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Making the interview process easier: predicting the questions

How can you prepare and what is the best way to phrase your answers?

Interviews can be a daunting experience when there are a multitude of questions you may be asked. Realistically, interviewers have set information they want to know and ask the same questions phrased in different ways, making it easy for you to prepare and feel confident in your answers.

What can you tell me about yourself?

This is the most commonly-asked first question and yet possibly the hardest question to answer. It is important to decide what the interviewer needs to know about you in relation to the job. Do not waffle about elements of your social life, and know when to stop talking.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Probably the question most feared by interviewees, the interviewer wants to know how honest you will be. It is likely that they have already made assumptions about your weaknesses; therefore, tell the truth and do not give the same standard answers as everyone before you.

How do you like to be managed?

Simply put, they want to know whether you can work well together or whether you will cause friction. If you have established similarities between you during the interview, hone in on these in your answer.

Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?

It takes a lot of time and money to train a new employee; therefore, this is your chance to prove that you are looking for a long-term opportunity and are committed to the role.

What are your salary expectations?

The most awkward question to be asked, many interviewees do not like to discuss the salary; however, this is essential. It is important for the interviewer to know whether the company can meet your expectations.

How do you handle stress and failure?

Your potential employer is looking to establish whether you will turn into your own version of Jekyll and Hyde or will become a gibbering wreck. Have an answer prepared so that you are not caught out.

How would your colleagues describe you?

This question has the ability to throw many interviewees, as it is difficult to lie your way through it. It is intended to see how self-aware and self-conscious you are.

Can you describe a time you worked as part of a team?

In any interview situation, you want to appear confident and self-sufficient. This question is posed to see whether you understand that nothing is achieved alone and that it takes a team to be successful. Prepare a good example and be sure to praise those you worked with.

What do you like and dislike about your current role?

The real question here is whether the company can offer you something your current employer cannot. You are obviously leaving your job for a reason, but try not to bad-mouth your employer. Be diplomatic and ensure you discuss the elements you have genuinely enjoyed.

Why are you applying for this job?

Often used as a closing question, this is a polite way of asking what skills you have that are relevant to the role. It may also be a test to see how well you understand the job description; therefore, try to refer back to the job specification.

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