Interview Questions

Interview questions may vary but in essence they are all trying to establish the your skills and experience to do the job, your enthusiasm and interest for the job and whether you will fit in. 

By rehearsing interview questions, you will become more familiar with your own qualifications and will be well prepared to demonstrate how you can benefit an employer.

Your potential new employer is looking for a candidate that can do the job and will fit into his or her business. The chances are that the candidate is undoubtedly going to need to be a team player and a person who can listen and give enthusiastic and positive input into their job and daily work life. As the questions start to flow try and remember not to go on and on when giving your answers.

Try and keep your answers as precise as possible, but not yes and no answers. If you are asked a specific question that requires you to provide an example of how you have dealt with a situation then give an example that makes your achievement stand out. The interviewer really wants specific answer: what, when, how, achievements, accomplishments, impact, costs, savings, etc.

Most common interview questions include:

Tell me about yourself.

Make a short, organized statement of your education and professional achievements and professional goals. Your answer should be well-rehearsed, confidently delivered and last between 3-5 minutes. Briefly describe your qualifications for the job and the contributions you could make to the organization. Focus on the areas of most relevance to the job in question and include some impressive achievements, like improvements made. Avoid personal or irrelevant information, for example your children, unrelated jobs

Why do you want to work here?

Show the interviewer your interest in the company. Share what you learned about the job, the company and the industry through your own research. Talk about how your professional skills will benefit the company. Unless you work in sales, your answer should never be simply: "money." The interviewer will wonder if you really care about the job.

Why did you leave your last job?

The interviewer may want to know if you had any problems on your last job. If you did not have any problems, simply give a reason, such as: relocated away from job; company went out of business; laid off; temporary job; no possibility of advancement; wanted a job better suited to your skills. If you did have problems, be honest. Show that you can accept responsibility and learn from your mistakes. You should explain any problems you had (or still have) with an employer, but do not describe that employer in negative terms. Demonstrate that it was a learning experience that will not affect your future work.

What are your best skills?

If you have sufficiently researched the organization, you should be able to imagine what skills the company values. List them, then give examples where you have demonstrated these skills. Focus on what you know they are looking for, even if it has been a smaller part of what you have been doing to date. The job advert or person specification form will give you the information you need about their requirements.

What is your major weakness?

Be positive; turn a weakness into a strength. For example, you might say: "I often worry too much over my work. Sometimes I work late to make sure the job is done well."

Do you prefer to work by yourself or as a part of a team?

The ideal answer is one of flexibility. However, be honest. Give examples describing how you have worked in both situations.

What are your career goals?

The interviewer wants to know if your plans and the company's goals are compatible. Let him know that you are ambitious enough to plan ahead. Talk about your desire to learn more and improve your performance, and be specific as possible about how you will meet the goals you have set for yourself.

Tell me about a difficult scenario at work and how you dealt with it.

Question design to test how you cope under pressure as well as your problem-solving and communication skills. Good examples are where you: helped resolve or improve a difficult situation or showed emotional intelligence. Avoid any examples which still feel sensitive, because in a high-pressure interview situation, old emotions can easily resurface and throw you off balance.

Tell me about an achievement of which you are proud?

Choose work-related examples that shows a tangible benefit to the business. Personal achievements should only be included if they are very impressive or prestigious.

What are your hobbies?

The interviewer may be looking for evidence of your job skills outside of your professional experience. For example, hobbies such as chess or bridge demonstrate analytical skills. Reading, music, and painting are creative hobbies. Individual sports show determination and stamina, while group sport activities may indicate you are comfortable working as part of a team. Employees who have creative or athletic outlets for their stress are often healthier, happier and more productive.

What salary are you expecting?

You do not want to answer this one directly. Instead, deflect the question back to the interviewer by saying something like: "I do not know. What are you planning on paying the best candidate?" Let the employer make the first offer. However, it is still important to know what the current salary range is for the profession. Find salary surveys at the library or on the Internet, and check the classifieds to see what comparable jobs in your area are paying. This information can help you negotiate compensation once the employer makes an offer.

Would you like to add anything?

Use this as a chance to summarize your good characteristics and attributes and how they may be used to benefit the organization. Convince the interviewer that you understand the job requirements and that you can succeed.

Additional questions might include:

Questions about your Qualifications

• What can you do for us that someone else can not do?
• What qualifications do you have that relate to the position?
• Why should we hire you over someone else?
• How would you manage a difficult situation?
• How do you cope in stressful situations?
• What new skills or capabilities have you developed recently?
• Give me an example from a previous job where you have shown initiative.
• What have been your greatest accomplishments recently?
• What is important to you in a job?
• What motivates you in your work?
• What have you been doing since your last job?
• What qualities do you find important in a co worker?

Questions about your Career Goals

• What would you like to being doing five years from now?
• How will you judge yourself successful? How will you achieve success?
• What type of position are you interested in?
• How will this job fit in your career plans?
• What do you expect from this job?
• Do you have a location preference?
• Can you travel?
• What hours can you work?
• When could you start?

Questions about your Work Experience

• What have you learned from your past jobs?
• What were your biggest responsibilities?
• What specific skills acquired or used in previous jobs relate to this position?
• How does your previous experience relate to this position?
• What did you like most/least about your last job?
• Whom may we contact for references?

Questions about your Education

• How do you think your education has prepared you for this position?
• What were your favorite classes/activities at school?
• Why did you choose your major?
• Do you plan to continue your education?

For more senior positions, be prepared for these

• Why do you think you are a good manager? What is your management style?
• Budget responsibility and how you managed this, size of your team
• How do you go about recruiting staff?
• Do you have experience of terminating someone's employment?
• How did you cope with terminating someone's employment?


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