7 common interview questions

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Going to an interview gives you a real chance to impress the hiring manager and make sure you're given the job you're applying for.

There's no guarantee about what you'll be asked, but there are a number of questions that come up again and again.

If you have powerful answers to these, it will help you make a big impact. Here are some of the most common interview questions and suggestions on how to answer them:


Tell me about yourself

This is usually the opening question and is a great opportunity to showcase your strengths. Begin your answer with an overview of what you are doing now, then run through the jobs you've held so far in your career. You can follow the same structure as your CV, giving examples of achievements and the skills you've picked up along the way. Don't go into too much detail your interviewer will ask you for expand on any areas where they'd like more information.

What are your strengths? 

This question is a perfect opportunity for you to explain what you do well and why that means you're right for the job. Pick the three attributes you have that are the most important for the job you're applying for and give examples of how you have used these strengths in a work situation.

These could be tangible skills (such as proficiency in a particular computer programme, software system or speaking a foreign language) or intangible skills (such as good team management). Make sure you explain how each strength relates to the role you're applying for.

What are your weaknesses?

It's much better to answer the question `What are your weaknesses and what have you done to overcome them?'. So don't give examples of things you've not done well if you don't also have an example of how you've learned from it or worked to improve your skills as a result.

What are your goals?

You should answer this question in terms of both short-term and long-term goals . Sometimes it is more specific such as "where do you see yourself in five years' time?'

Tell the interviewer about the kind of job you'd  like to do and which is your plan to get there. Show the employer you have ambition, determination and passion to make the most of every job.

Why should we hire you?

This is were you get the chance to tell the interviewer about your skills, experience and attributes that match with the ones that are required to be hired. When preparing for the interview, check the job description and try and include some of the phrases in your answer ( if they are relevant).

Whenever you talk about a skill or attribute you have, make sure you relate it back to the company or the role, don't just list your experience

Why do you want to work here?

You may feel you'd already answered this, but what the interviewer is looking for here is for you to spell out how well your skills, experience and attributes match the requirements of the role and the company or organisation's ethos.

Make sure your answer is really powerful. Practice what you're going to say so that your answer is clear and the interviewer is left in no doubt that you should be hired.

What salary are you seeking?

This is a question that you shouldn't be really answering. If you come up with a figure in the interview, it may put you in a weaker position when you come to negotiate later on.

A good way of preparing for any salary discussion is to find out the value od someone with your skills. If the interviewer has provided a guideline salary with the job description, you could mention this and say it's around the figure you're looking for.

Read similar career advice articles.

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For more career advice please contact:

Nic Sephton-Poultney
+27 (0) 11 881 2414

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