When it comes to interviews clichés like ‘practice makes perfect’ and ‘failing to prepare means prepared to fail’ are incredibly relevant. Interviews can be daunting but by anticipating what questions you may be asked and planning the perfect answer you will be able to provide more in-depth answers and reduce nerves so that you really do yourself justice.
While every interview is different, some questions are guaranteed to come up. You will be asked about any previous relevant experience you have for the job – you should expect some questions about your abilities. By reading the job description carefully you can be specific and prepare answers which focus on your relevant experience and skills which will match the job in question.
Be aware that some interviewers like to ask ‘unusual questions’ in an interview to see how you cope under pressure.
Remember throughout the interview to demonstrate your positivity, determination, relevance and passion for your work and the position you are applying for.
Below are a few examples of commonly used questions, with some examples of good and bad answers. Adapt with your own ideas, experience and qualities.
Q1. This role requires experience of ‘…..’ Can you describe to me an example of when you demonstrated this?
Give a good example describing the situation and what relevant skills you used; where possible provide figures and measurable results to support your answer.
Good answer: ‘In my previous role I demonstrated …. My skill was measured by… the results were… the feedback from my boss was excellent’.
Bad answer: ‘Yeah, I did a bit of …from time to time.’
Q2. Tell me about a situation where it was important that you worked as part of a team
Consider the situation, the task, your actions, any issues and the result.
Good answer: ‘We were given the task of hitting a collective team target. I put in extra hours in order to provide extra support to other members of my team to ensure we all reached target together. ‘
Bad answer: ‘We were given a team task, and I just did my part to the minimum and it was up to the rest of the team to do the rest.’
Q3. So why did you leave your last employment?
Remember to answer truthfully, however be aware that your answer to this question will be very insightful to the interviewer.
Good answers: ‘I wanted new challenges and additional responsibilities’, ‘I want to broaden my horizons’, ‘Relocation’ and ‘redundancy’ (be prepared to explain why).
Bad answers: ‘I hated my boss; I hated my colleagues, I want more money, I got bored. I hated working extra hours.’
Q4. Tell me about your career aspirations- What motivates you?
Make your answer relative to role you are applying for and for the company..
Good answer: ‘I want to hit my commission and earn money’ If you were applying for a Sales position with commission based pay, money should be an excellent motivator.
Bad answer: ‘I want my own company in a year’ saying you want your own company in a year would indicate that you are not going to be loyal and progress with this company.
Q5.Why do you want this job?
Be positive and determined that this is the right job for you; explain what a good partnership it would be for both you and the company.
Good answer: ‘I want to work for this company, I agree with the company values. I think with my skill set I can add value to the company while fulfilling my potential.’
Bad Answer: ‘I don’t have any better job offers at the moment; it’s just a job to pay the bills.’
Your turn to ask the Questions…
Usually you will be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. This is a very important time and gives you an opportunity to prove that you have done relevant research and also that you’ve been listening to the interviewer. Question asking also gives you time to recollect your thoughts and think of any additional comments you wish to make.
Do you have any questions for me?
Relate your questions to the job or company. Avoid asking anything you could (and should) have found doing a basic Google search of the company. Consider the companies culture, uniqueness, background, strengths and weaknesses.
Good Questions: ‘I’ve noticed you have a lot of international interaction – which cultures have you found the most interesting to work with?’ ‘Why do you like working for this company?’
Bad questions: ‘So what exactly do you sell here?’ ‘I don’t work Christmas Eve – is that a problem?’
At the end of the interview you can ask the interviewer for feedback. By asking the interviewer how they thought the interview went you can gauge the likelihood of your success but also receive important criticism or praise so you can improve for future interviews.
Remember to say Thank You!