Have you got an interview coming up? Are you feeling prepared?
It’s natural to feel a little nervous before a job interview. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to know exactly what questions your interviewer is going to ask you and how you answer these questions could affect your future life and career.
Yes, a job interview is a big deal and you need to impress. For starters, we recommend conducting thorough research on the company, dressing to impress and thinking of some great questions to ask. Another key thing to consider before any interview is what you might be asked. While you can’t prepare for every question and the interviewer may throw in some curve-ball questions, there are some general interview questions that come up in most interviews.
Here are seven general interview questions and how you can answer them.
1. Tell me about yourself
This is a very common opening question at interviews. Why? It gets you talking and will hopefully allow you to relax into the interview. When answering this question, think about following the structure of your CV. If you’re a recent graduate start with your degree and go on to talk about your work experience. If you’ve already developed professionally, start with your most recent position and give examples of skills and achievements along the way. You don’t need to go into too much detail at this stage, the interviewer will question you further on key areas throughout your interview.
You can also use this question as an opportunity to tell your interviewer about your career aims and ambitions and what you are looking for in your next opportunity.
TIP: Remember that this is an opportunity to showcase your skillset, personality and suitability for the role. If you don’t make a great impression in the first few minutes, it will be very difficult to win your interviewer over later on.
2. What are your strengths?
We recommend coming up with your three best attributes that are in line with the role you are interviewing for. Give examples of when you have used these strengths.
3. What are your weaknesses?
This is a tricky question that most people struggle with. The best way to tackle this question is to think of genuine weaknesses that you are taking steps to improve on. For example, your IT skills may not be the best but you have spent some additional hours self-teaching or attending a training course to help improve on them. Avoid cliché answers to this questions, such as ‘I’m a perfectionist’.
4. Why should we hire you?
Before attending your interview, familiarise yourself with the job description. What is it that the company is looking for? Use this as the base of your answer and give examples to back up that you have the skills and experience they are looking for.
5. What are your goals?
What are your goals? or where do you want to be in 5 years’ time? are very common questions. It’s best to think about your answers both in the short-term and long-term. Be honest about where you want your career to go, but also be realistic with your timescales.
6. Why do you want to work here?
This is your opportunity to really show off your research. Talk about why the company culture and the opportunity appeal to you. Be specific, they want to know why their company is more appealing to you than any other.
7. What are your salary expectations?
You need to know what the value of someone with your skills is. If you don’t know, do some online research before your interview. You don’t need to be too specific here as you may want some room to negotiate later. If a salary is mentioned in the job description, ideally you should be looking for somewhere within this bracket.
There you have it. Those are the most common general interview questions that you may be asked. If you have some answers prepared for them, then you can go into your interview feeling more confident.
If you want any more advice on how to ace your interview take a look at our best interview tips. Good luck!