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There are several common interview questions that employers will ask you during the interview process. While some of these interview questions may seem simple, it is important for you to understand how to properly answer each question if you want to make a positive first impression. If you are currently looking for a job, use the following tips to help you prepare for some of the most common interview questions then find vacancies to apply for on Job Mail.

10 common interview questions
Photo by Christina Wocintechchat on Unsplash

1. Tell us about yourself?

‘Tell me about yourself’  is a common question in interviews because it allows both you and the interviewer to feel more at ease and get the conversation going. It gives them insight into your background and skills, and it allows you to share your experience and qualifications with them. When you answer this question, it can set the tone for the rest of the interview. You want to tell a story about yourself that makes you sound like their ideal candidate and only takes up two minutes. Here’s how to answer the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question; 

  • Speak about your personality to break the ice 
  • Mention the qualifications that make you qualified for the role 
  • Mention your past experiences and proven successes 
  • Highlight your strengths and abilities 
  • Support everything with examples 

2. Why do you want to work here?

Without a compelling answer to this question, employers will find it hard to trust your experience and knowledge. Consider what you can offer as well as how you can make an impact, it will show you did your research and confirm your experience. These are a few things to consider as you develop your response:

  • What skills do I possess that this company needs
  • What are past successes you can replicate in this company 
  • How will you fit in the company culture 

3. What interested you in this role?

Job application
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‘Why you want to work here’ and ‘What interested you in this role’ are questions that will often be asked interchangeably. While you might be tempted to answer, “I am a great fit for the role”, that is simply not enough. Your answer needs to touch on your abilities, skills, and experiences that can be associated with the company and role. It is an opportunity to reiterate that you are the perfect person for the job and why you are excited about it. 

4. What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Job interviews are nerve-wracking. There are many interview questions you might be asked, but one of the most common is about your strengths and weaknesses. Preparing for this question can be difficult, but it is possible to give a positive answer that leaves a good impression on employers. Think about your strengths, and what experience you have that can back them up. For example, if you list communication as a strength, you may want to feel proud of a time when you used communication to resolve a problem or reach a goal. Your weaknesses can include a hard skillset, so long as you emphasise your desire to learn it. Similarly, pointing out a soft skill you lack should be supported by a plan to improve

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

During the interview, employers might ask “Where do you see yourself in five years?” to get an idea of your long-term goals and how they align with their vacancies. Employers want to know that your goals fit with the job they’re offering. If you’re interviewing for an accounting associate role and eventually see yourself leading more complex accounting projects, this will tell the interviewer you see yourself growing in this position in a way they can reasonably support. For example, if you’re interviewing for a marketing role and want to be a UX designer in five years, you probably won’t be a good fit career-wise with this particular company.

6. What are your salary requirements? 

In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for employers to ask about wages during the interview process. Sometimes it’s discussed in an initial phone conversation or during an in-person interview. You may be asked your salary expectations directly, on an application form, or in response to a predetermined salary range offered by the employer. Here are two ways you can answer this question: 

Provide a range

If you’re not comfortable with a single number, you can give a range instead. Just keep in mind that an employer may take the lower number in your range, so make sure the lowest expectation in the range is as close to your target number as possible.

Deflect the question

If you’re still early in the hiring process and learning more about the job itself, you may want to deflect this question for the time being. Make sure to keep in mind that you’ll need to discuss salary expectations at some point. Either way, it’s a good idea to be prepared with a figure you feel is fair for the position even if it’s still subject to change.

7. Tell us about a challenge or conflict you faced at work

To answer this interview question successfully, share that you’re a good listener and great at solving problems. Make sure to mention that conflict resolution, when it does happen, should take place in a private setting. If possible, offer an example of how you’ve navigated such a situation. To give a clearer answer, use these three tips.

  • Give an example of a positive outcome to demonstrate what it looks like when things are fixed.
  • Use an example that is relatable to the interviewer.
  • Explain how you solved the conflict or problem, not just what it was about.’

8. Why should we hire you? 

Employers want to hire the best person for the job. To make the most educated decision in their search, they might ask you what differentiates you from other interviewees. This question is also asked to see how potential employees handle difficult situations. This question allows you to talk about why you would be an asset to the company and what you can bring to the table.

9. What do you know about our company? 

In a competitive job market, employers can afford to be picky. They are attracted to applicants who are motivated by the company and passionate about the position rather than only those with experience or education. You can impress your interviewer and answer this question effectively doing the following:

  • Research the company before your interview 
  • Focus on the positive
  • Highlight your interest and enthusiasm (why you want to work for the company) 

10. What is your proudest achievement?

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Your interviewer may ask you about the achievement you are most proud of. You should give them an answer that is both relevant and impressive. So, what can you say? Talk about an achievement that relates to the position you are interviewing for. That way, your stock with them will go up and you’ll make a better impression. If you don’t have an achievement that aligns with the position, use one that you can tailor to showcase your strong points and that can be used should you receive a job offer from the company.

The job search can be intimidating, but reviewing interview questions and answers in advance is one way to calm your nerves and boost your confidence. Why not take advantage of Job Mail’s free resources? Just create a profile and we’ll send you advice, insights, and tips that will help you stand out from the competition. If you haven’t registered your job-seeker profile yet, click here and do it today.

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