These Are the 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions to Prepare for your Interview
So, that big interview is coming up for your dream job. Your resume made the cut and they want to bring you in in person and find out a bit more about you and ascertain whether you will be a good fit for your organisation.
The next thing for you to do is to prepare for your interview. It is highly advisable to spend some time researching and preparing for the interview instead of going in and winging it! In fact, 47% of hiring managers said that they would not shortlist a candidate further if they did not know something about the company and if they had not prepared for it.
If that is not your motivation to do some hard prep before, we don’t know what is.
So, how can you prepare, and what do you need to know before going in? We thought we would take a look at the common questions asked and what they are expecting to hear in your answer.
We know how nerve wracking these can be, so here is a bit of guidance for you.
- Tell Us About Yourself?
Ah, the old classic. This is the most popular way interviews are kicked off and are great ice-breakers to get the conversation flowing.
But, what are they looking for? Well, this question allows the interviewer to see how confident you are, and learn more about how you landed up applying for the job. Focus two or three sentences on your career path, your interests and passion and why you will be an asset to the company.
Don’t be too arrogant, don’t reveal too much and leave enough for the interviewer to be interested in hearing more.
- What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
Here, they want to know exactly what you will be bringing into the organisation. Will you be a good fit for the organisation and will they be investing in someone who will actually make a difference in the role?
Align your strengths to the roles and responsibilities of the position. It is easier to give practical examples when answering this, so spend some time beforehand considering what you have built up over the years and what you really excel at.
Ie. In my current role, I am in charge of social media. I really enjoy engaging and interacting with customers and find the role interesting because I am on the frontline of dealing with customers digitally.
- What is Your Greatest Weakness?
This is also a highly popular question to ask and is asked to ascertain just how self-aware you are about how you work and your professional relationships.
The trick is to be honest about a challenge that you have experienced while working, and then explain how you have learnt or grown from it. So, admitting to something like enjoying working independently, or being a perfectionist in your work would be a great way to start off.
You can then move into how you saw that it stifled other people’s opinions, or other people in the team battled to get their ideas forward. End off the answer with how you started improving on it to ensure that you could work in a team and work together with colleagues to complete projects together.
- Why Do You Want to Work for Our Company?
This is where you need to make sure you know something about the company that you are applying at. Take some time in the run-up to the interview to research and know something a bit about the company.
You can then align your personal and career goals with the company's vision and objectives.
A great example would be; “I have seen that the company is very passionate about making it easier for people to manage their lives with this software solution. I have worked for 5 years in the industry and personally seen customer’s lives improving because of similar solutions. I will be able to bring a new set of ideas and experiences to the table to make our shared goal a reality.”
- Why Are You Looking for a New Role?
“Because I am very passionate about eating” wouldn’t really be the right answer here.
This question is posed to ascertain whether you are looking for a job because you have been fired from your last, whether you are just simply looking anywhere for a new job, or because you just jump from job to job.
Do not, even if it is the case, mention that you are not getting on with your current boss and hate the company you are working for. Rather concentrate on looking for a new avenue of growth and experiencing new challenges to push yourself a bit more.
- How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?
Work situations can get stressful. Whether it be deadlines, colleagues or customers, the new company needs to know that you will not lose your head and not be able to handle it. Once again here, it is important to bring in an example of when you were faced with a highly stressful situation and handled it.
It is good to admit that you were intimidated by the situation but worked through one aspect at a time, listened to the other person and considered things from their side before reacting.
- Describe a Difficult Situation You Have Had to Overcome?
Once again here, give a practical example of what you have experienced and how you handled a challenge that was thrown your way.
If you had to deal with losing a large client in the company, or having to lay off staff for various reasons, make sure you add how you tried to make the situation as tolerable and ease the pressure from the uncomfortable situation.
- What Are Your Future Goals / Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
We all love to hate this question don’t we.
Rule of thumb: never ever answer by saying, taking over your position. That's way too aggressive and threatening and you will instantly put a bad taste in your hiring managers mouth.
Rather talk about your career goals and ambition to work up the corporate ladder if that is what you are seeking. If this is a company you are wanting to stay in, make sure you mention that you would like to see yourself as part of the family, and proving yourself worthy to hold a senior role.
- Do You Have Any Questions?
Never, ever say no. This means that you are actually not interested and also comes across like you know it all. Rather have questions prepared. If they are answered during the interview, mention, I was going to ask about that, but you have covered it.
You can ask questions like:
- What would the first 30 days of my employment look like?;
- Will I be given any training or introduction into the company?;
- Who will I directly report to and what does the reporting structure look like?;
- What is the company culture like?
- What Are Your Salary Requirements?
Last but not least, let's touch on this. This is usually a highly uncomfortable question and most people do try and avoid talking about it in person. There are a few tricks to getting this question right.
Firstly, you will need to be honest about what you are currently earning. The company can call your employer to fact check this.
Secondly, make sure you have researched what peers are earning in their roles. You can then go in with a viable number. Don’t over or underprice yourself.
One of the best ways to avoid this question completely is by creating a profile on Wanted. Here, companies will initially only see a profile with salary expectations, experience and skills. If they are interested, they will request an introduction and see more about you. There will be no need for that question.