Job interview tips: The ultimate interview questions cheat sheet – part 1

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Interviews these days are becoming more of a two-way process. Companies are actively encouraging candidates to ask their own questions, relating to the position and the company itself. In this weeks’ blog we look at questions you can expect from your interviewer. In our next blog we will focus on questions you should ask your interviewer.

How to use your research in your interview

Though you cannot know what an interviewer may ask you – you can however predict and prepare. It’s important to think about how you might answer some expected questions, you can even jot down a couple points and keep them close. Interviewing virtually makes this even easier as you can keep your notes close by without it looking too obvious.

Reflect on yourself as an individual beforehand. Think about who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are and finally what you actually want.

Doing this research and preparation will help you answer any question that comes your way. Here’s a few examples of questions to expect and how to potentially answer them. But remember that you are unique and so is the company. It’s important for you to be authentic and show your true self. “Being authentic will radiate more pure energy than trying to be an ideal you.” – Christina Lonsdale.

Common Questions

WHAT THEY ASK:WHAT THEY MEAN:ANSWER EXAMPLE:
“Tell me about yourself”Sum yourself up for me (key point here: summarise!)Quick, to the point answer.
Please don’t repeat your CV word for word:
Your qualifications
Your career history
Your skills
“What are your achievements to date?”What are you proud of?
Are you ambitious and goal driven?
What have you achieved, in your career that sets you apart?
What achievement are you particularly proud of?
“Tell me about the most difficult situation you had to face, and how you tackled
it?”
What is your definition of a difficult situation?
How do you cope in these types of situations?
Please ensure you answer with a work-related example, not an inter-personal one (e.g. a colleague was gossiping about you).
Choose a situation that can be explained clearly and in a few sentences.
What were your options, in terms of resolving
the issue? What option did you select and why? End on a positive note!
“What are your strengths?”There’s no hidden meaning behind this one. Just be honest!Focus on your main strengths that would be directly beneficial for this role.
“What are your weaknesses?”Classic question!Please don’t say you have none, this is humanly impossible.
Describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered a strength, and the steps you’re taking to improve.
Example: “I struggle to delegate work to my reportees, and prefer to complete the work myself.
However, I have worked on this, and dedicated more time to training and upskilling my team, so I feel more trusting and confident in their abilities to complete the work to the required standard.”
“Why are you looking at new career opportunities?”What are your motives behind this move?Be open and honest about why you are on the job market.
Never be negative in your reasons for leaving, and it will rarely be appropriate to state salary as the primary motivator. Though this might be a factor, rather focus on other reasons why.

Other questions that may come up:

• How does your current position fit into your department and company?
• What do you enjoy about the industry you work in?
• How do you handle pressure?
• How do you handle constructive criticism?
• How do you handle office politics/conflicts?
• How do you see yourself fitting into our company?
• What are you looking for, in this next career move? What will this move add to your current experience and skillset?
• How do you measure your own performance?
• What areas of your skillset do you want to improve?
• Why do you want this position? Why do you think you’d enjoy working in this position and at this company?
• How would your colleagues and boss describe you?

Look out for part 2 which will focus on the classic “Do you have any questions?” question and how to actually answer this.

Tamryn Futurelink