One of the most important parts of interview preparation is planning your answers to the most common interview questions. Nobody (apart from the interviewer) can say for sure which ones will come up in your interview, but chances are at least a handful of the below questions will make an appearance!
Join us today as we walk you through how to answer the most asked interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want this job?
- What skills do you need to be successful in this role?
- When have you overcome a difficult situation in the workplace?
- What’s your weakest area?
- Why did you leave your last role?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What are your career aims?
- What sets you apart from other candidates?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Best interview questions to prepare for
1. Tell me about yourself
Most interviews start out with this classic question which gives you free reign to tell the interviewer the ‘best bits’ about you. Start by touching on your personal interests, family life and hobbies, before moving it over to an overview of your most relevant professional skills and experiences.
2. Why do you want this job?
Avoid talking about anything tedious like the location, perks or salary here. Focus your answer on the parts of the role that excite you most, including what you like about this specific company. This shows the interviewer you’re genuinely interested in the role and in working for them specifically.
3. What skills do you need to be successful in this role?
The great thing about this question is that the answer is already laid out in the job description. Highlight the key skills from the job description and go one step further by providing examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills at work.
4. When have you overcome a difficult situation in the workplace?
Every job has its problems. The most important thing employers want to know is that you have the initiative and skills to work through them. Think of any problem you encountered at work, whether it be tackling a heavy workload, or dealing with unhappy customers, and explain how you overcame the problem and the end result.
5. What’s your weakest area?
Everybody has weaknesses and it’s vital you’re able to recognise your own. Perhaps you struggle with organisation or time-keeping. The most important thing is explaining how you correct your weaknesses through the use of checklists or planners, for example. This shows the hiring manager you’ve got a good level of self-awareness and aren’t afraid to admit your flaws.
6. Why did you leave your last role?
No matter how much you didn’t like your last employer, don’t use this question as an opportunity to badmouth them. Instead, focus your answer on more practical/professional reasons for leaving, such as wanting a new challenge or wanting to work for a more established company.
7. What are your career aims?
Hiring managers want to know you see this role as a long-term career opportunity. That doesn’t mean telling them you want to be promoted in 6 months time. It means explaining that you’re looking for a long-term career opportunity that offers opportunities to progress further down the line.
8. What are your salary expectations?
Salary questions can be tricky to manoeuvre. Avoid stating a specific figure. Instead, summarise your experience and the value you can bring, and that you’d expect to sit in the upper/lower part of the salary bracket based on your experience.
9. What sets you apart from other candidates?
There could very well be other candidates who are more skilled or experienced than you. But that doesn’t mean you won’t end up being the chosen candidate. Use this question as an opportunity to point out your strengths, particularly around mindset and your ability to learn new skills. Sometimes passion and a willingness to learn is more powerful than having the skill itself!
10. Do you have any questions for me?
This is a trick question and your answer should always be ‘YES!’. Make sure you prepare questions to ask the hiring manager at the end of the interview. It shows employers you’ve researched the opportunity and are serious about it. Avoid asking questions about break times and holidays. Instead, ask about the role, the training, and even what the hiring manager enjoys about working there.
The prep doesn’t stop there
Preparing answers to questions is half the battle. Now that you’ve nailed down your interview answers, don’t go in empty-handed. Learn about what to take to the interview to make sure you put your best foot forward.