How to answer the top 25 interview questions

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1 How to answer the top 25 interview questions 1. Tell me about yourself. This open question is often the first question an interviewer will ask because they think it will relax you. Use the profile in your CV to help you prepare and answer. Be concise, articulate and enthusiastic Briefly mention education if relevant to job Focus on your recent career experience and how it qualifies you for the job in question (or matches career objectives) Use industry jargon Rehearse your answer 2. Why did you apply for this job? Think along the lines of what you can offer the employer as well as how the job will benefit you. A good example is career development, where you would emphasise your desire to succeed and have ambition. 3. What did you do in your last job? Give an account of what your last job involved with particular emphasis on: Daily duties, relevant to the job you are applying for The skills you used in your job Any responsibilities you had Type of people you dealt with Career progress if you were promoted 4. Why did you decide to leave your current/last job? This question may seem more frightening than it actually is, so try not to overreact or get defensive. If possible avoid saying you were sacked, dismissed, had an argument, etc. Reasons for leaving may include: It was only temporary/part-time/seasonal/end of contract The company closed down The job was made redundant You decided on a career change 5. What have you been doing since your last job?? If you have a gap in your CV, the interviewer will probably ask you what you have been doing while you were out of work. The best way to answer this question is to be honest, but do have an answer prepared. You will want to let the interviewer know that you were busy and active, regardless of whether you were out of work by choice, or otherwise. I worked on several freelance projects, while actively job seeking. My aging parents needed a temporary caregiver and I spent time looking after them. I spent time being a stay-at-home mom and volunteering at my daughter's school. I took some continuing education classes and seminars. 6. Why do you think you re the right person for the job? Be ready to answer this question quickly. If you hesitate, the interview may be uncertain as to your ability to do the job. Briefly say your positive characteristics, 1

2 making sure that you can back up al that you say with some specific examples which relate to the skills needed for the job itself. Your qualifications Previous experience Interests and hobbies which show you are efficient, hard-working reliable dependable and able to work as part of a team. 7. Have you done this job before? Where possible always answer YES. Then go on to describe your transferable skills. If you don t have much experience in the job you are going for, emphasise your enthusiasm and ability to learn quickly. Mention. Related previous experience Qualifications / training you have had Relevant interests and hobbies Appropriate personal characteristics Willing to accept a challenge and learn new skills 8. What do you like or dislike about your previous job? When you're asked what don't like about your previous job, don't be too negative. The reason is that you don't want the interviewer to think that you'll speak negatively about the new job or the company when you're ready to move on, if you get this job. Rather, it makes sense to talk about yourself and what you're looking for in a new role. I enjoyed the people I worked with. It was a friendly atmosphere and I actually enjoyed going into work each morning. The managers knew all of their employees on a first name basis and tried to make those personal connections. One of the reasons I am leaving is that I felt I was not challenged enough at the job. 9. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths? Here is an opportunity to list your positive abilities to do the job. Give examples of how you used these in a work situation. Don t undersell your strengths just because you re afraid of coming across as boastful. Describe the skills and experience that directly relate to the job (technical, soft and personal skills) Tailor your strengths to the job and highlight why they qualify you as the right candidate for the job opportunity Mention a time when you used skills to boost sales for example 10. How would you describe the speed at which you work? When you're asked to describe the pace at which you work, be careful how you respond. Faster isn't necessarily better. Most employers would rather hire employees who work at a steady pace, but someone who is too slow to get the job done in a reasonable time frame isn't going to be hired. I work at a steady pace, but usually complete work in advance of the deadline. I am able to manage projects and get them done on, or ahead, of schedule. 2

