Typical interview questions – 10 to plan your answers to

The interview process is a key aspect of a job search as it allows the interviewer to gain a better insight into the capabilities and personal characteristics of their shortlisted candidates. Although the process can vary between jobs, employers will often have a list of typical interview questions that they use to structure this initial meeting around.

As this is ultimately the stage where employers determine who will get to the next round or be offered the role, thorough preparation should always include practising well-thought responses to typical interview questions. Knowing your CV inside out and having examples to expand on is key; you should already know the answers to questions about your personal work experience and working history, but you may not always be able to come up with comprehensive responses to questions you are asked on the spot.

With over 40 years’ experience interviewing prospective candidates for roles across over 25 disciplines, we have a deep understanding and insight into typical interview questions that are asked at each stage of the recruitment process. We can advise on the types of questions you are most likely to be asked during an interview for jobs within various industry sectors and even specific organisations. While there is no guarantee on the exact questions you will be asked, having prepared answers to common questions will enable you to construct more elaborate responses to any similar questions you may face.

Here are 10 typically asked interview questions to prepare for, rehearse with these classics to be sure you really impress at your next job interview.

1. What can you tell me about yourself?
Your CV provides the details of your skills and experience, so highlight any key abilities or past successes which are relevant to the role you are applying for. Talk briefly about your achievements to date and be sure to provide an overview of yourself as a person, the hopes you have for the position and how it ties in with your overall career goals.

2. Why do you want to work for us?
Carry out a little research and you’ll be able to talk compellingly about the business and how you can positively impact on it. Align your values and goals with that of the organisation and discuss how your past experiences and current skills make you a great fit. If an aspect of the position or project particularly appeals to you then be sure to highlight it and what you hope to achieve within the role.

3. Can you give an example of where you’ve been able to use your leadership skills?
Even if you’re not in a management role, you must cite an example where you took the reins. Whether you organised a group to achieve a deadline on a project or stepped up when your manager was away, the ability to lead is an attractive trait to most employers, particularly when considering the long-term career progression of their staff.

4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Talk about your strengths that directly link back to the selection criteria to highlight your fit for the role. Allude to weaknesses irrelevant to the position or those which you are able to put a positive spin on.

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Research the company structure to pitch your aspirations more realistically than ‘I want to be on the board by then’. If there is a particular position you hope to move into, explain why and how you envision your career progressing long-term.

6. What is your greatest achievement?
Use the selection criteria to identify which of your achievements required you to utilise skills the interviewer is interested in.

7. Why should we hire you?
Describe the skills and experience you’ve gained that best qualify you to fulfil the duties listed in the job description. Any unique projects you have worked on or companies that have led to experiences you will be able to apply in the role are highly beneficial. Similarly, any additional skills that fall outside the described requirements which would enable you to perform in the role better than someone who does not possess these abilities should be discussed.

8. Are you a team player?
Almost every role requires some level of teamwork, so it’s important to highlight your ability to work with others and provide an example of how you have done so to a positive effect in the past. However, it’s also good to touch on the fact that you are also very capable of working by yourself when required.

9. What are your salary expectations?
It’s important to have a salary range in mind that is reasonable and fair but also satisfies your financial obligations and lifestyle.

10. Do you have any questions for us?
You should always be prepared with questions to ask in an interview. Use this opportunity to build rapport with the interviewer. Asking questions gives you the opportunity to learn more about the position and organisation to determine whether you will be able to work happily and successfully in the role.


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