In an interview situation you only have a short time to sell yourself to your prospective employer. So it’s worth preparing ahead for the questions you are likely to face.
Let’s start with the usual general or ‘cliché’ interview questions that you may be asked. While you may or may not agree with the validity, relevance or fairness of some of the questions, you need to have answers available for them if they come up. Make sure you’ve considered answers to these questions so that you’ve already got an idea how you might answer them.
Relax, be yourself, and be confident in your answers. If you’re not sure about a question that’s been asked, don’t bluff your way through it. Simply ask the interviewer to explain the context of the question further, or say that you don’t quite understand the question. If you really don’t know the answer, just say so.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Is there anything that interests you particularly about this job or this organisation?
- How do you feel you can help or add value to our organisation?
- What are you hoping will be different about this position over your current or previous job?
- Are there any questions you would like to ask about the job or organisation?
- Are you considering any other positions or do you have any other interviews arranged?
- What are the things you like best about your current role?
- What are the things you like least about your current role?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- Do you have a notice period with your current job? If so, what is it?
- Have you given notice?
- If a position was offered, when do you think you would be available to start?
- Do you have any holiday or leave planned for the next 12 months?
- What do you feel are your greatest strengths?
- How would you describe your greatest weaknesses?
- What do you enjoy most about this industry?
- Do you have any ideas about how we could improve the way we do things or introduce new techniques into our learning?
- Are there particular areas you would like to improve in terms of your own skills or abilities?
- Is there a particular path you would like to take in your career?
- What is the minimum salary you would accept?
- What salary do you feel would be fair or acceptable to you?
- How would you describe your particular personality traits and how they may positively or negatively influence your approach to your job?
- Do you have an idea of what an ideal manager might be?
- What kind of people make the best and worst workmates?
- How have you improved your professional abilities or learning, during the last year?
- What are some of the most difficult issues you’ve had to deal with in your past positions? How did you resolve them or manage them to a positive outcome?
- What are your career goals?
- How long would you expect to stay with us?
- How long do you expect it to take before you would progress to your next role or promotion?
The Awkward Questions
There may also be times when an interviewer will throw you a curve ball of a question. Usually the point of these questions is to see how you react under pressure. You are in a room with people you want to impress and have been present with an almost impossible question. No matter how odd that question may be, stay calm and take a deep breath.
That deep breath gives you a chance to gain your composure and think logically before starting to speak. If you believe that there are more than one answer then present them with the alternatives. For example, answer one may be a logical answer, answer two may be more of a gut feeling and answer three may be a complete gamble. Finish by stating which you would choose and why.
Remember that sometimes a question doesn’t have a right answer. You may need to state that you don’t believe there is a correct answer, or that you do not have sufficient information to make a genuine response.
The interviewer wants to see your process of attempting to solve the question and to see if you remain calm under such conditions.
In the next article, we’ll take a look at how to close the interview process.
Next Stage: Interview Closure