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Six common interview questions to prepare for
Going into a job interview unprepared is never a good idea. While there are many ways you can get yourself ready for an interview, nothing beats practicing your answers to some of the most common interview questions. The following are almost guaranteed questions in most job interviews, so spend some time thinking how you would give your answers.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
This is a pretty open question, but it’s very likely to show up at the start of your interview. Stick to your career history, your interests and skills and work these personal strengths into your aptitude for the job in question. Try not to ramble too much with this one – it's very broad, but keeping the answer relatively short and succinct is more professional than giving them your life story.
2. Tell us why you wish to work for us
This question will almost always come up and, of course, the answer varies according to the position you are interviewing for. Demonstrate that you have researched the company and its values prior to the interview – this is always impressive to prospective employers who care deeply about their company and whom they hire to work there. Draw on parallels between the company vision and your values, as well as the job prerequisites and how you meet them.
3. What would you say are your strengths?
This question is a wonderful excuse to sell yourself in a job interview. Are you tidy, detail-oriented and efficient? Tell them this – tying this into the job description and how your strengths will be beneficial to the company. Try to make this question as honest and unique as possible – it’s your chance to really show off why you are right for the role.
Instead of using the word 'weakness', change it up to 'area for improvement' and broaden your weaknesses to a bigger context. So instead of saying you are often tardy, flesh this out to, “I am working on improving my time-management skills”.
4. What would you say are your weaknesses?
This is a tricky one and also very common. It's a company's way of gauging how you can articulate your weaknesses or spin them to your advantage. Avoid weaknesses that you can manage, such as, “I am always late” or “I am distracted easily”. Statements like these are virtually impossible to spin in any positive way. Instead of using the word 'weakness', change it up to 'area for improvement' and broaden your weaknesses to a bigger context. So instead of saying you are often tardy, flesh this out to, “I am working on improving my time-management skills”.
5. What achievements are you the most proud of?
Go for gold with this one – just don't be too long-winded or vague. Prepare concise and yet detailed examples of achievements in your previous roles (or even within volunteering positions) to have at the ready and don’t be overly modest when sharing them. While you don’t want to come off as brash, confidence in a job well done is nothing to hide when in a job interview.
6. Why are you leaving your current job?
Be careful with how you answer this question. It can very easily appear that you are leaving because you are jaded or bitter with your current company. Even if this is the case, be sure to prepare an objective response. Interviewers appreciate applicants who discuss wanting to be challenged, so stating that you are looking for more of a challenge or career growth opportunities is often a green light for interviewers.
Looking for more advice? Get further job interview tips for more preparation guidance.
- Make sure that you are prepared in advance
- Show that you have researched the company you are interviewing with
- Help you to positively 'spin' certain questions to your advantage