City : Interview Practice : Common interview questions
Here are some questions that you might want to think about preparing. Of course there are loads of questions that you could be asked so you can never predict exactly which questions you will get.
Questions about you
- Do you have any questions to ask us?
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you add to this role?
- What are your goals?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Who are our main competitors?
- What does our company do?
- What was your last salary? What salary are you seeking?
- What are your main interests, hobbies, activities and pastimes?
- What is your motivation for getting this job?
- Why would you be a good fit for our company?
- Who else have you applied to?
- What would be your ideal working environment?
- What type of company do you like to work in?
- Describe a recent major challenge that you have faced.
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Describe a time when you led a team.
- Describe a time when you worked in a team.
- What has been your greatest achievement?
- Describe a time when you dealt with a difficult person.
- Describe a situation where you solved a problem.
- Describe a time where you have dealt with adversity.
- Describe a time when you have influenced or persuaded another person to follow your idea.
Answering Interview Questions
There is no perfect answer that we can give you that will answer the Questions about You. After all each and every person is different, but we can give you some pointers!
There are 3 main steps to answering any question:
- Step 1 - Prepare
Before anyone can get an interview, they have to apply for the job. When applying for a job you have to give them information about you. A CV, an application form, a covering letter, etc.
The best thing to do is keep EVERYTHING! That way when you do get an interview you know exactly what you said and you can try and predict what questions might come up.
- Step 2 - Revise
The main piece of advice we can give you is REVISE!
The day before you're interview go back over everything you sent in. What you gave them is all the information they have on you, so have a look and see what you said. It's highly likely that they will ask you lots of questions about what you've put on your CV, the questions you answered on the application form, etc. So why not revise and remember what you put down.
This should also give you a confidence boost as you remember all the things that make you perfect for that job!
- Step 3 - Practice
The more interviews you go to the better you will get! However if there's one job you really want, you will want to have that practice already behind you. There are many ways you can do this but here a just a few ideas:
1. Set up a fake interview - Give your friends or family members the list of potential questions and get them to test you. The more you answer the questions the better you will get at answering the questions!
2. Practice your handshake - The handshake is the first time your employer learns anything about you and you want it to make a good impression. So practice with you friends and family until you feel you handshake is strong and professional.
3. Body Language- You're body language says a lot about you so make sure it's relaxed, but alert.
Don't slouch; if you look bored in the interview why would the recruiter presume that you wouldn't be bored in the job too?
Communicate interest and energy. Keep eye contact, making eye contact with your potential employer is important. You want them to know that you're interested and confident. Try not to fiddle and fidget too much, it will make you seem bored and uncomfortable.
Answering Competency Questions
S – situation, background, setting the scene
T – task or target, specifics about what was required, when, where and who
A – action that you took, skills and behaviours used
R – result – what happened as a result of your actions
The STAR method is an effective way of answering competency based questions ie those that start: ‘Tell us about a time when ……
This method will enable you to shine at the interview by explaining clearly what the situation was, what the task was, the action that you took and the results that you achieved.
The STAR story should be around two minutes long and be delivered with energy and enthusiasm about a real experience you have had. If you have not had an experience at work you could use something outside work as long as it demonstrates your skills and behaviour. eg You may not have organised a group of people at work but you may be involved with guides or a darts team and be organising people in that capacity.
Here are some examples of the types of questions that can be answered in this way:
- This job requires flexibility, could you tell us about a time when you have had to stand in for another member of staff?
- Have you ever had difficulty with another member of staff at work?
- Tell us about a time when you had to deliver to a strict deadline?
- Tell us about a time when you have had to develop a new system or project from scratch?
‘Give me a time you have had to deal with a difficult customer’.
S – I was working at a high street retailer selling branded menswear, on this day I was based at the till. A gentleman came to the counter and told me he had only bought the suit a month ago and it was falling apart.
T – I listened to the gentleman, sympathised with his situation and asked to have a look at the suit. I saw that there was an issue and asked what action he would like us to take. He wanted a refund.
A – I requested proof of purchase and explained that was company policy. He handed it over and I swiftly gave him a refund and gave a 10% discount for his next purchase in the shop.
R – The gentleman went away satisfied and came back to use his discount voucher.