Interview Tips

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100 POPULAR QUESTIONS

These are the most popular questions asked by interviewers apart from the appropriate technical questions about your specific skills and experience.

As an exercise it is well worth writing out answers for each questions rather than just thinking them through. There is a real difference between knowing what you want to say and being able to deliver a satisfactory answer despite the anxiety of the interview.

Obviously, it cannot be guaranteed that you will be asked any of these questions. However if you practise, you can go to the interview with the confidence that whatever you are asked you will be able to respond positively.

100 Questions

  1. Why do you want this job?
  2. Tell me about yourself?
  3. Why should we hire you?
  4. What is your major achievement?
  5. What do you consider yourself good at doing?
  6. What sort of person are you?
  7. What are your strengths?
  8. What are your weaknesses?
  9. What do you know about our organisation?
  10. How would you approach this job?
  11. How do you get things done?
  12. How do you manage your staff?
  13. What do you look for in a Manager?
  14. What do you look for in a subordinate?
  15. How do you decide on your objectives?
  16. How do you manage your day?
  17. What interests you most in your work?
  18. What have you read recently that has taken your interest?
  19. What sort of things do you like to delegate?
  20. What do you do in your spare time?
  21. In what environment do you work best?
  22. How did you change the job?
  23. What motivates you?
  24. If you could change your current job in anyway how would you do it?
  25. If you could change your organisation in any way how would you do it?
  26. How have you changed over the last five years?
  27. Where do you see yourself going in the next five years?
  28. Describe a time when you felt you were doing well?
  29. Describe a time when you felt that things were not going too well?
  30. How do you work in a team?
  31. What contribution do you make to a team?
  32. What would your colleagues say about you?
  33. Tell me about a time when you successfully managed…
  34. When were you most happy at work?
  35. Describe a difficult situation & what you did about it?
  36. Who are you working best with now? Why?
  37. Who are you finding it difficult to work with? Why?
  38. Describe how you typically approach a project?
  39. Given a choice in your work what do you like to do first?
  40. On holiday, what do you miss most about your work?
  41. Given a choice, what would you leave till last in work?
  42. What do you think you can bring to this position?
  43. What do you think you can bring to this company?
  44. How do you see this job developing?
  45. You seem not to have too much experience in… XXX?
  46. We prefer older/younger candidates?
  47. You seem over/under qualified?
  48. Why did you leave xyz?
  49. Why are you dissatisfied with your present job?
  50. Why are you considering leaving your present job?
  51. Why have you stayed so long/for such a short while with your present company?
  52. Why were you out of work so long?
  53. Why were you made redundant/let go/fired?
  54. If we asked for a reference what would it say about you?
  55. What sort of salary are you expecting?
  56. What do you think is your market value?
  57. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest how important is your work to you? Why not 10?
  58. How did you get your last job?
  59. Why were you transferred/promoted?
  60. Do you like to work in a team or on your own?
  61. What do you like best about your present job?
  62. What do you like best about your organisation?
  63. What did you learn in that job?
  64. What did you learn form the xyz organisations approach?
  65. How did that job influence you career?
  66. If you did not have to work what would you do?
  67. Given the achievements in your CV why is your salary so low?
  68. What will you do if you don’t get this job?
  69. What other job(s) have you applied for recently?
  70. How could your boss improve his/her management of you?
  71. What decisions do you find easy to make?
  72. What decisions do you find difficult to make?
  73. How does this job fit into your career plan?
  74. From your CV it would seem that you move every so many years. Why is this?
  75. When do you plan to retire?
  76. What will you do in your retirement?
  77. What training courses have you been on?
  78. What training have you had for this job?
  79. On what do you spend your disposable income?
  80. On taking this job what would be your major contribution?
  81. How do you get the best out of people?
  82. Which of your jobs have given you the greatest satisfaction?
  83. How do you respond under stress? Can you provide a recent example?
  84. This job has a large component of travel/sales/negotiation/stress. How will you cope with that?
  85. What support/training will you need to do this job?
  86. What will you look forward to most in this job?
  87. What sort of person are you socially?
  88. In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing this company/industry/sector?
  89. How did you get into this line of work?
  90. What other irons do you have in the fire for your next job?
  91. What will be your key target in this job if we appoint you?
  92. What aspects of this job would you delegate?
  93. What makes you think you can be successful with us?
  94. What are the major influences that encourage you to take a job?
  95. How does the job sound to you?
  96. What questions have you for us?
  97. Have you been coached in interviewing skills?
  98. How does the job sound to you?
  99. What questions have you for us?
  100. Have you been coached in interviewing skills?

