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10 preparation questions that will help you gain advantage in an interview

Updated on June 8, 2013
Feel prepared at your interview with these tips!
Feel prepared at your interview with these tips!

Make sure to prepare before your next interview for you to gain maximum benefit. It will make you feel more confident and it will be less likely for you to be caught out on any questions. I have listed 10 interview questions that every jobseeker should expect that are most commonly asked at interviews.

You will also be more likely to succeed if you read up on the company that you will be meeting. They will want to know why you are interested with working with them and it gives you an opportunity to connect your experience to the speciality of the interviewer.

It will be useful to practice the below questions to yourself; write down your answer and practice in front of a mirror, a friend or record yourself (this will also help you notice any unwanted body language or 'ummm' sounds when speaking).

  • tell me about yourself - this is a question that is usually asked at the start of an interview. Give a brief summary of your current role and hint at topics of your career that the interviewer might want to ask about in greater detail.
  • why do you want to leave your current employer? - do not be negative in answering this question. Explain why you are looking for a new challenge, more responsibility etc.
  • why do you want to work for our company? - show that you have done your research.
  • what is your biggest achievement? - explain a work related scenario where you achieved a quantifiable result and made a big difference to your firm. Proceed to talk about the skills you had to use and the end result.
  • what is the most difficult situation you have encountered? - here, the interviewer will want to find out what your definition of a difficult situation is and if you can problem solve. Choose a situation which was out of your control and explain the task, what your options were, why you selected the one you did and how you improved the situation.
  • what are your strengths? - list a few strengths and try to look at the job description and relate your strengths to the ones expected from the prospective role.
  • what are your weaknesses? - list a weakness which is not significant and is not vital for the job. Always end on a positive note.
  • how would your boss describe you? - the interviewer wants to see how you work with other people and your perception of your own skills in the eyes of others. This is also an opportunity to highlight the value that you bring to colleagues in senior positions.
  • where do you see yourself in five years? - show that you are enthusiastic and that the prospective role would offer a challenge and talk about your career interests.
  • what do you dislike about your current job? - this is a question where the interviewer is trying to see if there is any resentment or negativity towards your current employer. You do not have to be too specific. One option is to relate the answer to an internal process within the company such as slow decision-making. Keep it neutral.
  • why should I hire you? - here is your chance to shine! Relate your current skills and experience to the job on offer. Think of the value that you can bring to the company.

You should also prepare five or ten questions which you would like to ask your interviewer. Some good ones are: what do you enjoy about working here? what challenges do you see for this role? does your company promote a supportive environment?

Points to remember on the day

  • bring a copy of your cv; a map; telephone numbers
  • arrive 15 minutes before your interview
  • body language: firm handshake; smile; keep eye contact; listen and nod occasionally when spoken to

Good luck at your next interview!

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