Five common interview questions you need to know

By Tom Evans

If you’re attending a job interview for a position that you really want, you need to be as prepared as possible for the challenges to come. While this can mean going over your experiences to come up with answers to competency-based interview questions, reading through your own CV, and getting your smart suit or dress ready, many candidates can miss the basics. I’m talking about the common interview questions that everyone is asked.

Yes, you’ve thought up great answers to any bizarre job interview questions that may get thrown your way, but forgetting to do some interview preparation on the queries that are almost certainly going to be asked can land you in hot water with potential employers. To help you succeed, 360 Resourcing Solutions has put together the following interview advice to help you get that next big job:

“Tell me about yourself?”

Common interview questions can come throughout your meeting, but this is usually one of the first out of the interviewer’s mouth. Funnily enough, while it should be on your special subject, you, it can catch many candidates off guard. Perhaps because it is so personal or maybe you’re just worried about saying too much!

There are a number of interview techniques to help you through this one, but the best is to treat it like an elevator pitch. These are brief soundbites that you can come up with to quickly get across who you are, what you do, and what you want. We’ve talked about how to create the perfect elevator pitch before, which is useful so that you’re not left stammering right off the bat.

“What do you know about our company?”

Some interview questions are designed to see how well you can prepare for set challenges. After all, if you can handle an interview, you can deal with client meetings and other standard tasks. So, if you’ve been on a job search and receive an interview invitation, it’s time to do a little research.

Look up the firm online, browse through its website, and take down some notes to bring with you on the day. It’s encouraged to have a pen and notepad in front of you during any interview, so don’t worry about having to use one during the meeting to remember some key parcels of information. It’s the preparation that matters at the end of the day, and it would be quite insulting to know nothing whatsoever about the organisation you are meeting with. If possible, you could even look up the interviewer on LinkedIn!

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

Interview questions and answers help your potential employer to gauge how well you’ll fit within their business, and this is a big one. Whether you are asked for your strengths and weaknesses in separate questions or at the same time, you’ll need to have a great answer.

Of course, what constitutes a ‘great answer’ to you can be different from the interviewer. For instance, please do not say that your biggest weakness is “working too hard”, because it doesn’t hold water. Your potential employer is looking for honesty and some actual self awareness: “I don’t have any weaknesses, I’m perfect”, would be an instant red flag to any manager! Don’t fall into the trap, but prepare truthful answers that show you can grow.

“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”

Many of these interview tips focus on trying to establish whether you would bring value to the business, which is why this one often makes the list of common interview questions! It’s important that you have your own dreams and aspirations, whether in your career or private life, and that you are looking to develop your skills.

Why not mention an area or topic within your industry that you would hope to have completed training on? If you want to move into management, or at least into a more supervisory role, bring this up. Ambition is paramount in several sectors, particularly within sales-based roles, but it also shows that you are hoping to hit the ground running and work hard. Just don’t say, “your boss”!

“Why should we hire you?”

Talking about establishing value and worth, this job interview question comes at it from another angle. Your interviewer will want to see how you evaluate your own skills, experience, and worth to the business. Try to come up with something unique, but be sure to go over a couple of key highlights too.

For example, if you didn’t have the most direct route into an industry, you could point out your broad experience in various sectors. On the other hand, if you’ve been along the same career path your whole life, you can shine a spotlight on this dedication. Frankly, get creative, but stay honest (and a tad humble, if you can help it).

Bonus – “Is there anything that you would like to ask me?”

As we’re good to you, here’s a bonus example of the common interview questions you’re likely to face. Many people prepare fully for the interview itself, but forget the bit at the end! So, you’ll want to go in with some prepared questions to ask in an interview, using your handy notebook, which will help to keep you from going blank on the day.

Interviewers expect you to ask questions. In fact, they want you to. It shows that you’re interested in the role and the company, so make sure that you know what to say.

As you can see from the above, while the list of common interview questions can seem daunting, getting a handle on them by preparing answers before the day will pay dividends. Don’t miss out on a great job opportunity by falling at the first hurdle, but beat the competition to win the day. Just take it one step at a time. If you are currently looking for work, start your job search with 360 Resourcing today.

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