Top interview questions to be prepared for
24th Nov 2017
The interview experience can often be quite daunting, even if you have experienced quite a few. The best thing you can do for an interview is to be prepared, you don’t want awkward silences or to look unprofessional. If you are going through a recruitment agency, your recruiter should prepare you for the type of questions to expect. But, even so, it’s important to get to know the most common questions asked in an interview.
Firstly, you must understand what format the interview will take for example, competency based, or informal chat in advance of the interview. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the different styles of interviews.
To get you thinking about your interview in advance, check out some of the most common interview questions asked and how to answer them.
1. What can you tell me about yourself?
2. What is it that interested you in applying for this position?
3. What is your greatest strength?
4. What is your greatest weakness?
5. Describe a challenging work situation/project and how you overcame it?
6. Knowledge-based Questions
7. Do you have any questions?
Here is how you answer these top interview questions:
What can you tell me about yourself?
This is a question which could present candidates who ramble. Which is unfortunate, because it’s usually the first question! It is also a question which most candidate’s think, ‘I don’t need to prepare for that question’. Realistically, this is where most candidates ramble and add random unnecessary information. What are employers looking for when they ask this question? A summary of you, pick out headline things which are relevant to your career and your personality.
‘for the past 5 years I’ve worked at…
I have a range of hobbies such as …
Currently, I’m seeking …career progression… ”
What is it that interested you in applying for this position?
This is where your recruiter should have told you enough about the job and work environment to sell you the position. You’re attracted to all or a certain part of the job but to stand out, explain how this is relevant to you.
‘I really like that you use this software… it’s very relevant to my interest & experience in ..’
‘I’m very interested in learning more about…’
‘I’ve heard wonderful things about work at ….’
‘I’ve hit the ceiling in my current job, I love the opportunities for career progression you offer as I'm a very ambitious person’.
What is your greatest strength/(s)?
It’s important to mention the attributes which suit the job in question and set you apart from the other candidates. Firstly, listen to the question accurately, have they asked for more than one strength? It’s not an opportunity to reiterate an endless list of all the strengths you can think off.
Ensure you’ve arrived prepared, what you think is the most sought-after strength for this particular job. What strength can help you complete your job to the best possible ability? Obviously ensure it’s truthful, anything you say in your interview could be remembered if you successfully land the job.
Hard-working, creative, diligent are all great qualities but why are they suited to this job. Even sweeten the deal, if the interviewee asks for only one strength, you could say ‘While I have a range of strengths, I believe my greatest strength relevant to this role is… Because …’
For extra brownie points, you could use an example of when this strength was useful in prior roles.
Remember the key to answering interview questions is to relate your answer to the job and why you're right for the job
What is your greatest weakness?
Although, end any weaknesses with how you’re turning it into a strength or how you are seeking to improve these skills. Leave the interviewer with an optimistic thought. Employers like to see you’re self-aware and want to self-improve. If you can’t think of a weakness, it may make the interviewer think you’re not very self-aware which means you may show traits like selfishness and the inability to remove to separate yourself from your environment.
Describe a challenging work situation/project and how you overcame it
This is a question blatantly asking for an example. Be prepared for an example on how you were faced with a stressful situation, how you remained calm and came to a solution. A simple STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) would be appropriate to provide a structured answer which is thorough.
S: A client was demanding things which were beyond their budget.
T: I had to find a resolution which was affordable why meeting the client's needs
A: I created a bespoke option which meant they received only part of X which meant we removed things such as Y to meet the budget requirements.
R: The client was very satisfied with the service and price, thus continued to be a long-term business client for the business.
Knowledge-based Questions: Have you ever used___ system before? Can you use examples of when you used __?, How familiar are you with _ system?.
These are frequent questions for anyone applying for a technical role. So, ensure you have topped up your knowledge of any common technical tools or systems which are relevant to this role. It’s important to review any tools you have mentioned on your CV, don’t forget the name of it in the interview.
If an interviewer asks if you’re familiar with a tool which you’ve never heard of before, don’t be alarmed. This could be general curiosity if it was not mentioned in the job description as an essential skill. This is a perfect time to be honest, don’t get caught out lying and having to back trek.
Final Question | Do You Have Any Questions?
Have questions pre-thought out. It makes you look interested and aware of what the interview has entailed. Try to make the questions relevant to your role if you were to get the job
Enquire about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job.
What time scale do people usually experience career progression either be a promotion or additional benefits?
Who do you consider your top competitors and why?
Obviously, there are more interview questions than just the ones mentioned in this blog. It is important to be prepared, research the company and question which would most likely be asked for your job role, and geek up on your technical knowledge! If you are currently job searching please see all our other vacancies or register.