanding of the work that the company do.  When talking about why you'd like to work for them talk about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

5. What are your strengths?

Know your strengths and state the ones that are relevant to the job that you are being interviewed for. Where possible quote examples of when you have used these skills. Good skills to mention could include: positive attitude, communication, team working, IT skills.

6. What are your weaknesses?

Don't list too many, only mention one, and don't deny that you have weaknesses, everyone has weaknesses, to say that you don't makes that you look dishonest and arrogant. Try to pick something that you have worked on and highlight how you are trying to improve yourself. The other strategy is to pick a weakness that is also a positive. Whichever approach you take use an example to illustrate your answer.

7. Describe a situation where you worked as part of a team?

The employer wants to know that you will get on well with the other members of staff. The example you use could be from a previous job, or a hobby such as a sports team or a volunteer role. Use your answer to demonstrate that you are active team player, neither domineering nor timid.

8. Why did you leave your last job?

The key with this question is to be positive and focus on your own career development. Don't bring up negative things like disagreements with colleagues or your boss.  A good answer could include the fact that you are looking for a new challenge and that you'd like to develop new skills.

9. What are your hobbies?

When it comes to your interests, the employer wants to know you're a well-rounded individual.  When choosing examples of interests to mention. Avoid solitary activities like watching TV, try to choose a wide range to show you're well balanced. 

10. Have you got any questions?

At the end of the interview, it is likely that you will be given the opportunity to ask any question that you might have. Prepare some questions in advance so that you don't feel put on the spot. Any questions should focus on the work itself, training and career development, not on perks, holidays and time off. Keep your questions brief, there may be other interviewees waiting.

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