InterviewCredit: mconnors (Morguefile) 2016









Image Credit: mconnors (Morguefile) 2016

Going for a job interview can be stressful at the best of times. However, congratulations on getting this far because it shows that you have adequately presented your skills and achievements to your prospective employer in your résumé. Now your attention should turn towards your interview and preparation for this is of paramount importance to help you stand out from the crowd.

Regardless of the industry that you work in or the role that you are applying for, there are some common interview questions that you may get asked across the board. It is therefore helpful to have a rough answer for these questions ahead of time in case they come up in your next job interview. This selection of questions is by no means the definitive list because one cannot predict that in an interview situation. However, it will hopefully offer you some cues, tips and inspiration before your interview.

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Image Credit: Kevin_P (Morguefile) 2016

1. Why do you want to work here?

This direct question is a way for the employer to seek out how much you know about the company and if you are passionate enough to want the position. They are trying to gauge your level of interest in the job and your enthusiasm for the role.

To answer this question, try to be concise and not to relay facts or the company’s history in full. Show enthusiasm with a smile and pick a few key things that you like about the organisation. You could even try to relate these to your own experiences. For example, ‘I really like your emphasis on team building exercises and in my previous role I found that this approach really strengthened work place communications’.

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Image Credit: octaviolopez (Morguefile) 2016

2. What are your strengths?

There is a fine line in answering this question so that you sound confident and impressive without coming across as arrogant or grandiose in your attitude. Ultimately, in most cases an employer will be seeking a humble and flexible team player. However, this question affords you a great opportunity to discuss something you are proud of in your career so far, or an occasion where you really shone. If possible, try to relate the strength[3] you mention to one of the key job specifications.

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3. What are your weaknesses?

This question can expose your confidence levels, but you obviously do not want to put yourself down. Try to address one of your weaknesses head on, but then follow this up with a brief explanation of how you have worked to improve it. For example, if you were bad at time keeping, explain the ways in which you have made a conscientious effort to improve on this in recent months. The best responses to this question should be humble and show self awareness. Ultimately, the employer is trying to assess if you have an open attitude towards self improvement when you may come up against criticism.

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Image Credit: FlashBuddy (Morguefile) 2016

4. Where do you see yourself in five years time?

In answering this question effectively, you want to express that you are ambitious and focused in your career goals and not simply drifting from one job to the next. Try to show a keen enthusiasm for the role that you are interviewing for. Think about the job specification all the time and reflect on how you could build on these key areas in both the short and long term. Essentially the employer wants to assess if you will stick it out with their company and if it will be a worthwhile investment of their time to hire you.

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Image Credit: mconnors (Morguefile) 2016

5. What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

This open-ended question affords you the opportunity to mention something fantastic that you have achieved in your career or personal life to date, so do not hold back! Your prospective employer can gauge a little more about your personality from your answer here as well as your personal life values.

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However, although your answers could range from being proud of your children to learning and speaking a language fluently, you could still try to relate your accomplishment to the job. You may wish to mention an award you received at work or simply an occasion when you felt really proud of something you achieved in your previous role.

 Interview PensCredit: lensfusion (Morguefile) 2016








Image Credit: lensfusion (Morguefile) 2016

6. Can you describe how you dealt with a difficult situation in your previous role?

Your answer to this question should show a problem and a solution to that problem. It is therefore a good idea to give this question some thought prior to your interview in case it comes up. Try to relate the skills you showed in the ‘difficult situation’ in question to the job specification if you can. Skills such as problem solving, having strong communication skills or an ability to think on one’s feet are all competencies which you could then work into your example to answer the question successfully. Remember to still try to be concise in your answer and to maintain a humble approach.

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Image Credit: mconnors (Morguefile) 2016

7. What do you think makes a good team player?

It will largely depend on your specific role as to whether or not this question comes up in your interview. However, most people will be employed as part of a larger organisation with a structured team hierarchy in place. Reflect on how strong communication skills and problem solving can help strengthen a team work ethos. Perhaps also mention examples of when you have successfully achieved something as part of a team.

If this is your first job interview since leaving school then think about class projects you have worked on, or perhaps sporting teams that you have been a part of.

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8. What are your hobbies or interests?

This question is a way for your prospective employer to glimpse into your personality outside of work. Whether you enjoy the simple things in life such as reading, walking or cooking or the more adventurous hobbies such as mountain climbing or even playing a musical instrument, it is always worth mentioning!

Your answer to this question will help to demonstrate to what extent you are a 'well-rounded individual'. So even if you can only think of one or two hobbies that you have, it will certainly help to paint a better picture of you to the interview panel.

Below, Denise Richardson from Howdini asks career consultant Maggie Mistal of Martha Stewart Living Radio for tips on answering job interview questions.

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9. What salary range do you hope for?

Research is the key to answering this question most successfully. Explore other companies who are hiring for the same position online and see what they are offering prospective candidates. This way you can make comparisons and offer the most sensible and realistic answer.

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Image Credit: Alvimann (Morguefile) 2016

10. Do you have any questions?

When this question comes up towards the end of a job interview, most candidates are simply so relieved that the interview is over that their brains shut down and they simply want to leave the room! However, try to have at least one question to ask to show enthusiasm and a sense of eagerness for the position.

For example, you may ask what the prospects are for promotion in the role or how often a personal review or work place appraisal is carried out. Combine a more specific question such as the above examples with a quick one such as when you would be required to start work so that you can appear enthusiastic and keen to get started!

If you are in the early stages of applying for a new job then building on your résumé is a great way to get started. Good Luck with your job interview, and remember that each interview is a learning curve from which you can take something away to build yourself into a stronger and more confident individual.