Guide to Successful Interviews

There is nothing quite like the pursuit of your “dream job”. To win it, you’ve got to excel at presenting your marketable skills and experience to potential employers.
If you find interviews intimidating and nerve-wracking, you are not alone, but like it or not, job interviews are the primary method by which both employers and candidates judge each other.

Prepare like a professional

As with most things in life, good preparation is an essential part of a successful interview.

  • Ensure that you know exactly where the interview will take place and at what time.
  • Take a copy of directions, address and times with you in case you need reassurance.
  • Confirm the name and pronunciation of the person who is interviewing you.
  • Take the phone number of the company concerned so you can advise them should you be delayed.
  • Allocate plenty of time for your journey.
  • Find out the length of the interview and make other appointments around this.
  • Re-appraise yourself with your CV and ensure you can talk confidently about your previous employment.

Research

  • It is amazing how often people attend interviews knowing nothing or very little about the company and its products or services. Use the internet as a starting point for your research. Find out as much as you can about the cFompany, its history, current situation and its future.
  • Your recruitment advisor at Jiyu Consulting will always try to provide you with as much relevant information about the company concerned.

The Role

  • It is vital you have reviewed the role profile in detail and you have become familiar of the roles and responsibilities you will be expected to demonstrate during the interview.
  • You should be matching your specific work experiences to the role requirements in order to provide the most relevant and concise answers possible.
  • Remember you are trying to match only relevant skills to the role and not to provide examples that are not relevant to the role.
  • In a nutshell, if you are knowledgeable about the company, its location, the role, know your CV inside out, are perfectly dressed, then you will feel more confident in the interview.

Appearance and Etiquette

  • Be sensible about how you dress. Even if the office is filled with people wearing jeans and trainers, your interviewer will expect you to dress up.
  • Remember that first impressions count more than any others and although people should not “Judge a book by its cover” many do.
  • Dress smartly in a manner appropriate to the type of job you are applying for. Always wear smart business-like clothes (suit and tie for the gentlemen and smart skirt for the ladies) and polish your shoes.
  • Always greet people with good manners and shake hands when you enter and leave. Remember to thank the interviewer for their time and say that you look forward to hearing from them.

Attitude

  • Always remember that if your skills and experience alone were enough to get you a job that there would not be an interview process at all. You should find the right balance between selling yourself to the interviewer without appearing boastful or over confident.

Body Language

Here are a few simple reminders that will help on the day.

Good Posture

  • Good positive posture conveys confidence and promotes inner confidence.
  • Do not slouch. Slouching will make you look lazy and uninterested.

Smile and think positively

  • Walking into an interview with a positive mental attitude will set the tone for the entire session.
  • Enjoy the experience and your potential employer will do so too.

Firm Handshake

  • A good firm handshake creates a good impression.
  • Don’t give a limp handshake. People really dislike this.

Eye Contact

  • If you maintain good eye contact (and that does not mean staring all of the time as this will have the opposite effect) it conveys the fact that you are open and honest.

At the Interview

  • Through non-verbal communication we can end up revealing far more than we may be aware.
  • Although in the interview you will be concentrating on what you are going to say, you should be aware of how you say it and the type of body language you are displaying. Research shows that:-
    Words account for 35% message
    Tone of voice and body language 65% of message
  • It is important to remember that the interview should be a 2-way conversation.
  • Consider it a normal day-to-day discussion/meeting with a colleague or friend where you would be relaxed and would naturally indicate your interest to the person to whom you were speaking.
  • You must maintain full attention at all times.
  • It is advisable to take a notepad with you with a list of prepared questions you would like to ask.
  • It is also worth noting that a key positive signal to an interviewer is the act of note taking; you are showing an interest in what they are saying.
  • Do not pretend that you have no weaknesses, because everybody does. Alternatively try to show how you have recognised these and turned them into positives.

Questions you may be asked

Think about the types of questions you may be asked beforehand so that you don’t get caught out by these under the pressure of the interview session. Many questions appear regularly in interviews such as: -

You as a person –

These questions aim to get you talking about yourself and they are often “open” questions that require more than a one word response.

