Interview questions and answers

Interview questions and answers

You will find below some examples of the old favourites employers like to ask at interviews and the ideal responses you could give.

Introductory Questions:

If you prepare well it will help reduce anxiety and make you feel more confident, at ease and in control of the interview.

Tell me about yourself.

Don’t outweigh your overview of yourself with personal details. Focus on professional qualities, previous roles, skills and abilities, what you are now looking for, what direction you want to now be moving in etc. Use your CV as sound basis and always be positive.

What do you know about our company?

Hopefully you will have carried out research on the company beforehand so impress them with your knowledge. Talk about how long they have been in operation, their main products, services, any current coverage and topical issues ensuring they are positive and show you are interested in their business. See our interview preparation guide.

Why do you want to work here?

You want to be part of their company, the bigger picture and input into the business. You would enjoy the challenge , the job role and the nature of the business appeals and interests you. You can make a contribution to the company’s goals and direction. You would like to be part of the company and its culture – you have heard the company values its employees and looks after them.

Why are you leaving your present job?

Do not dish the dirt on your last employer – this will look unprofessional. Include reasons such as it no longer challenges you, you have reached your full potential, there is no room to progress in your chosen career path, you would like to move into a new industry etc. If you were made redundant always try to take the negativity or focus of a redundancy off yourself by saying “our department was made redundant” etc.

What do you look for from a job?

An opportunity to work in a team, learn new skills, enhance skills I already have, improve on my business performance and make a real impact on…. Try to make your answers specific to that company’s business or the responsibilities of the job role, i.e. I am interested in learning more about the world of PR and developing my writing skills.

What could you bring to this role that someone else couldn’t?

Remain positive. Give examples of your past experiences that demonstrate your skills and successes in overcoming problematic situations. Your examples should be representative of the job on offer and the employer, use related examples to the role so the interviewer can clearly understand the link and picture you successfully carrying out the job.

What aspects about our job appealed to you most?

It would be a good idea to list two or three main factors. These could be the ability to work as part of a team, the location, certain things within the job specification that were of a particular interest to you as you want to expand on your skills or learn new ones, the company’s reputation as a good employer, one who looks after its staff.

What are the most important things you look for in an organisation?

Try not to be money orientated here. Give examples of more personal factors such as a company that takes good care of their staff, has a good training programme, feels that investment in and development of their workforce is important, one that treats everyone fairly.

Experience and Work Style Questions:

How much supervision have you previously received in your jobs?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how dependant you are on supervision and if you can work on your own initiative. Be positive and relate answers to the job role.

Tell me about a project you have particularly enjoyed working on and give reasons why.

Choose a project that clearly exemplifies the skills you have that are required in the job role. Ensure you touch on these skills so the interviewers know you are more than capable and have the right skill sets already in place to do the job. Your focus may be management, initiative or design and creativity.

What obstacles have you encountered at work and how have you overcome them?

The interviewer is looking for you to show a practical example of when you have overcome a problem, taken the lead and dealt with it effectively. They want to see that you can work under pressure and don’t get thrown when you come up against a difficult situation. Show that you have taken charge and managed a problem or issue to gain a positive outcome.

How do you find the task of meeting deadlines and juggling projects?

I prioritise my workload and set myself an action plan to ensure I meet deadlines and finish projects on time. This is a necessity in business today with the pace of work life.

What were some of the things that you found most difficult in your last job?

Always turn any negatives into positives. Give examples but always refer to how you overcame the difficulties. You could have undertaken training to help you with accounts for example, or practice presentations in front of team members to increase your confidence.

Personal and Personality Questions:

What three words would you use to describe yourself / What three words would your mum or best friend use to describe you?

This doesn’t sound like a trick question but these three little words can reveal a lot about your personality so prepare and plan your answers. Think about what key strengths the job role requires and find words to match. Most jobs require a level of organisation, responsibility and a good communicator, so don’t say messy or dis-organised, wild or unconfident.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Again, these should be positive, even the weaknesses. What responsibilities would you have in the new role? Try to link your strengths with what’s needed from you. Step back and look at yourself and realise what skills you do have and what you are at best at. Often it’s difficult for us to do this but be honest with yourself of your own achievements and strengths.

A “positive” weakness could be your attention to detail which could take you slightly longer than others when working on a project. This could be seen as a good point as employers always like precision and detail! Strengths could be your management skills, problem solving, communication skills, whatever the role demands most of you. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date and why?

You could bring in an achievement from your personal life here. Something that demonstrates your proudest moment but also your commitment, dedication, perseverance or simply learning new skills in life etc. It could be climbing a mountain after training, backpacking around Australia, studying a language or an extra qualification.

Examples of questions about the job or employer: Normally, the interviewer will give you the opportunity to ask questions about the company and the role at the end of the interview. It is vital to ask some questions so have some prepared – this will help to demonstrate your interest in the position, that you are keen to learn more about the company and it also helps you to ascertain whether you would be suited to the company’s work ethics and culture and would be happy in this role.

Examples of questions:

Here are some questions you could ask, given the opportunity:

  • Is there an induction programme?
  • Is there a training programme?
  • How many people does the company employ?
  • What plans for growth does the company have?
  • What would be my main responsibilities?
  • What are the main challenges of this role?
  • How do you see the role developing in the future?
  • Are there any areas of the role that you would like to improve on or new areas to move into within the business?
  • How many people would be working in the team?
  • Is there the option to enhance my career in the future?

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