Never be afraid of interview questions ever again
No matter how many you go on, interviews can always be nerve wracking. You put on your nicest clothes, you’ve worked hard at writing your CV and you remember to smile and look as relaxed as you can. Just when you think everything is going well you are hit with a curveball question you aren’t prepared for. Here are some tricky questions you may encounter and advice on how you answer them
Tell me about yourself?
This is the most common interview question around, you are not really being asked about yourself. The employer is not really interested in your life, whether you are married or own your own house. What they are interested in is your career. You don’t need to be too detailed just how you started on the path that got you where you are today and what your current or last job entailed. Make your answer short and sweet, it should be no more than 2-3 sentences, you don’t want to bore anyone silly.
Why do you want to work here?
When you are asked this question, you are really being asked “what do you know about our company?” The research you have done on the company will come into its own now. Explain what you liked about the company when you looked at their website. It could be their products, their clients, their corporate ethos, or their ambition. The message you need to get across is that you think their company is wonderful and why wouldn’t you want to work for them.
How did you hear about this job?
Well this is an easy question. Be honest tell the company where you saw their advertisement or who told you about the position or the Agency who arranged the interview for you. But again, it’s an opportunity to go into detail about how much you would like to work for the company and how much the job appealed to you.
Tell me about something on your CV
This is a check to see if you have written the CV yourself or someone has done it for you. If you have had it prepared for you make sure you read it carefully before you go for the interview. Everyone has something on their CV they are really proud of. It could be your degree, it could be the number of years you have been in your current or last job, it could be how you progressed in your current/last role. Blow you own trumpet no-one else will.
Why are you looking for a job?
This may seem like an innocent question but what the employer is trying to find out is why you left your last job or are thinking about leaving your current job. Employers aren’t really interested in someone who is looking for any old job , they are looking for a serious contender for their role. So before you attend an interview think about this question. If you have been made redundant its an easy one to answer. If you are employed and answer the question by saying you just fancy a change that’s not a good enough reason. Particularly in this market as no-one will take you seriously. Think about it. Are you underpaid for what you do, do you feel insecure in your current role or is the journey proving really difficult because of social distancing and you do not feel safe on the tube? Be as honest as you can but give a valid reason.
Why should we employ you?
Why wouldn’t they employ you? You can do their job, you have the required skills and experience they need and this is what they want to hear. They want to know what you can being to the team. Don’t give vague answers such as “I’m a hard worker”. Instead be specific, summarize your work experience and achievements. Use numbers if possible, for instance tell them how much experience you have in years. Impress them!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Well I would answer this “ideally lazing on a sandy beach with a pina colada.” It’s a heavy question but what you must do is remember you are in an interview so never mind your personal life. Keep your answer ambiguous. A good answer would be “employed by a company where I am happy and doing a job that I love”. If the role doesn’t have a lot of future opportunities the answer is right. If the job has a structured career path it is also right. You can’t go wrong with this answer.
How would you deal with conflict?
This is an important question because it helps the employer understand how you deal situations outside the norm. Whether you are fighter or a pacifist or someone in the middle. The employer wants to establish how you would react in a stressful situation. In the work environment there is only one way to deal with conflict and that is in a professional and rational manner. This can only be achieved by establishing the details of the conflict and working towards implementing a resolution or compromise with your work colleagues.
What is your dream job?
Don’t whatever you do answer honestly. My dream job would be working in a bar on a Caribbean beach serving cocktails. Focus on your career goals. Remember the job you are applying for. A good answer to this one is the same type of role but in a more senior capacity. Don’t be a smart ass and say “to be Managing Director or this company”. It won’t do you favours I promise you.
How do you deal with stress?
This question is being asked to identify any potential red flags they might have. No one wants to employ a panic merchant. You need to show that you can handle stress in a professional and positive manner. Don’t deny ever being stressed because everyone has stress at some time. The best way to answer this question is simply “as calmly as I can, I would methodically cope with whatever was thrown at me”
What are your salary requirement?
This is a dangerous question so be very wary of it. If you over price yourself, you will not be offered the job. If you under price yourself again you could lose a job offer. If you have done your research and studied the job description hopefully the salary has been quoted. If this is the case your answer is obvious. Tell the employer you are looking for the salary they have advertised the job at, or thereabouts. If the employer has not advertised the salary, then use your current or last salary as a starting figure. Tell the employer what you have been earning and then leave it to them to decide what you are worth. Do not try to negotiate a salary, it’s not the market to do that.
Do you have any questions?
This is the last question you will always be asked at an interview. This is your chance to really stand out – so don’t blow it by saying you don’t, or that your questions have already been answered. Have a list or at least three questions at the back of your mind so that no matter what there will be a least one question you have at end of the interview to ask. If you have done your research on the company and read the job description properly you will have questions. If you really can’t think of anything company or job relate a simple question could be “what’s it like working here?”. Employers love talking about themselves so it’s a question that will always go down well.
So there you go. Don’t panic about questions, just answer them simply and as honestly as you can, but not too honestly on some occasions. If you are asked a question and don’t know how to answer it, be honest again and say you don’t know the answer. Whatever you do don’t panic and try to be yourself at all times. It is really, really tough out there at the moment, but there will always be jobs available , the key to getting one though is to search, search and search, and be prepared when you go for an interview.