Tackling tough interview questions
Every job hunter hates them - questions like 'What's your biggest weakness?'. Don't get tripped up by:
Tell me about yourself.
They don’t want your life story – just the bits that show you can do this job well. Talk about relevant skills, strengths, experience, qualifications and interests.
What’s your biggest weakness?
This key to this question is that it’s not about what your weakness is. The right answer shows that you’re able to recognise it, and have developed ways to stop it affecting your work.
What are your salary expectations?
Before the interview, research what similar jobs pay and think about how much you’ll need to make the job worthwhile. You don’t have to be too specific. Ask if there’s a salary range for the job. If they can’t give you one, be ambitious, but realistic.
Why do you want to leave your current job/Why did you leave your last job?
Be positive about what a new job could offer you – career progression, new challenges. Talk about the opportunity to move forward. Don’t say because you hate your boss, you want more money or you’re stuck in a boring role.
If you were fired from your last job, be honest. Explain the circumstances in a calm and rational way and talk about what you learned.
Do you have any questions?
This is where research can help because if you know about the company, there should be things you can ask about.
What do you think of garden gnomes?You can also ask them to expand on something they’ve mentioned during the interview. If you’re stuck, basic options are questions about what training and opportunities are available.
Employers use odd questions like this to see if you can think on your feet, and test your creativity. Try not to get flustered. Take a moment to think. Get into the spirit of the question and show you’re willing to give it a go.