Common Interview Questions
There are several questions that are regularly asked at interviews. Here are the most common interview questions with some tips on how to answer them.
Why do you want this job?
Interviewers will ask this question to establish how well you have researched the company, and to see how your skills and experience match their requirements. When researching the company, look for something unique or something that the company specialises in, and show how you would be suited to that area. Use examples from your course of study or work experience to support this.
Tell me about yourself.
This can sometimes be a series of specific questions or an open-ended statement inviting you to do most of the talking. Areas that the interviewer expects you to cover are some personal details, your education and employment history including any relevant work experience and your strengths and weaknesses.
Try to keep your answers brief and relevant without straying off the point. Keep personal information to a minimum and avoid embarking on a long story about how you spent a lost weekend in Amsterdam when you were a fresher at university.
When describing your strengths there are several key areas that employers are keen to hear about. One of the most important is your ability to learn new skills effectively. A quick learner is a valuable employee as most employers would expect someone to be able to carry out their duties unsupervised as soon as possible.
An example of where you have been self-motivated will show that you have the determination to be successful. You will also need to show that you get on well with people and be a team player. And even if it sounds like you are contradicting the last point you should also explain that you can work well on your own.
If you are asked what your weaknesses are, always try to turn the question around to illustrate a strength. For example the role may involve an area that wasn't covered in your studies. You could point out that you have recognised this shortcoming but have invested the time into researching it yourself.
Why did you choose your course at university?
This can be an opportunity to demonstrate which areas of your study match up with the requirements of the job. Ask about the company to find out how relevant your skills are. Your answer isn't as important as showing evidence of planning and making important decisions.
Not everybody's degree matches up with their career path and if this is the case you should show evidence of transferable skills, such as working as a team or good communication skills.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Try not to give an ambiguous or vague answer; the interviewer is trying to find out if you are committed to the role or if it is a temporary position until you find something better. You should explain how you would like to become an expert in your field or rise to management level.
Do you have any questions?
It is always best to have something ready to say at this point. If you have any genuine unanswered questions this is the time to ask. If not, you can say something along the lines of, "I would have asked about training and progression within the company, but we covered that earlier". Try to end on a positive note and if it hasn't already been mentioned ask when you can expect to hear about a decision.