How To Answer Common Interview Questions With Ease
As you prepare for your interview, you might be considering questions the employer or hiring manager would ask you.
You don’t need to memorise your answers, but you should think about what you are going to say as your responses would determine your suitability for the position.
Remember, preparation is the key to interview success. Use the Interview Checklist listed below to identify and document your match.
Tell Me About Yourself?
This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it is crucial. What the interviewer wants to know is why you are an excellent fit for the job. Try to answer questions about yourself without giving too much, or too little on personal information.
You can start by sharing some of your personal interests and experiences that don’t relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education and what motivates you. You can even share some fun facts and showcase your personality to make the interview a little more interesting.
Why Do You Want To Work Here Or Want This Job?
Here, the hiring manager is listening for an answer that indicates you have given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening.
For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”
Why Should We Hire You?
This interview question seems forward, but if you are asked it, you are in luck. There is no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager/employer than to ensure you do justice to the question.
Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things, that you can not only do the work, but you can also deliver great results; and that you will really fit in with the team, culture; and that you will be a better hire than any of the other candidates.
Ensure you summarize your experiences, for example, “With five years’ experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”
What Are Your Professional Strengths?
This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it is important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear.
Choose your strengths that are most targeted to this particular position for example, instead of “people skills,” choose “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”. Then, follow up with an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question beyond identifying any major red flags is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. Therefore, handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths.
Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: “I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very helpful.”
Why Did You Leave (Or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job?
The interviewer wants to know why you want to work for their company. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn’t under the best circumstances.
Ensure you state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20% reduction in the workforce, which included me.”
If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”
How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure?
What the hiring managers want to know is how you handle situations when things don’t go smoothly at work? How you handle unforeseen pressure? and how you grasp workplace stress. However, avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress.
Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you have overcome it in the time past, or even used it to your advantage.
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
The hiring manager wants to know what you expect to earn on a monthly basis. It seems like a simple question, but your answer can knock you out of competition for the job if you overprice yourself and if you underprice yourself, you may get shortchanged with a lower offer.
Therefore, prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: “I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?”
What are your goals for the future?
This question is designed to find out if you are going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.
Your goal, however, is to make a significant impact on the company. Think about how you can achieve this in the role you are interviewing for. In technology careers, advancing your skills is important, too. You should be able to share what areas you want to strengthen in the near term (but be careful that they are not areas of expertise that the company needs now).
Do you have any questions for us?
Your questions here can either leave a strong, lasting impression on the interviewer or make you look like a clueless individual. However, we suggest you don’t ask about salary, benefits, time off, or anything that isn’t related to the work. Wait for them to bring it up, or until you know they want to offer you the position.
But be ready to ask questions to every single person you meet with, ask about the company, the team, and most importantly the specific job you are applying for. Also, ask about things you heard during the interview that you will like more information about
Ask about the interview process: (e.g. “when will I hear feedback, and who will be in touch after this?”) Because the questions you ask at the end of the interview will suggest 12 winning power, and explain how each can help you gather important information about the job.
Tips On How To Prepare For Interview
Here is an organogram of how a job seeker is expected to prepare for his/her next job interview. The image gives the process involved in preparing for an interview, arriving for an interview and facing the interview.
Tips On How To Use STAR Method To Answer Job Interview Questions
STAR technique is a way to structure your answer most especially in a job interview. It is recommended for use by most organizations including Government, Civil Service, banks and the NHS. S.T.A.R. simply stands for Situation + Task + Action + Result.
STAR methodical techniques help the employer to compare all the people who are applying for the job in a methodical and structured way.
However, by using this step-by-step method you will be able to answer each question in a systematic manner, without forgetting the important stuff. Here we take a look at every stage of the STAR interview method.
This is about setting the scene, giving a context and background to the situation. So if you’re asked a question about time management, your reply would need to include the details of the project you were working on, who you were working with, when it happened and where you were.
You can start by describing the SITUATION you were involved in. You can use an example from your current or previous job, education, personal experience or any relevant event. Always choose the most appropriate and business orientated example you have and one that best fits the role for which you are being interviewed.
Ensure you choose an example that demonstrates the significance of your experience, the most difficult, complex, largest and successful problem, situation or task that you resolved. Give enough detail for the interviewer to understand what was involved but no more than one or two sentences.
This is more specific to your exact role in the situation. You need to make sure that the interviewer knows what you were tasked with, rather than the rest of the team. Here you are expected to briefly describe what you were tasked with, your responsibilities and assignments for the situation. Once again a sentence or two is sufficient.
This is the most important part of the STAR technique because it allows you to highlight what your response was. Remember, you need to talk about what you specifically did, so using ‘I’ rather than team actions otherwise, you won’t be showing off the necessary skills the employer is looking for.
Be sure to share a lot of detail, the interviewer will not be familiar with your history, although remember to avoid any acronyms and institutional language.
What you are trying to get across here is how you assessed and decided what was the appropriate response to the situation, and how you got the other team members involved – which in turn is a great way to demonstrate your communication skills.
For example, if you are asked about dealing with a difficult personality on your team you would talk about how you decided to take a certain course of action to avoid making the situation worse or upsetting the individual.
You may feel as if you are being overly descriptive but this is necessary in order to demonstrate that you have the experience of the action you are describing; do not assume that the interviewer will guess or infer what you did merely from your describing the context.
The result should be a positive one, and ideally one that can be quantified. Examples include repeat business, an increase in sales by 15% or saving the team 5 hours a week. The interviewer will also want to know what you learned from that situation, and if there was anything you’d do differently the next time you were faced with that situation.
The STAR technique enables you to showcase your relevant experience with the interviewer in a methodical manner. We recommend doing some in-depth preparation before the interview so that you can have some great examples to quote.
We love hearing about how your experience is relevant to a career at Enterprise, whether you are looking for work experience, an apprenticeship or a graduate management role. Take a look at the job opportunities we have available and get in touch soon.