Some questions in life are easier to answer than others; ‘favourite team?’ easy, ‘favourite city?’ easy, ‘favourite child?’ easy! Let’s face it though, it doesn’t matter how you look at it, how many times you run over possible answers or how many times you force your partner to listen to your revised speeches, you just don’t know what an employer is going to ask you or how you should respond in an interview. The truth is the employer isn’t always that interested in what you answer, but rather how you came to the conclusion. We’ve compiled a few simple and common interview questions that might help you when preparing to step through those large office doors and into a new domain.
What made you apply for this position?
Erm…Uhhh….This can be a real stumper if you genuinely did just click the ‘apply’ button on a generic job board. You will always find this question difficult if you aren’t particularly bothered about the job or have not done your research which is why, when applying for roles, you should know exactly what you’re applying for.
The answer should be less about why you would be GOOD for the role, but rather what it is about the position and the Company that excites you. This is your opportunity to show the employer what you know about their business.
Answers such as ‘The salary was pretty inviting’, ‘Well, it’s round the corner from my house’ and ‘It looked easy.’ Will earn you a one way ticket to the front door my friends.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Structure-wise, this is easy. Use your common sense and say more strengths than weaknesses. Start with one weakness (poor PowerPoint skills through lack of use, lack of confidence in public speaking etc.) and rectify it with how that can be improved and then move on to two or three strengths. Your strengths should be relevant to the job, because while you might hold a record amongst your circle of friends for the most Maltesers in your mouth at one single time, that isn’t really going to enhance the Company’s profit, is it?
Without a doubt, do not say ‘I don’t have any weaknesses’- while your confidence is commendable there will probably no room left in the office after your head is through the door.
Tell us about yourself.
Life Story Alert!
Or maybe not.
Keep it short, simple and to the point! A maximum of 3 minutes will be fine. This is mostly an opportunity for the employer to see how you react and then interact. Lots of ‘uhming’ and ‘aahh-ing’ will show you are unprepared so take a deep breath and stick to just a few points. Where you were educated, a brief description of your work history and what you’re hobbies are. Remember to breathe in between sentences and try to relax a little.
If you were an animal what animal would you be?
Erm, what? No, no, your interviewer hasn’t cracked up. These psychological questions are just testing to see how well you react. It would be worth preparing a few answers at home in case they should arise. A Cat might be your favourite furry friend but it might suggest a lazy, indifferent attitude. Play them at their game and find the one that will get the job done!
Do you have any questions?
Yes. Yes you definitely have a question don’t you! Make sure you prepare some well thought out questions that have nothing to do with your planned holiday, your salary or the Company car the role offers. ‘What learning opportunities will this job offer?’ ‘How is the job likely to change in the next couple of years? ‘What kind of clients will I be working with?’ are all excellent questions!
Interviews are tough but the main thing to remember is that the Employer knows this as well as you do. The trick is to remain calm and prepare, prepare, prepare! Whatever your answers are, you should at least know why you want the job and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Be honest as well, wherever possible.
Have you had any difficult questions in an interview that left you clammy and awkwardly twiddling your fingers? Let us know in the comments and we can try to help. Better yet, let us know any tips you have for interviews!