For the majority of us, interviews are a head scratching, nerve wracking, sweat inducing experience. To help calm the nerves and boost your confidence going into an interview, it’s important to be well prepared. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked interview questions. Conquer these and all you’ll have left to worry about is your handshake.
Tell us about yourself
The softest ball of them all. Introduce yourself briefly, mentioning your previous experience, major responsibilities, favoured work style and future ambitions. It’s good to inject a bit of personality here as your interviewer is trying to get a sense of who you are beyond your application. Just don’t ramble on for too long! Nobody really needs to hear about your 3 cats, adorable as they may be.
Why do you want this job?
This question is a great opportunity to show off how much research you’ve done on the company. Tell your interviewer exactly why you would be a good fit for the role. Are you aligned with the mission and values? Do you believe in the product? Are you impressed by their culture? Are there previous projects that the company worked on that you really related to?
What are your strengths?
Pick 2/3 core strengths that you feel best represent your ability to do the role. From studying the job spec you’ll have a good idea of what they’re looking for here. However, don’t be afraid to offer them something they’re not actively looking for too. Dee Murphy, Expert in Residence at Jobbio says candidates who can come in and actively identify a company’s weak spot are a hiring manager’s dream.
What are your weaknesses?
The whole premise of an interview is to sell yourself, so when it comes to talking about our weaknesses, we can be pretty, well, weak. The best course of action is to pick something you genuinely struggle with but speak about how you’re making efforts to improve in this area. For example if tech is your downfall, you could mention your willingness to improve your skills by taking an online course.
Whatever you do, avoid the humble brags and blatant lies such as “I’m a perfectionist who works too hard and doesn’t take enough breaks.” As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Why should we hire you over other candidates?
What is unique about you as a candidate? What combination of strengths and skills do you have that make you different? Speak about how you made changes in your previous role and the impact that had on your team, department or the business as a whole.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
Winning the bake-off doesn’t count. Choose a moment in your career that you can talk about with genuine pride and excitement, passion is an admirable trait. For David Barker, Director of Talent at Riot Games it’s the most important quality in a potential hire. “We want to learn and absorb what makes people so inspired that they dedicate hundreds of hours of their lives to doing what they’re doing.”
Describe a time you where you excelled at work
Are you a true team player? Do you go above and beyond for the business? Got an aptitude for working in a fast-paced and demanding environment? Prove it.
What’s your ultimate career goal?
This can be a tricky one. Your ultimate career goal may be to own a business in direct competition or to make enough money to emigrate to a beach heavy, clothes light environment. The safest option here is to pick one short term and one long term goal and relate them back to the job you’re applying for.
What’s your salary expectation?
The dreaded question! Shoot too high you risk taking yourself out of contention, too low you undervalue yourself. Do your research on the going rate for such a position but don’t reveal your bottom line as this can leave you in a weaker position for negotiating down the line. Tell the interviewer that you’re open to discussion but would rather wait until a job offer is on the table to get granular.
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