During the interview, you will be asked to demonstrate your suitability for the job. Why have they asked you this particular question? What are they trying to find out?
Below are some of the more commonly asked questions, and some simple suggested responses.
Q: Tell me about yourself?
A: They want you to open up to them. Tell them about your qualifications, career history and range of skills. You may even want to tell them a little about your hobbies and interests – it shows what motivates you.
Q: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
A: This doesn’t have to be work related. The interviewer is trying to find out if you are an achiever. Demonstrate how you achieved and how it has benefited you. Do you still use those skills?
Q: What are your strengths?
A: We all have them, it’s just acknowledging them in a proficient manner. Try to look at personal attributes such as ‘I’m a team player’, or ‘I have great attention to detail’, then demonstrate how they could be a benefit to an employer.
Q: What are your weaknesses?
A: The interviewer wants to see how self-aware you are. Don’t use personal weaknesses such as ‘I find it hard to get out of bed in the morning’. A weakness can also be considered a strength. Use a professional weakness such as lack of experience (training can always overcome that) or one that can be turned around into a strength such as ‘I’m very focused at work, so sometimes people think I’m ignoring them’.
Q: How would your family/friends/spouse describe you?
A: Another way of asking how you perceive yourself. Choose three or four adjectives that show the positive side of your personality, such as ‘they would say I’m outgoing, reliable and loyal’.
Q: Why do you think you’re suitable for this role?
A: If you haven’t done your research, you’ll not be able to give an answer with substance. Use your prepared list and match your skills and personal attributes. By this stage, the interviewer should have told you about the role. If they haven’t, ask them to explain it fully, then give them your answer. You cannot tell them you’re the perfect candidate if you don’t know what the job is.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: Do not be tempted to respond in an arrogant manner – i.e. ‘in your chair’. The interviewer wants to know your motivation and career aspirations. Whilst wanting to progress is a natural desire, don’t let this overshadow the job you are being interviewed for. Try not to give a specific job title, but more what you will be gaining from a role and environment. Such as ‘I see myself in a role that allows me to be autonomous, and one that is both challenging and rewarding.
Final points to bear in mind
The interview is a two way process. You will have a chance to ask questions, but make sure they are relevant to the role and company. Do not get involved in discussing money at this stage – unless the interviewer asks you. Remember that the questions you ask tell the interviewer more about you than some of the answers you give.
For more on Job Interview Questions, click here.