Tell me about yourself –

An interviewer will often use this as opening questions. It is meant to encourage you to start talking whilst the interviewer tunes in to what you are saying. An interviewer will often expect a 5-10 minute summary of your work history. Try to establish where they would like you to start from “Shall I begin from when I left full time education?”

What do you think are your strengths?

Your strengths should reflect on how you perform a job. Try to avoid giving a list but give key strengths and provide examples of where these have been demonstrated.

What are your weaknesses?

Interpret weaknesses as areas that you would like to improve on. Have prepared a brief outline, be brief about the area but give examples of how you have already overcome that weakness in certain situations.

What can you do for us that someone else cannot?

This is your opportunity to stand out from the other applicants. Incorporate some of your strengths and focus on your personality as well as what you are capable of doing.

Why are you leaving your present position?

You need to avoid being negative or defensive. Do not criticise previous employers or people you have worked with.

Handling obstacles

There are many aspects within your career that could present obstacles to employment if not handled correctly. Here are a few examples –

You’re over qualified

Always reiterate your best qualifications for the job. In other words view the objection as another opportunity to sell your qualifications. If the interviewer is still unsure then probe more into their resistance.

You don’t have enough experience

Identify related experience or transferable skills that will convince the interviewer of your ability to do the job.

You were dismissed from your last job

Ensure that you provide emotionally neutral answers. Always include lessons that you have learnt that will benefit future employers.

You were made redundant

Emphasise that the redundancy was not related to you as a person and as an employee. Here is a good way to prove that you are a survivor in difficult situations.

Ask questions

You will usually have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview; the worst response that you can give is that you don’t have any!!! You should prepare at least 6 questions before you attend an interview.

The following questions are designed to get the fundamental needs of the job from different angles.

1. What are your immediate priorities?
2. Is this a new position. Why has it been created?
3. What changes would you like to see in the way the job is done?
4. What do you consider to be my major strengths for this position?
5. What kind of personality would fit in with the team?
6. What are the progression prospects?
7. What type of training is offered?
8. What are the benefits?
9. Would you mind telling me about your career to date?
10. What can you tell me about the people I will be working under?
11. How would you describe the management style of the company?
12. Have there been any major organisational changes recently? Are there any planned?
13. After speaking with me today, do you feel I am the right person for the job?
14. When are looking to recruit the person?
15. When can you let me know if I have been successful?

When leaving the interview always ensure that you thank the interviewer for their time and shake hands.
Another good selling point for you is to write a letter after the interview to thank them again for their time and to let them know how interested you are in the position.

Here is a re-cap on a few pointers as to what you need to remember:

Do
• Be punctual
• Look smart and appear confident
• Speak clearly and think carefully before answering questions
• Know your own CV inside out!
• Do your research, be prepared
• Be honest and positive
• Ask relevant questions
• Ask what the next step is with regard to the recruitment process

Don’t

• Be late
• Dress casually
• Appear too confident, which can sometimes be perceived as arrogant
• Be unprepared
• Lie or pretend or give evasive answers
• Talk in a detrimental or negative way about others – e.g. former employees/colleagues
• Become aggressive or defensive

Follow Up

  • Once the interview is over, it is a nice idea to either write a letter, or drop an email to your interviewer, to say how much you enjoyed the interview experience. This will make you stand out from the rest and remind the potential employer of your character.
  • Doing this very small gesture, will never fail to impress.
  • If you have not heard anything within the timeframe that was given at the interview, then put a call into the company to see where they are with the process and speak with your Jiyu Consulting recruitment advisor.
  • If you are successful, then CONGRATULATIONS!! However, if you are not, then it is always a good idea to again write a small note to thank the company for their time and to ask to be considered for anything else if it happened to arise in the future. You would be surprised how many employers actually offer the position to the favourite candidate who then turns it down and if your letter hits at the right time, it might be your job after all!!
  • If you don’t succeed in your first interview, DON’T GIVE UP!!! Look at it as a dress rehearsal. Something will definitely come along.

Always remember……….

  • POSITIVE ACTIONS
  • A POSITIVE MIND SET
  • AND AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

will always get you further in life than anything else!!!
And finally, – NEVER, NEVER ,GIVE UP!!