The interview process is critical for all candidates. While there will be questions linked to the role on offer, there are likely to be common interview questions that are suitable for all applicants and positions. Therefore, if you are looking to enhance your interview skills and confidence, knowing what the most common interview questions are, and what answers you can provide, will help you prepare for an interview.
Also, if you are a company conducting interviews, asking standard interview questions helps you to get to know a candidate, it allows a candidate to settle into the interview process, and it provides answers that can be compared across candidates.
A typical opening question is “Tell me about yourself”
This question is an opportunity for candidates to talk about themselves, but it is a test that indicates how a job seeker reacts to being put on the spot. If you are a candidate asked this question, you are in control, but you need to present yourself in a manner that is fitting for the interview process and the role.
A right answer is concise, so think before you launch into a long story. Cover your education, your experience, interests you have in this line of work and a little bit about yourself.
Applicants are often asked about their weaknesses
This question is a challenging one because most people don’t want to admit to flaws in their character. However, no one is perfect and recognising and acknowledging areas for growth and development is an important trait.
If you can cite a weakness and then address steps you have taken to improve in this area or where you have studied to reduce the impact of this weakness, you answer the question honestly while making it seem like a strength. Of course, not all flaws are equal, and if you admit to being lazy or you don’t follow instructions well, you will make a weak impression!
You may be asked why you should get this job
This question crops up regularly, and it provides you with a sales pitch. However, don’t consider it an opportunity to talk about your best features; you need to talk about your suitability for the role and company. A great answer to this question indicates you have researched the firm and understand what the role requires, positioning yourself as a good fit for both, rather than merely implying you are brilliant.
Salary expectations are often raised at interviews
In the interview process, where no formal offer of the role is in place, it is best to provide a broad salary expectation. The job listing should give an indicator of the expected salary, and you should have researched the role and likely salary. Do not consider this as an opportunity to begin negotiations.
Other questions you may be asked include:
• Why did you leave your previous role?
• Why is there is a gap in your CV?
• What is your dream job?
For these questions, it is best to be honest, and provide as much pertinent information as possible.
At the end of the process, candidates are asked if you have any questions, always say yes, and ask something about the post, the firm or expectations of the successful candidate. If you can indicate you have thought about the role, you will make yourself more appealing in the interview process.
Hopefully, this guide will help you prepare for an interview, as these questions commonly arise. If you are looking for assistance in preparing for interviews, please contact The Recruiting Office, and we’ll be happy to help.