Job interview questions | Standard job interview questions

The best way to answer many of these questions is with an example. Think of a good example that relate to the question. Put it into the context of a problem that you faced whilst at work, university or a group activity. The bigger the problem, the better. Give specific examples of the skills and techniques you used to solve the problem. Stress the successful results. Share credit if it was a team effort as this will show your team working skills, however be sure to highlight your specific role.

Tell me about yourself. Make sure you know about the role and tailor your answer accordingly. The interviewer is unlikely to want to know the intimate details of your life, they just want to see how you handle the question.

As this is likely to be the opening questions of the interview make sure you answer with confidence and in a way that will help you to dictate the path of the interview.

Why do you want to work here/What attracts you about this position? This is a question which will help you to prove to the interviewer that you've done your research about both the company and the position. Answer this question by putting the company and the position in the context of your career goals.

Why are you leaving your current job? Try to be as positive as possible in answering this question. Although you may be leaving because you hate your boss or you want more money, the interviewer is unlikely to be impressed by this. Suggested areas to stick to are: career progression; interest for the role; chance to work for the new company; challenge.

Tell me about a time when you've worked under stress? Think of a time that you can talk about for an extended period, and where the result was positive. Try to think of a time outside of education because this will not be seen as unique and is not entirely comparable with a working environment.

Tell me about a time when you've failed? How did you deal with this? Again you should think of a time when you did fail, but were able to overcome and learn from the experience. This is a tough balancing act between finding a good example and seeming incompetent. Probably best to avoid times when you've completely messed up.

Tell me about a time when you've overcome a problem? Very similar to the above question. These questions seem to come as a package, are very repetitive and not particularly inspiring. It does mean that you'll have to think of about three or four similar examples which will fit these generic questions.

Tell me about a time when you've worked to a deadline?
This is again one of the generic interview questions mentioned above.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? How will this job help you to get to this position? This will help to show the interviewer that the role is part of your grand plan and that you'll use the job to develop and progress. Also, over a ten year period it is probably quite safe to suggest that you might not be at the company by then, however you should try and avoid indicating that you don't plan on sticking around for long.

If you're not entirely sure about what you'll be doing - especially if this is your first job - then it is usually fine to say that you don't know but you hope that the role will give you a greater insight into an area in which you're are interested in.

How would you handle the following situation ...angry customer, missed deadline, personal problems, struggling colleague etc? The best way to tackle this is to use examples of where you're had a similar situation. You should say that you remained calm, professional and supportive throughout the situation and that the situation was resolved successfully.

Do you have any questions? You should have a few standard questions in your head just in case no new questions come out in the interview process. Primarily you should use this opportunity to ask questions that you actually want to know the answer to, otherwise you not find out something about the job which you'll regret on your first day of work.

You should also use this opportunity to highlight areas and strengths that you haven't been able to bring out in the interview. Perhaps asking a questions such as; when I was working in X company, I did this. How would this fit in with the role?

Finally if you can't think of any questions then you can always turn some of the interviewers questions back on them. Ask them where they expect the company to be in ten years time. Ask what attracted the interviewer to the company and how they find working for them. As with all interviews, if you can get the interviewer chatting in a relaxed manner, then you'll be relaxed and the interview is likely to go a lot better.


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