How to answer the 5 most common interview questions
Most of us know what to expect from a job interview
Whatever role you apply for, you will usually be asked the same questions. There will be technical or competency-based questions that are specific to the role itself; but you will also be asked standard interview questions. Every interviewer will try to find out a little more about you as a person and why they should hire you.
These questions should be easy to answer because you already know they will come up, but many people still don’t prepare for them in advance. Each of the following questions will come up, in one form or another at your next interview; make sure you know how you are going to answer them.
Tell us about yourself
This is a no-brainer; the interviewer is setting you up to outline how good you are and why you are a perfect fit for their business. The mistake you will make if you are underprepared is to wander through in chronological order with too much early detail. Most interviewers only want to give a few minutes to this section of the interview, so if you spend too much time on the start of your career, you risk being cut off before you get to the relevant stuff.
Instead, choose 3-5 major roles or achievements that have brought you to this point in your career and walk through them, focusing on how they relate to this role and your personal goals. Make sure that in the 2-3 minutes you get for this question you reference major education and career achievements and make it clear what led you to apply for this role.
What do you know about us?
Employers don’t want to hire someone who will take any job; they want to hire people who want to work for them specifically. They ask this question to see how interested you are in them as a business. You can stand out here by doing more than the standard review of their website and social media; look for news articles, events or other pieces of information that the average candidate might miss. This will let them know how much you want the job.
What attracted you to the role?
This is similar to the above but it’s more about you than about the company. You need to demonstrate that this role is important to you and to your career. Avoid talking about money or about your previous role; instead focus on what you hope to get from the role. Ideally, the success you hope to get from the role will also mean success for the employer. That’s what all employers really want; an enthusiastic employee who will improve their business.
What is your biggest strength/weakness?
These questions can trip up many candidates. The temptation is to talk yourself up or give a clever answer like ‘my biggest weakness is I’m too much of a perfectionist’ or give a key function of the role as your biggest strength. The most important thing here is to be honest and to focus on business-related strengths or weaknesses. When you talk about weaknesses, make sure you can demonstrate how you overcome them.
Why should we hire you?
The best way to prepare for this is to think about what the employer is looking for. They want to hire someone who wants to work for their company, is determined to succeed and is passionate about the role. Think about what success in the role would look like and how that fits with your career goals. Use that to illustrate your answer and make the interviewer see why this is the ideal next step for you, and for them.
Originally written by cpl.ie, edited by Perysquareagency.ie