Typical interview questions

Interviews are a way for recruiters to find out more about you. They will usually want to check that you do have the skills and experience that you stated on your CV or in your application. Questions will be designed to find out more about you and to help them decide if you will be a good match for the company. Interviews are also a way for you to find out more about the company and the position helping you to decide if you would like to work there. Here are some questions you may be asked:

Why do you want the job?

Talk about why you applied for this job - not that you need a job or like the salary or location - what is it about the work itself that appealed to you? Remember the research you have done on the role and the company so include keywords that mirror what skills the company is looking for and the company’s values.

DO NOT mention any negative comments about current or past employers.

What qualities do you think will be required for this job?

The job advert will have alerted you to the qualities the organisation are looking for. You may have also discovered qualities that they favour in your own research of the company. Use similar words and phrases to talk about your own qualities and also think about additional qualities you may have that would help in the role.

What can you contribute to the company?

This is your chance to shine! Talk about your achievements in previous positions which are relevant to the position you are applying for. Use these as an example to show how you have contributed to the team and/or organisation. Try using the STAR method to help you prepare.

Why do you want to work for this company?

Emphasise the positive reasons why you want to join their company. For example, being part of a great team in an organisation that values excellent customer service. Think about what you can bring and what you would gain from working in that environment. Again, use your company research. Avoid discussing things such as more money or shorter hours at this stage.

What do you know about this company?

This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company, what they offer and how they deliver this. Again this goes back to researching the company before your interview.

You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?

If you are going for a new type of role, be prepared to talk about your transferable skills that are relevant and highlight your personal skills such as, always aims to succeed, being very determined and motivated to get the job done, and being a quick learner.

Why should we employ you?

The answer to this question will be based on your previous relevant experience and achievements, so think about this based on what you can offer and what they require. Also, include personal skills such as being a great team player, punctual, efficient, keen to learn and share your own knowledge to help others.

What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?

This is about turning negatives into positives. Talk about the positives like a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company. Imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you’re so interested

Why are you changing careers?

This is usually asked if you are making a significant change in your career. Use things like personal goals in your response. For example, you’ve always wanted to work in [insert type of role/ sector] but your personal circumstances didn’t allow it until now. Always stress the positive aspects of the change rather than the negative aspects of your previous career. Highlight any training or learning you have done to help you make the change.

Why did you join your previous company? Why are you leaving now?

Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company, and be mindful to not say anything negative about your present/previous employer. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you would offer that opportunity.

What are you looking for in a new job?

Make sure your answer is relevant to the company which is interviewing you. Responses such as looking for an opportunity where you can apply your existing skills and learn new ones, or things like they are a leader in the industry and you want to expand your skills and experience.

How would you describe yourself or how would others describe you?

Pick 3 to 5 key words that demonstrate your skills and qualities.  It’s a good idea to have examples related to these qualities ready in case they ask for them. Remember to stay truthful to who you are, as this could be reflected in references.

What has been your biggest achievement/success from your career?

Think about this prior to any interview as we all get a sense of achievement/success from different things, but make sure it demonstrates your skills and qualities relevant to the role. Be confident and proud of your achievements when you are talking about them.

Are you self-motivated?

Employers will always expect a yes! Give an example that demonstrates how you have been self-motivated in your current or previous roles.

Can you act on your own initiative or do you require direction?

This is a two way question. An employer wants someone who is able to follow directions and complete tasks, but also someone who is also able to work from their own initiative.

What motivates you?

Is it customer satisfaction? Achieving targets? Supporting others? Learning new skills? Completing tasks to a high standard? Opportunity for career progression? We’re all different, be honest. Avoid answers about financial gain.

Can you work under pressure, can you meet targets?

Each job will have an element of pressure and targets. Think about your past experience and prepare examples to demonstrate this.

What are your career goals?

Think about this in relation to the company you have applied to. Talk about opportunities to gain new skills, achieve relevant qualifications, and potential opportunities to develop in the future.

If you’d like some help preparing for an interview or just want to chat through your options you call us free on 08081 311 333 or chat with us online using the chat function at the top of the page.

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