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How to answer common interview questions

You can never predict what an interviewer will ask – but we've got the inside scoop on questions which come up a lot.

The fact you’re here probably means you have a job interview soon. How’s your prep going?

If you’re researching questions that are likely to be asked – look no further!

We sat down with Larry Hansen, one of our careers advisers. Larry pulled out some interview questions you’ll likely be asked and created five top tips to help you answer them.

article-image-640x360 common-interview-questions

Why do you want this job?

Larry’s tip: Discuss your career aspirations and goals. How will this job help you reach where you want to go in your career? To prepare for this question, have a think about why you sent in your CV or applied in the first place. Then, speak passionately about why you did so.

What not to say: I need money and am willing to do any job.

Why do you want to work for this organisation?

Larry’s tip: Research, research, research! Look into the company’s core values and how these relate to your own. Check out their latest events, initiatives and news. This shows the interviewer that you’ve studied what they do and really want to work for them.

What not to say: I applied for lots of jobs but this company offered me an interview.

What skills and qualities would you bring to this job?

Larry’s tip: Use the job advert to your advantage. Look at the skills and qualities the employer has asked for on the advert. Where possible, relate these skills and qualities to yourself and weave them into your answer.

What not to say: I have no skills and would bring nothing to the job!

Tell me a little about yourself!

Larry’s tip: Lean on the professional version of you, discuss academic achievements and work experience. If you can, tap into things that are relevant to the job. To add some colour to your answer, chat a little about your life outside of work. This’ll give the interviewer a flavour of who you really are.

What not to say: I’m a pretty boring person who doesn’t do anything outside of work.

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask us?

Larry’s tip: Keep your mind open during the interview and a question may come naturally. Asking something around what you could do to prepare for the role is always a safe bet. Another good question is one about career progression. This shows you’d be committed to the company if you get the job.

What not to say: Tell me more about the money and holidays I’ll get.

And here are a few more questions which come up regularly

  1. What are your goals for the future? Interviewers use this question to work out whether this is your dream job, or if it’s a career stepping stone. Even if you don’t want to be in this role forever, talk positively about how your goals align with the company’s vision.
  2. Do you have any weaknesses? Don’t worry, an interviewer doesn’t expect you to be the perfect human. Instead, be humble and chat about an area you’re not so strong in, but have perhaps made an effort to improve! This shows you’re self-aware, honest and open to development.
  3. What makes you a unique employee? Basically, they’re asking why you stand out from other candidates. In your answer, mention specific skills and experiences which set you apart from others. Then, explain why these would make you an asset to the company.