3 11. What are your weaknesses? The interviewer wants to make sure you are aware of the areas in which you need to improve. Try to think of three weaknesses, particularly stressing what you have learned from them. Show that you can cope with the weakness without it affecting your ability to do the job. Describe how lessons you have learned will make it less likely to make the mistake again Mention a corrected weakness Mention a skill that you would like to improve on and say how you are doing this Refer to a weakness that is not important to the job you re going for Avoid pat answers like I m a perfectionist or My problem is I work too hard. 12. How do you handle pressure? This question is asked to get a sense of how you handle on-the-job stress, is "How do you handle pressure?" Examples of good responses include: I actually work better under pressure and I've found that I enjoy working in a challenging environment. From a personal perspective, I manage stress by visiting the gym every evening. It's a great stress reducer. Prioritising my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job. 13. Do you consider yourself to be a team player? Of course you do. Be prepared, though, to provide examples of when you worked as part of a team, what your role on the team was and how well the team worked together to achieve targets. 14. What motivates you? There isn't a right or wrong answer to interview questions about what motivates you. The interviewer is trying to understand the key to your being successful in the job he is interviewing for, and wants to make sure it's a good fit. Your response will vary based on your background and experiences, but, you will Try to share your enthusiasm about what you like(d) best about your job. Here are some examples: I've always been motivated by the desire to do a good job at whatever position I'm in. I want to excel and to be successful in my job, both for my own personal satisfaction and for my employer. I have always wanted to ensure that my company's clients get the best customer service I can provide. 15. What was your last employer s opinion or you? Interviewers are usually looking for some indication of how well you would get on with the supervisor in this job. Always give a positive answer. Do not criticise previous employers. Ideally offer a letter of recommendation or reference from your previous employer. You could highlight the fact that You were always found to be efficient You were always reliable, punctual etc. You got on equally well with co-workers and supervisors 3

4 16. Where do you see yourself in five years? You don t need to have a clearly thought out, detailed answer to this question not in today s business environment. The safest answer is one that represents a logical future step in your career path if you re hired for this particular position. Do not say I see myself in your chair!! 17. What can you contribute to this company? The important thing here is to be able to demonstrate what you say. For example, if you want to say that you would be committed to the company for a certain number of years, prove it by pointing out your loyalty to previous companies you have worked for in the past. 18. What salary are you expecting? Normally you will be told the salary however, sometimes, the salary will be negotiable. A sound strategy to take when answering this question is to establish your basic salary needs, emphasising, however, that you would hope to be paid the market value for your work. If possible find out what people doing the same job are paid. If necessary find out after the interview what wages other people doing the same job receive. Then if offered the job, you have a good idea of possible salary so are in a better position to negotiate. 19. What do you know about our company? The interviewers want to find out if you have taken the time to research their company. Do your investigative homework before the interview! Take a look at the Internet for information or at the library researching the company. Research as much information as possible including products, history, size, financial status, reputation, image, management talent, people, and philosophy. You will want to be excited about the company and project that to the interviewer. Go beyond everyone else and find out about their competitors too. 20. Why do you want to work here? Interviewers want to see what attracted you to work for them in the first place. It gives you the opportunity to mention anything you have learnt about the company. Things you could say are The good reputation the company has as an employer Its position as a leading company in its field The opportunity the company offers for professional development That it is doing work in which you have a keen interest That the job appears ideally suited to your skills and personal qualities 21. When are you available for work? Don t hesitate to answer. As soon as possible. Whenever required to start. 22. What are you passionate about? When you're asked what you're passionate about during a job interview it's a good opportunity to share what is important in your life. It's also an opportunity to show your dedication and what's important to you. Your response doesn't need to be work focused, but do be sure that what you share isn't something that could potential cut in to your working hours. One of my greatest passions is helping others. When I was younger, I've enjoyed helping mom with household repairs. As I grew older, that habit grew and I desired to help others as well. I like helping people find solutions that meet their specific needs. 4

5 I'm passionate about painting. I take an evening art class once a week and try to find time each weekend to paint. I'm passionate about making a difference. When I'm involved with a project at work I want to do my best to achieve success. I feel the same way about what I do in my personal life. 23. What has been your greatest achievement? This question is a great chance for you sell yourself. Talk about past accomplishments that are relevant to the specific job for which you are applying. Sales targets that you exceeded Awards you received Projects that you managed 24. When was the last time you were angry? What happened? When the interviewer asks "When Was The Last Time You Were Angry? What Happened?" he or she wants to know if you lose control. The real meaning of the word "angry", to an interviewer, is loss of control and it's important to know how you handle situations when you're angry. Anger to me means loss of control. I do not lose control. When I get stressed, I step back, take a deep breath, thoughtfully think through the situation and then begin to formulate a plan of action. 25. Do you have any questions? Do not enquire about specific details such as hours, social facilities, etc. You can always deal with these matters later. Ask about something that highlights your strengths. Make sure your questions are of interest to the organisation. Leave the organisation with the impressions that you are keen to work hard. Will I need any special training or attend courses? If I do well, where can it lead? Has the company any plans to expand in the near future? Is there any possibility of this becoming a full-time position? Will there be opportunities for overtime? Can I be moved around different branches? 5

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