So you’re thinking about the interview questions. Your application was successful and you’ve made it to the job interview stage. Fantastic…now it’s all about knowing your prospective employer, knowing what they’re likely to ask you, and nailing the next round.
The bottom line is most interview questions asked during the hiring stage are designed to serve three purposes: to highlight your relevant skills, to find out more about you and to ascertain what you know about the organisation.
And if you think of an interview as a conversation that covers these topics you are more likely to come across as confident and prepared.
Here are the top 10 interview questions and how to handle them.
Tell me about yourself?
This is the interview question that is an opportunity to highlight skills you have acquired including education and interests you have that apply to this organisation.
Do: Talk about skills you have attained, your approach to work and indicate where you want to go in a short and sweet manner.
Don’t: Regurgitate your cover letter or get bogged down in your life story and obscure hobbies like an obsession with Pokémon Go.
Why should we hire you?
A very popular interview question. The interviewer is asking what sets you apart from others. Are you a god team player, do you learn quickly do you have a good work ethic and enthusiasm or unique applicable skills?
Do: Highlight skills you bring to the organisation including qualifications and soft skills like good communication and a team ethic, while indicating a willingness to learn.
Don’t: Be cocky. Saying you’re the “best person for the job” is unlikely to win you points.
What are your strengths?
This is a double-barrel interview question designed to discover both real and soft skills.
Do: Provide examples of your strengths. If you say you’re a good organiser, then highlight this with the example of when you took a lead organising role via work experience, at school or in the community.
Don’t: Just rattle off a list.
What are your weaknesses?
No-one likes this interview question, but it’s all about turning a negative into a positive and providing information relevant to that role.
Do: Be specific and have a few items up your sleeve. A clear weakness for young workers might be that you have no previous paid employment on your resumé. So address this with an answer like: At this stage, I have no workplace experience but I have undertaken a hospitality training course (or similar).
Don’t: Say you have none, or highlight a weakness that’s a core component of the job description.
Why do you want to work for us?
This interview question is about how well you know the company and indicates your enthusiasm for their workplace.
Do: Indicate you understand their business and note specific assets the business has. If it’s McDonald’s you might say: “This company has an outstanding record as a team environment that arms young people with real skills to serve them throughout their career”.
Don’t: Give a simplistic answer like “because your restaurant is close to my house”.
Tell me about a challenge you have overcome?
This is a great interview question for young workers as it allows you to talk about real world skills that make you a good candidate.
Do: Have a scenario in mind and talk about how you solved a problem via specific skills that would be relevant in the workplace.
Don’t: Ramble or bad mouth anyone else.
What is your greatest achievement?
Again this is the opportunity to shine by highlighting your skills and commitment.
Do: Be specific and succinct. If you reached the state finals in chess after working hard to get there, outline your commitment to the task and how you achieved your goal.
Don’t: Forget that the answer needs to highlight why you’d make a good worker.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
This question is about ambition, work ethic and commitment, with part of it answering why they should invest in you.
Do: Indicate you’d like to remain part of their business in a realistic position that may involve further responsibility.
Don’t: Make it seem you’re so ambitious this could be a fleeting arrangement or you’re simply trying to earn enough cash to backpack around Europe.
Do you have any questions?
Yes, yes you do and they’re not about pay. Questions should indicate your enthusiasm for the job.
Do: Make a list of questions before the interview. Some will be answered but at the end some will have been omitted, so use one from your list.
Don’t: Say “No, I think you’ve covered it”.
- Take a second copy of your resumé
- Take time to research the company in advance
- Know your strengths
- Understand how your strengths relate to that role
- Take your time to answer questions clearly and succinctly
- Keep eye contact
- Maintain confident, open body language
- Practise in advance
The final word
Job interviews take practice to perfect but by knowing your content, including information about the company, the questions you are likely to be asked, and by running through the scenarios prior to interview, you arm yourself with the best possible chance of nailing that interview and embarking on your career.
Do you or someone you know need a hand in applying for work and preparing yourself for employment? Get in touch with us directly or visit The Father James Grant Foundation website and read through our articles to help you.