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Candidates - Interview Preparation

Ten Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions

The interview is an opportunity for both the company and you to evaluate whether you are a good fit for the job so you should anticipate questions with reference to your ability, career experience, career goals, and also whether you fit the company culture.

Good preparation is essential, so make sure you carefully review your CV, and consider how you can link your background to the job and company in question.

These are some questions you should prepare to answer:

1. Tell me about yourself

This is very often the first question to kick-start an interview. Your answer should:

- Place emphasis on the areas of most relevance to the job in question
- Avoid personal information - e.g. home-life, your children
- Include some impressive achievements e.g. improvements made
- Express your enthusiasm for the job

2. What are your key skills/strengths?

- Choose the most relevant strengths to the job you're applying for, even if it has been a minor part of what you have been doing to date. The job advert or person specification form will give you the information you need about their requirements.

3. What are your weaknesses?

- Demonstrate to the interviewer you can face this question head on. Name a real weakness of yours and show how you strive to improve it.

4. Why did you leave your last job?

- Ensure that your response is upbeat and positive even if the circumstances were problematic. If you were made redundant, divert attention away from your individual circumstance and talk about the restructuring of the company.
- Never speak negatively about a previous employer.

5. Why do you want this job?

- Your answer should strengthen why you are a perfect fit for the job and what sets you apart from other candidates. You should try to include your Interest in the product/industry, mention the company's excellent reputation, and the fact that it's an exciting challenge.

6. Tell me about a difficult scenario at work and how you dealt with it

- This interview question is asked in order to evaluate your communication skills, your ability to solve problems/issues and your conflict resolution abilities (i.e. analytical skills).
- Explain how you were resilient in adverse conditions and how you displayed emotional intelligence and level-headedness.

7. Tell me about an achievement of which you are proud

- Personal achievements should only be included if they are very impressive or prestigious - it's best that you choose work-related examples that demonstrate a real benefit to the business.

8. What are your salary expectations?

- It is important to avoid discussions regarding your salary until you reach the job offer stage. If you are encouraged to provide an estimate, give a realistic but wide salary range and emphasise that salary won't be an issue if you decide to work together.

9. What do you know about our organisation?

Ensure that you know the following:

- The company structure, finances, products and service.
- Key staff, customers and competitors.
- Market trends and challenges.

10. Have you got any questions?

- Ask about the work itself, training and career development, not about holidays, pensions or company benefits! Prepare some questions in advance, it is OK to write these down and to refer to your notes to remind yourself of what you wanted to ask.