Have an interview coming up? Here's eight common questions to master to help you prepare your inner #girlboss
27 September 2016| Last updated on 22 May 2017
We all understand that job interviews can be nerve-racking, especially if you're going for a position you really, really want. To help you calm your nerves then, it's always better to prepare for any interview you're going to.
So to help you get organised and prepare yourself mentally, we've got some example answers to fifteen common interview questions that you're sure to be asked while sat in the hot seat.
Tell me about yourself...
It's such a simple question, and yet a lot of us don't really prepare for it. It's a classic opening question, and one that you should take into consideration when preparing for your interview. Treat it like an 'elevator pitch'. You'll want to give a brief rundown of who you are as a person, and show how articulate you are. Be succint and to the point, and keep it work specific... Don't start rambling on about your personal history. Remember to talk about highlights from job positions you've previously held or schooling, and how you can contribute to the company with your background and experiences.
Do your company research and find out exactly what strengths and qualities they're seeking. If it requires technical skills, play those up. You want to show the hiring manager that you hold the qualities needed for the job that you're interviewing for.
What are/is your greatest strength(s)?
With your company research completed, you should know what particular strength(s) the company you're wanting to join puts a lot of value into. Think about what other people have said about you when you're trying to come up with a list of your strengths, and remember, always back up your points with an example.
Treat this question as an opportunity in the interview, it gives you the chance to guide the interview where you want it to go. This is your chance to relate your most impressive success story, so take advantage.
For example, if the company you're applying for is a start-up, you'll want to demonstrate things like multitasking, taking initiative and team-building. On the other hand, if you're applying for a role in human resources, interpersonal skills are the way to go.
What are your weaknesses?
This one is somewhat harder to answer, and for those proud individuals out there, it's a question that's hard to swallow. Our advice? Don't give clichéd answers like you work too hard, or you're too much of a perfectionist. Try your best to stick to the truth. The reason employers ask this question is to not put you on the spot, but instead to allow you room to demonstrate that you are aware of any weakness(es) you may have and that you can overcome them in a professional manner.
Remember, it's about being self-aware and showing that you have the ability to take steps to improve yourself.
The worst thing you can do is dodge this question, so just be honest. With yourself and the interviewer.
What salary are you looking for?
There's no need for you to answer this question at the interview, and you can try to deflect this question until you've received an offer. Just let the interviewer(s) know that you wish to hold off the money talk until you both know you're the right person for this job.
Why should we hire you?
The key thing to remember with this question is: be specific. Demonstrate your company research and understanding of the job description. This question will give you a great leverage to stand out from the crowd and an opportunity to prove to the hiring manager exactly how you can help their company.
With research, you'll be able to indicate any problem or pain points that you as a new hire could help to solve. Show them how you are uniquely suited to filling this position, and demonstrate a success story that highlights how you possess the qualities they need. Also, don't be afraid to be truthful in how the company ties into your own career path, growth and future.
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Where do you see yourself in a few years?
Think about how you can move progress forward from the position you're applying for. Understand the natural career track and tailor your answer to suit the company. Be honest, but not to the point where you may make yourself look an unattractive candidate, like wanting to work for a competitor or something personal, like becoming a mum. Stick to professional examples.
You do want to show that you are an ambitious person, but you need to also demonstrate that your head's not in the clouds and you are focused on the job at hand. Stress your interest in a long-term career at the company. Demonstrate your commitment to the role that you're interviewing for, and outline a realistic growth strategy that is directly tied to the role you're in and the needs and values of the company.
Why did you leave or why do you want to leave your current role?
It's perfectly understandable that in our economies, sometimes company just have to let people go. Normally, it's entirely due to circumstances beyond our control. There's no need to share the dirty details, but be truthful and mention that your existing/previous company let go of X amount of people.
If you're leaving because of a negative reason, be mindful not to badmouth your old employer or boss. This will only reflect badly on you. Focus on the fact you're seeking growth, and that you feel this role would be a step in the right direction.
Do you have any questions for me/us?
Asking good questions can reveal a lot about you and your personality, while also being the most important part of the interview. Take extra time to think and craft personal, well thought-out questions that require more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer.
Avoid questions that are quite assumptive... You haven't got the job yet, and avoid pay, benefits and getting promoted. Focus more one what you can do for the company, and vice versa.