We are all aware of the need to research the firm beforehand, to dress to impress, to get there early and make sure we don’t fidget, but what about those difficult questions interviewers tend to ask?
There are several questions that come up time and time again; therefore, it is possible to prepare intelligent answers. Here are some tips for answering the top 10:
Can you tell me more about yourself?
This is asking you to reveal something important or relevant about your experience or skills, so don’t tell them your life story. Use it as a chance to demonstrate how you fit the job description, using examples of your skills and experience.
Why do you want to work here?
This is a chance for you to show you have done your research. Talk about what you know about the company and why you think it will fit your career aspirations.
Why are you interested in this role?
This asks you to demonstrate why you want the job. Again, shy away from obvious but bland answers, such as ‘It’s all I could get’; instead, concentrate on how the role would fit your career path.
Why did you leave your last position?
You may want to be a bit creative with this answer. Don’t lie, but try not to be negative – saying you didn’t get on with your former boss will not go down well. Instead, talk about how you wanted a change of career or better work/life balance.
Why have you had so many jobs?
This is a tricky one to answer unless you have a good reason for the job switches, such as redundancies. The best way to avoid this question is to stop it coming up – leave some (smaller) jobs out of your CV if necessary.
Can you explain the gaps in your CV?
This is another question that should be answered positively. Don’t just say ‘I fancied a year off,’ even if you did; instead, put a positive spin on any gap years, pointing out life experiences that may have added to your skills.
Where will you be in five years’ time?
Try to answer this one by sticking to the career to which the job is relevant. No one wants to hire someone who has plans to move on to another industry as soon as they can. Make sure you have a clear idea of where you want to be in the future and how this relates to a defined career path.
Why should we give you the job?
This is another opportunity to highlight your skills and experience, pointing out why you are the best person for the position. Try to think of some element of your experience that other candidates may not possess.
What is your biggest weakness?
Think of an element of your personality or skills shortage that you have recognised in yourself and overcome. Don’t tell the interviewer about something they will see as a potential problem.
Do you have any questions?
Ask about important aspects of the job or specifics of the role – not the pay or holiday allocation!
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