So, you’ve found the perfect job, sent in your CV through the online application form on their website and you’ve been lucky enough to be invited along for an interview… now what?
This is the part where the nerves kick in, the doubt comes to the surface and you start to question if there are better people than you applying for this role… but it’s not always down to ability, experience or your grades! Yes – these things will help you, but you need to assume that you tick these boxes so far as you have made it to the interview stage, it’s now all about you and whether or not you are what they are looking for – are you a good fit for the team?
We asked Marie Al Shekly, an experienced recruiter with 11 years working in the industry, from Vacancy Filler what she thought were the 10 most important questions that you should be able to answer during any interview.
Marie said, “The ten questions that I have chosen are really common questions and can often be treated as ‘filler questions’ during the interview, what many candidates fail to realise is that these common questions are common for a reason – they are valuable in the decision making process at interview stage.”
The 10 interview questions you MUST be able to answer
- Tell us what you know about our company?
This question immediately shows an employer how much the applicant wants the job. You should always ensure you have researched the company, looked at the website and know exactly what the company does - otherwise you have failed before you are even off the starting block!
- How would your previous manager describe you?
This is about self-awareness and being able to sell yourself in the right way. Make sure you know the Person Specification and Job Description for the job you are applying for inside out; also make sure you concentrate on these areas when answering the questions.
- Why did you leave your last job?
This is where you need to show that you are “self-aware” and that you have the ability to take steps to improve yourself, don’t belittle or ‘slate’ your last company as it will be seen as unprofessional – an additional note; whatever you do, DO NOT ‘slate’ your old boss, no matter if it’s the truth or just your opinion, the person in front of you could be your next boss, and they may feel that you could do the same to them in the future.
- Tell us about yourself?
This is THE most common interview questions you’ll face and it still seems to trip up a ton of job seekers every time. Yet again, pick out the parts of the Person Specification that you know you excel in and talk about these areas. You need to fit the job you are applying for, not the other way round. Talk about what you are passionate about within work and also outside of work as it shows you have the right balance. My biggest bit of advice is to let your personality shine through – if you truly are right for this business, being open, honest and generally just being yourself will be worth its weight in gold!
- Why should we hire you?
This gives you a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and really show the hiring manager how you can help their company. Sell yourself and use words like ‘when you hire me’ instead of ‘if’. It shows self-confidence, and maybe cheek, but it will go in your favour – psychologically this allows the hiring manager to picture you in the role as you explain your answer, this is a great way for them to see, in their mind, how you will fit in with the business.
- What is one of your flaws?
You need to be self-aware and know your flaws and weak areas. Don’t say you don’t have any as this will go against you – if you can’t think of a flaw then think about an area that you could really do with improving on. If you are aware and you are working on doing something about it then it shows motivation and self-worth. Someone who is hungry to self-improve can only be a positive thing.
- What is your greatest strength?
Yet again, know yourself and the job you are applying for. Sell your greatest strength and achievement based on the primary focus of the role; use your transferable skills by taking attributes from your previous positions and making them applicable to this new role.
- Why do you want to work for us?
This is where the interviewer is trying to find out your underlying motivations for wanting the job. Are you here just for money or do you see yourself becoming an integral part of the company and growing along with it?
- Describe a difficult work situations and what you did to overcome it?
You need to have a “success story” ready to go for this. Relate to a story where you dealt with a problem successfully. Talk about what you learnt from the situation and how it allowed you to improve your performance for future situations.
- Do you have any questions?
Always ask something! Having no questions is a bad move. Always have a few questions prepared and have one based around something you found during your company research phase. This shows that you have a genuine interest in the role, the company and also reconfirms that you have actually been taking in what has been said during the interview process.
Marie said, “An interview is an opportunity for the company to banter with the applicant, but principally interviewers are sizing up your physical appearance, your mental temperament and your intelligence to see if you will fit the position and their culture."