Answering Interview Questions

There are a number of questions that you could encounter during an interview. We have compiled a list of the most common, with some advice on how to tackle them below.

Tell me about yourself.

This is usually the opening question and, as first impressions are key, one of the most important. We suggest that you follow the same structure as in your CV, giving examples of achievements and the skills you have picked up along the way. Do not go into too much detail – your interviewer will ask for you to expand on any areas where they would like more information. We advise that you also talk about your ambitions and what you are looking for.

It’s good to pick the three biggest attributes that you think will get you the job and give examples of how you have used these strengths in a work situation. They could be tangible skills, such as proficiency in a particular computer language, or intangible skills such as good man-management.

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

This question is best handled by picking something that you have made positive steps to address. For example, if your IT ability is not at the level it could be, state it as a weakness, but tell the interviewer about training courses or time spent outside work hours you have used to improve your skills. Stating ‘being a perfectionist’ as your weakness is not always the best answer. We suggest that you think about yourself and don’t give predictable answers.

We suggest that you think about where your major strengths lie. You should know what they are looking for from the job description. “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills and the ability to build long-term customer relationships” is a good opening sentence, which can then lead onto a more specific example of something you have done so far in your career.

Why should we hire you?

What are your goals?

It is best to talk about both short-term and long-term goals. Think about where you are at currently, where you would like to be and how you are going to get there. This role should clearly be another step in your career path, but be realistic about time-scales when talking about progression.

The interviewer is looking for an answer that indicates you have given this some thought. This is a good opportunity to show off your thorough research. Use the information that you have found to describe how your goals match their company’s ethos.

Why do you want to work here?

What are your salary expectations?

We advise that you know the value of someone with your skills. Try not to give any specific numbers as this could put you in a poor position when negotiating later on. Your interviewer will understand if you do not want to discuss this until you are offered the job. If they have provided a guideline salary with the job description, you could mention this and say it is around the same area you are looking for.

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