Every job interview is different, but some questions are almost always asked. Here’s a list of the most frequent questions and a guide to answers.
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is normally the first question and, as first impressions are key, one of the most important. Answer in less than five minutes, start with your highest qualification then explain the jobs you’ve had. You can follow the same structure of your CV, give examples of success and the skills you’ve acquired. Don’t give too much detail. If you’re interviewing for your first job, focus on the areas of studies you liked most and why you want this particular job.
2. What are your strengths?
Choose the three most important things that you think are needed for the job and give specific examples of how you showed these strengths in a work situation. They could be technical skills or people skills, like good management. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the job description. There is usually a section with the list of necessary competences, which should help you understand what they are looking for.
3. What are your weaknesses?
The difficult question. Choose a weakness that you have started to compensate for. For example, if you’re not comfortable with computers, say it is a weakness but tell the interviewer about training or time spent outside work hours that you have used to improve your skills. Your initiative could be seen as a strength. Never say “I don’t have any weaknesses”, your interviewer won’t believe you, nor “I work too hard”, which is seen as avoiding the question.
4. Why should we hire you?
What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? – What makes you special and where are your major strengths? You can prepare for this by reading the job description. “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills and the ability to build long-term customer relationships” is a good opening sentence, then talk about more specific examples of something you did in your career. Explain your biggest success and how it helped the business you worked in. “If you gave me the opportunity, I could bring this success to your company.”
5. What are your objectives? or Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Separate short-term and long-term objectives. Talk about the kind of job you would like to do later, how you will get there and how the job you are interviewing for will help you. Show the employer you have ambition, and that you have the determination to use every job you have to get where you want to be.
6. Why do you want to work here?
The interviewer is listening for an answer that shows you have been thinking about this. If you’ve prepared for the interview properly, you should know the company’s values, mission statement, development plans and products. Use this information to describe how your objectives and ambition correspond to their company projects and how happy you would be to work for them. Never say “I just need a job.”
7. What salary would you like?
You can prepare for this by knowing the how much people with similar CV and experience are paid. Try not to give any specific numbers at the interview – it could create problems when negotiating later. Your interviewer will understand if you don’t want to discuss this until after you are offered the job. If they have provided a guideline salary with the job description, you could say it’s not very different.
original simplified for English learners by fulbridge