1. Tell me about yourself?
2. Why did you leave your last job?
3. How do you work under pressure?
4. Why do you want to work here?
5. How would your co-workers describe you?
6. Do you have any questions for me/us?
You’ve learned how to write an impressive CV and you have landed the interview. Congratulations! Now you must prepare for the impending interview questions?
We can’t offer you a crystal ball or a cheat sheet for your next job interview. However, we can offer our best advice about what to expect next time you are in the hot seat.
Get to grips with the most important elements to include in your responses and then add in your own unique work experiences to build truly winning interview answers.
Tell me about yourself?
Of all the interview questions in the world, you can almost bet that you will be asked some variation of this question at your next interview. Usually used as an ice breaker at the beginning of an interview, this question is designed to give the interviewer an overview of your background and experience.
• Limit your responses to your professional life. Start from the beginning of your career, summarizing your experience as you go.
• If you have a significant amount of work experience, there is no need to go all the way back to your first job unless it’s relevant. Stick to the jobs you’ve held in your current industry.
• If you have limited (or no) work experience, try to focus on experience – like internships – that relate to the role at hand.
Why did you leave your last job?
Employers ask this interview question to get an idea of how you feel about your current (or past) role.
• When answering this question, stay future-focused and don’t get stuck in the past.
• Keep your response positive. Never bad mouth your past or current employer in any capacity.
• Try to focus on what kinds of opportunities you’re looking for in your next role.
How do you work under pressure?
With this interview question the recruiter is trying to discern how you handle stressors in the workplace and how you manage your time. This behavioural question is asked because recruiters believe that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.
• Prepare a response that showcases your time management skills, your conflict management skills, or both.
• Often, a recruiter will ask for an example of a time you felt pressured at work and how you handled it so it’s a good idea to prepare an example or two in advance.
• If using an example, use one that had a positive outcome and that shows off your problem-solving skills.
Why do you want to work here?
By asking this interview question, the recruiter is trying to determine whether you want this job or just any job.
• To answer this question, study the job ad and research the company and its achievements. Jot down some interesting points about the company and role to use in your answer.
• If you have a personal connection to the company, be sure to incorporate it into your response.
• Remember to use this question as another chance to drive home why you’re the best candidate for the job and how you’ll add value to this organisation.
How would your co-workers describe you?
Recruiters ask this interview question to find out what kind of person you are to work with. Research shows that employers increasingly value soft skills in their employees, they want to know that you are emotionally intelligent, a great team player, and this is the perfect opportunity to showcase yours.
• Employers value soft skills like excellent communication skills, customer service skills, and conflict resolution skills. In other words, focus your answer on traits that are hard to teach and measure but that relate to how you interact with others.
• When answering this question, be honest. If you continue in the interview process, an employer will check your references. It will be a red flag to a recruiter if your response to this question is wildly different than what your references say about you during a reference check.
Do you have any questions for me/us?
This might not seem like an important question to prepare for, but it is. By asking this, the interviewer is confirming that you’re truly interested in the job and that you’ve taken the time to investigate the company and think about information you would need to know to decide about committing to the job.
• When you do your company research, write down any questions that you may have about the organisation itself. Be sure these aren’t questions that can be answered with a simple Google search. (For example, don’t ask, “Where is the company headquartered?”)
• Reading a few news articles, if available, is a good way to ask questions, show that you’ve done your homework, and are up to speed on the company’s current events.
• This is also a great time to ask more details about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role, or about the company’s benefits. It is not, however, the right time to ask about salary. That topic should be broached late in the process, usually after you’ve been made a conditional offer.
Note: Its normal to be nervous as you want to do well at the interview. Understand the interview is a important part of the job hunting process, with every interview you attend, you get better. So, manage the nervousness, breath and enjoy the process.