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3 September, 2020 9 min read

10 common interview questions and how to answer

So you've landed a job interview. Nice one! Wondering what questions you'll be asked? Take a peek at these 10 common interview questions and how you can prepare yourself to give fantastic answers when under pressure. If you want to check out the full interview playbook click here.

 

question 1 -tell us about yourself


This question sounds so simple, yet it can be so hard to answer properly. You can start by going over your resume to get your interviewers up to speed with your professional background, however keep it short and simple. Take advantage of this question to provide information that is not in your resume:
  • performance records
  • hobbies
  • soft skills or
  • the way each of your experiences shaped you to be the person you are now (aka the perfect candidate)

question 2 - what are your strengths?

You should identify at least 3 of your best qualities to prepare for this question. Give examples from your work experience where these qualities have allowed you to reach your goals or perform well.

Example:

I am resilient. When working at COMPANY ABC, I failed at a project for reason XYZ. I quickly recovered and learnt from my mistake, which allowed me to then reach my goals and beyond at the end of the month.

question 3 - what are your weaknesses?

Just like your strengths, you should try to identify 3 examples. Don’t fall into the classic “here is my top quality, and my weakness is that I overdo it”. Instead, show your recruiters that you are capable of introspection and self-assessment by being honest about your weaknesses. Pick some that won’t be a no-no for the job, and turn them into something positive.

Example:

I am by nature a bit disorganised but I’ve managed to overcome it by training myself to have better habits and use tools to support me in organising both my personal and professional life. I am conscious of this weakness so I have adapted to ensure this does not impact my work. 

question 4 - why do you want to work for our company?

Researching the company you are interviewing with is a key part of your preparation for the interview. You can check out this interview playbook for step by step guide to get you up to speed.  When you have done your research, this is the questions to unleash that knowledge! Show what you know and what you like about them. If you found a common ground between you and their values, now is the time to mention it too.

 

question 5 - why are you leaving your current job?

As much as you’d like to dish out on your current toxic work environment, or how you despise your current hierarchy, don’t.

Be positive in your answers. Focus on what the new role will bring to you, whether it’s new challenges, working in a different environment with a different pace, or a new industry.

question 6 - tell us about the last time your failed and how you handled it


Similar to the question about your weaknesses, be honest. Try and avoid examples from your personal life. What recruiters want to know about is your ability to rebound after a failure and to use it to better yourself. 

question 7 - where do you see yourself in 5 years?

You could rephrase this question by “do you have long-term goals and a career plan?”. The recruiter wants to know if you’re just here because you have nowhere else to go, or if you want their company to play a major role in your professional future. 

 

question 8 - what are the things you're looking for in your next role?

Consider your goals and how your next role fits in your path to achieve them. Connect your skills with the role in question, by specifying how you’ll use them and how your next role can be vital to improve them. You should make sure that your answers address the role you are applying for.  

question 9 - what are your salary expectations?

Prepare for this question by researching how much this role pays in its industry or across all industries if the information is not available. Also consider the package as a whole - superannuation, any benefits or salary packaging available. Once you have stated your terms, you can ask the interviewer if that is within the range for this role.

question 10 - do you have any questions for us?

This is a tough one, isn’t it? You should devise a list of questions for your interviewers. It will not only show that you prepared and care, but also help you determine if the role and company are right for you. 

Examples:

  • What does success look like?
  • How will I be measured?
  • What’s the biggest challenges of the role?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does a hard typical day look like?
  • How do I compare to your picture of the ideal candidate?
  • What concerns do you have about my suitability to this role?
  • Could you please describe the ideal candidate for the role? 

The last two are hard to ask, but offer you an invaluable opportunity to find out what concerns they have, and try to overcome them during the interview. They also display bravery in asking, and empathy in wanting to understand their concerns. 

Remember job interviews are a bit like dating. You want to find the right match for both parties - this is not a one way street. Check out the interview playbook for more hints on how to ace your next job interview.

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