The 7 most popular interview questions

It is always difficult to predict the questions that you will be asked at a job interview. Some interviewers chose quirky questions whilst others tend to stick with more traditional questions. We have put together a list of the 7 most popular / common interview questions along with our suggested answers.

Tell me about yourself

This is obviously a very broad question, so try to narrow it down to a couple of areas – interviewers aren’t after your life story! You should generally avoid personal details such as your marital status or information about your children. A typical answer would describe your qualifications and career history and highlight the skills you possess which are relevant to the job.

“Craft an elevator pitch”, suggests Robert Half.

“Make sure you succinctly and clearly explain how you’re suited for this particular job and — just as important — why you want it. So before you start crafting your selling points, spend some time reviewing the job description in the recruitment ad for the position and researching the company. That way you’ll have a good understanding of what the hiring manager is looking for as far as skills and experience.”

What are your strengths?

Try to link your strengths to the skills required for the job. For example, if the role is for a Customer Service Executive, highlight your excellent communication skills and exceptional telephone manner.

What are your weaknesses?

Everyone has weaknesses, so never say that you don’t have any! Chose a weakness where it doesn’t matter for the job, for example, languages for a UK based firm. When highlighting your weaknesses, say how you would improve upon them.

Watch this video for more ideas on how to answer this question:

Why are you leaving your current role / why did you leave your previous role?

Try not to be negative in your answer to this question and instead focus upon the positive aspects of the role on offer. For example; ‘My previous job didn’t offer any room for career progression’ or ‘I am looking for a role closer to home’. Never complain about a manager or cite a personality clash as a reason for leaving as this may look as though you are a difficult person to get along with.

Why do you want to work here?

The question will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of the company, so remember to do your research before the interview! Look at who they are, what they do and how they compare with competitors. Try to focus upon what you can do for the company, rather than what they can do for you and never say you want work there for the generous holiday and big increase in salary (even if you think it!)

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Employers want to feel confident that if they did hire you, you will stay with the company and won’t leave after a few months. You need to be realistic about your career goals, so saying ‘I’ll be in your job’ to the Managing Director is definitely not advisable! Instead focus on the skills and experience that you would like to acquire during this time.

Do you have any questions?

Never say no to this question! Always go in with a list of questions to ask your interviewer. Even if the subject is covered during the course of the interview, ask them to reiterate at the end of the interview. Good questions include; ‘What sort training will be provided?’ ‘Can you describe an average day in this job?’ and ‘What is the next stage in the interview process?’

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