No two interviews will be the same and you can’t predict exactly what you’ll be asked in an interview, however any question that is asked gives a potential opportunity for you to stumble. That’s why preparing as best you can will help minimise these stumbling blocks. Prepare some answers to these questions and you’ll be onto a good start when the interview comes around.
What can you tell me about yourself?
It’s a common opening question and the interviewer wants to put you on the spot to see how you react to such an open question. This is a great opportunity to talk about yourself in a manner that’s relevant to the role you’re interviewing for, please don’t give your life story. Keep the answer to a couple of minutes, cover your education, work experience, and your interest in the industry and job role.
Why did you apply for this position?
Here you should focus on the position and the company, and why this excites you. Demonstrate that you have researched their company by telling them why you would want to work for them, Similarly with the job role, explain why this role took your interest and why you chose to apply for this role and not others out there.
What are your weaknesses?
Firstly, you need to realise that you have weaknesses, everybody does. If you claim to be perfect, the interviewer will probably see you as someone who won’t fit into their team or company. Weaknesses are not a bad thing, as long as you know how they can be improved. The best way to answer this question is to Is to take on of your weaknesses and flip it on it’s head by giving practical ways of how you’re trying to address it.
For example, “When I first started working, I used to find managing multiple tasks a really struggle, I would always find it easier to complete one task at a time before moving onto the next one. However, I began working alongside my Team Leader to improve my prioritisation and time management skills, and now I find it much easier to multi-task.”
Why are you leaving your current position?
Be honest, but don’t criticise your employer. Stay positive without lying. Quite often the reason for people leaving is because there was no room for progression or candidates are looking for a new challenge, however you should prepare to back these claims up if the interviewer digs deeper.
Why should you get this job?
This is where you will really need to try and sell yourself into the company. This is easier for some than others, but you need to make sure you’re clear as to why you are the right candidate for them, because you can guarantee that they will be seeing other candidates than just you. The company are hiring somebody for a reason, so be the one to explain why you fill the hole that they currently have.
Example “I know that you’re looking for someone with X and Y skills. I have demonstrated these skills at my current employer during our recent project, something that has really helped them.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
A classic interview question and a favourite among interviewers. They can gather whether you have thought about the future and ambition with this company, or whether you just see this as a stop gap between roles. Your answer should be specific to the level of the role you have applied for and make sure your aims are realistic and attainable within the company. If it’s a small company, there may be less opportunities for progression to higher level roles as there are less openings to progress into, whereas a national or global company may have more opportunities.
Why is there a gap in your CV?
Again, you should be honest with this question. You should have explained this in your CV or cover letter, so try to take positives from it, such as any skills you used. If it was for personal reasons, then say that. Another suitable answer would be that you were ‘taking a break whilst looking for a new career path’.
Do you have any questions?
This should be a yes. Think of questions about the company or the role that you would like to find out more about. Perhaps you could ask about training opportunities, career progression, or why the role has become available. Asking questions will give you a better gauge as to whether this is the right move for you and will keep the interviewer happy that you are showing interest.