Given that questions are crucial in the interview process, it is helpful for candidates to know the different types of interview questions. This guide aims to provide an overview of the most common types of interview questions and how you should respond to them.


Traditional interview questions

There are some questions virtually guaranteed to come up in an interview, no matter the role you are applying for. These questions ask you to talk about your skills, your experience and how you will fit with a prospective new employer.

These questions have an open-ended element to them, but you shouldn’t ramble on or provide every detail of your life. Consider the matter and give a concise and tailored response that showcases your skills, and how you fit the criteria of the interview process.

Traditional interview questions include:

• Tell me about yourself
• What weaknesses do you have
• Explain the gap in your CV?
• Why have you applied for this position


Questions relating to your career goals

These questions delve into your ambitions and allow you to talk about where you see yourself in the future. Some firms may be wary of a person’s long-term goals or likelihood of staying around with one company for too long. Companies want to find candidates with purpose, but equally, they want to find someone willing to stay with their organisation for many years.
In preparing for these questions, be honest, and if you have genuine ambitions, share them. However, it is best to answer in a way that indicates you are committed to the company and that you can achieve your goals from the current or prospective roles.


Career goal questions include:

• Why do you want to work for this firm?
• What is your dream role?
• What motivates you at work?


Questions relating to your character

While most companies want to know about your experience and whether you are capable of doing the role, many firms want to find out about you, the person. Company culture is crucial, and if you aren’t going to fit in with the ethics or outlook of the firm, you may not be considered a suitable fit for the role.

With these questions, you should look to display your ethics, morals, integrity and values. You should show that you are personable and while you want to indicate you can work by yourself if required, you need to display traits that position yourself as a team player.


Character questions include:

• Name a person you most admire, and why
• Tell me about a time you were last angry in a working environment
• Explain how you dealt with a challenging time


Competency questions

Competency questions help candidates to display their skills and expertise when they may not have relevant work experience to call on. This style of interview is hugely popular, and companies are looking for candidates to show they can adapt to deal with awkward positions.

These questions allow candidates to show that they are suitable for a role by offering examples of situations they have dealt with and problems they have overcome.
Competency question examples include:

• Discuss a time where you faced a challenging deadline
• Tell me about a significant change in the workplace you have managed
• Tell me about a time you’ve supported a colleague who was struggling
• Explain a time you’ve improvised to achieve your goal


Creative questions

There will be times when you feel under pressure during an interview. There may be unexpected questions or questions which make you think on your feet. If you can show that you handle unexpected situations while offering a creative or eloquent response, you will position yourself as an ideal candidate for many roles.

These questions are often irrelevant, perhaps even along the lines of ‘if you could be any animal in the jungle, what would you b?’ and there is no right or wrong answer. However, you should aim to provide a logical answer with the reasoning behind it.

Hopefully, this guide makes you aware of the main interview questions, allowing you to prepare in advance for your next interview. Anyone looking for assistance in preparing for an interview should contact The Recruiting Office, and we’ll be happy to help.

Click here for our latest reports and articles

Click here for more tips regarding interview questions