Typical Questions you may be asked during an interview

typical questions that may be asked pictureYou may think that the only nervous person at an interview is you. This is often not true, interviewers know they must choose people who will do well in the particular job - otherwise they will be labelled incompetent by their superiors.

Interviewers tend to use certain questions to relieve their anxieties about whether you will do the job competently and whether you have the right qualities to fit into the team.

Remember that most jobs are filled by people who meet only some of the job's specifications. A successful candidate is one who makes the interviewer feel 'safe' in the knowledge that this person can handle the job well.

Following are some of the most frequently asked job-interview questions with some suggestions for appropriate answers that will help to project your competence.

Q. Tell me about yourself?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in an interview. For some people this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include. Do they want to know about you as a person or about your job skills?

Don't be afraid to clarify what the interviewer wants to know, simply by asking the question 'do you mean in terms of my personal life or working life?'

If the interviewer is looking for a personal profile then examples to include are: your interests, hobbies, voluntary work, any facts about yourself that indicate personal stability and trustworthiness. Include information about your family only where you feel it is of clear benefit to you to do so.

If the interviewer is looking for a work profile then list five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experience, traits, skills). Talk about past experiences and proven successes. For example:

"I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the telecoms industry. One reason why I particularly enjoy this business and the challenges that go along with it is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 25% increase in sales over the quarter".

Mention your strengths and abilities:

"My greatest strength is in account management. I pride myself on following things through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to do something for my clients, I make sure it always gets done, and on time."

Finish with a statement about your current position:

"I am now looking to join a company which has an excellent reputation for good customer service, where I can join a really strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales."

Think about what you want the interviewer to know about you.

Q. Why do you want to work here?

This is your chance to let the interviewer know that you have done some pre-interview research on the company.

Mention all the positive things you can about the job specifically, the company, what interests you about the position and how it matches your skills and experience.

Q. What are your major strengths?

The interviewer is asking you to tell him how your skills and ability will fit the needs of the job.

By assessing your skills and identifying your strengths before the interview you will be prepared to give a good answer. Divide your skills into three categories:

a) Personal traits - hard-working, reliable, loyal, punctual, accurate, creative, flexible etc.

b) Transferable skills - these are skills which you take from job to job - i.e. planning skills, communication, problem solving and people skills.

c) Knowledge based skills - your individual education and experience - i.e. training, degrees, IT skills, languages.

When you have made the list choose three or more of your strengths which match with what the interviewer is looking for in the job. And be prepared to give examples to demonstrate your strengths if you are probed further.

Q. What are your weaknesses?

open quoteRemember that most jobs are filled by people who meet only some of the job's specifications. A successful candidate is one who makes the interviewer feel 'safe' in the knowledge that this person can handle the job well.close quote

Interviewers use this question to see how you handle the situation. Saying that you have no weaknesses can make you look arrogant and making a joke of a weakness can also make you look flippant.

The best way of answering this question is to minimise the weakness and emphasise the positive. Examples:

"I have very high standards for my work and I expect my colleagues to also have high standards. This can make life difficult when I am working with people who don't pull their weight. I am learning to speak up about this sooner rather than later".

"I am a stickler for deadlines and will go all out to meet them. Sometimes this causes me to work late into the night, to ensure that the job is done".

It is always useful to supply a solution to dealing with a weakness. For example state how you plan to improve on your weakness i.e. a course you have enrolled in, books that you are reading.

Q. Why do you want to leave your current job (or why did you leave your last job)?

The interviewer is trying to determine whether you have (had) any difficulties at work which may re-occur.

If there were difficulties, be honest but do not elaborate unnecessarily. Point out that the difficult circumstances are (were) unique to that role and are highly unlikely to happen again. Mention the positive ways in which you handled the situation.

There are many legitimate reasons for leaving a job i.e. promotional opportunities, change in location, experience, looking for more of a challenge, short-term contract, and redundancy.

It is important when answering this question not to be too negative about your current or previous employer.

Q. Why should we offer you the job instead of someone else?

This is your chance to really help the interviewer make a decision in your favour. SELL YOURSELF!! Quickly respond with your specific top job related skills and positive characteristics. Some ideas might be - conscientious, dependable, enthusiastic, strong desire to do this type of work, willing to make extra effort, flexible, meeting deadlines.

See also further sample interview questions

Berkshire office
T: 0118 959 2043

Buckinghamshire office
T: 01494 510 800

A preferred supplier to the BG Group.
Supplying temporary and permanent
administration/clerical staff since 2006.

© 2017 Delaney Browne