Typical Interview Questions
Below are some of the most common questions asked at interviews – and what the interviewer is really asking!
Q: Tell me about yourself? (Interviewer thinks: I want to hear you talk)
A: This is a conversation starter and is nearly always asked. Talk about your qualifications, career history and range of skills. Particularly emphasise those skills that are most relevant to the position on offer.
Q: Describe your achievements to date: (Interviewer thinks: Are you successful?)
A: Another common questions, so prepare beforehand. Select an achievement that is career related. Identify the skills you used in this situation and quantify the benefit.
Q: Has your career met your expectations? (Interviewer thinks: Are you confident, happy, positive, ambitious?)
A: Answer must be a resounding “YES”, however, if you feel you are moving too slowly, then give reasons for this. Qualify your answer.
Q: Tell me the most challenging situation you have faced recently and how you dealt with it? (Interviewer thinks: Are you logical? Do you show initiative? What is your definition of difficult?)
A: This is a leading question. To counter it select a difficult work situation that was not caused by you, the options available, how you selected the appropriate one and why and how you resolved it and what the outcome was. Ensure that it is positive.
Q: What are your strengths? (Interviewer thinks: I hope you’re honest, what have you got that’s different? How can I use you in the team? What value will you add to the company?)
A: You are going to get asked this question, so there is no excuse for not being prepared. Discuss your main strengths. List three or four ways they could benefit your employer. Strengths to consider include technical proficiency, ability to learn quickly, determination, positive attitude and your ability to relate to people and work as a team. Provide examples and be prepared to back them up.
Q: What are your major weaknesses? (Interviewer thinks: I hope you’re honest, what aren’t you interested in? What will you need help with? What’s your self-awareness like.)
A: Don’t say “none” – we all have. There are two options available when asked such a question – use a professional weakness such as lack of experience on your part in an area that is not essential to the job on offer. The second option is to describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered a strength and the steps that you have taken to combat this.
Q: Why are you leaving your current employer?
A: Should be a straightforward answer – looking for more challenge, responsibility and experience. DO NOT be negative in your reasons for leaving, positive reasons are better.
Q: How do you deal with confrontation? (Interviewer thinks: Are you strong? Can you admit you’re wrong?)
A: Again – this is a leading question. Demonstrate that you’re willing to listen, implement changes where necessary, but you have the courage of your convictions and will be firm when necessary
Q: Why do you want to work for this company? (Interviewer thinks: Are you prepared, knowledgeable? What’s the image of the company externally?)
A: Show you have researched into the firm’s position in the market, what the company’s strategy is, how long the particular department you are interviewing for has been around and what their corporate image is looking to project.
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