Being invited to a job interview is exciting but it can also be quite intimidating, especially if you don’t know what sort of questions you’re going to be asked. To set yourself apart from other interviewees, you need to be able to showcase your skills and experience effectively whilst being prepared to answer potentially challenging questions.
Here are some of the most common interview questions to help you prepare for (and hopefully nail!) your next job interview.
"Tell me about yourself."
This is a really simple question but that often throws candidates off. If you find yourself being asked this question and you don’t know how to answer, just provide a concise but impactful overview of your professional journey so far. Briefly highlight any relevant experiences, skills and achievements so the interviewee can gain a better understanding of your character and work history.
"What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
When you’re asked about your strengths and weaknesses, steer clear of focusing too much on either point. Instead, try to balance your answer equally between the two. When discussing your strengths, emphasise those that are relevant to the role you’re interviewing for using examples from previous jobs. With weaknesses, be honest but show what you’re doing to work on them. This will show the interviewer that you’re demonstrating growth and continuous improvement.
"Why do you want to work for our company?"
This is a good time to showcase your knowledge about the company and its values. Tailor your response to show how your personal values align with the company’s. For example, if you do a lot of charity work in your spare time and the company encourages their employees to participate in charity work then you can talk about this when you’re asked this question. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and will also show that you’ve done your homework ahead of the interview.
"Can you describe a time you faced a challenge at work and how you handled it?"
You don’t need to go into too much detail with this question. Have a challenge in mind ahead of the interview to ensure that you keep your answer concise. Start by briefly describing the situation and your involvement, explain the actions you took to address the challenge and highlight any positive outcomes of your actions.
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
When talking about your ambitions and long-term goals, make sure that these align with the company’s goals. For example, if you’re interviewing at a company that regularly promotes employees, it might not be a good idea to say that you want to start your own company in the next few years as this will hint to you not planning on staying in the role for as long as they’d imagined. That being said, don’t shy away from talking about your long-term goals. In order to effectively answer this question, talk about your goals in a way that aligns them with the company’s goals. Don’t forget to mention your desire for growth within your role and the company.
"How do you handle stressful situations?"
Answer this question in a similar way to the question about overcoming challenges at work. Provide examples of how you’ve effectively managed stress in the past, preferably in a work setting. Mention ways you have managed stress using coping strategies such as time managed, task prioritisation and seeking help from your team. This will show the interviewer that you can work well under pressure.
"Tell me about a time you worked successfully in a team."
Ahead of the interview, have an example in mind so you don’t have to think of one on the spot. Choose an example that highlights how you collaborate, communicate and adapt to situations effectively. Explain how your contribution to the task made a positive difference so the interview can see you work well with others.
"How do you handle constructive criticism?"
Go about this question by demonstrating your openness to feedback and dedicated to continuous growth. You can support this by giving an example of how you used feedback to improve your performance at work.
"Do you have any questions for us?"
Always make sure you have questions prepared for the end of your interview, even if you just end up asking one. This shows your interest in the company and the role. Have a few questions in your head before the interview just in case you can’t think of anything in the moment. Ask about what the company’s culture is like, opportunities for growth, recent company developments you might have seen on their social media or what the company does in regards to team building.
Job interviews are an important stepping stone in the hiring process so it’s important that you set aside time to prepare for them. Just by being aware of potential interview questions, you’re giving yourself an advantage over interviewees who may be going into the process without preparing at all. Good luck with your next interview!
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