Interviews can be a very nervy and stressful process, as they can be the difference between you securing your dream job and just missing out. This means that it is important to nail your interviews and try to stand out amongst other candidates, as the job market is a very competitive place, and you are almost certain to be up against other people. The purpose of an interview is for the employer to find out about you, your attitudes to work, and how you could work well for them, so to find out this information they will construct a range of questions for you to answer. These will vary for employers, but there are some key questions that you are likely to face in an interview, so here are some tips on how to answer them well, so you get the best chance of smashing your interview and securing your dream job.
“Can you tell me about yourself”
This is probably the most common question an interviewer will ask as it lets them see your personal attributes, your attitudes and also your abilities. This a very vague question, which can work in your favour as you are not confined and can almost say what you want, keeping it relevant of course. This is an opportunity for you to tell them about your personality, history, aims and experience and is usually asked towards the start of an interview so the employer gets an insight into who you are, so it is important to make a great first impression. Due to how vague this question is people often struggle with what to say and how to structure their answer so here are some things you can include. Start off with who you are so for example “So I am currently a student at Warwick university, I decided to go there after my A-levels to study Sales and Marketing as my aim is to become a Sales Manager”. This is a great way to start this question as it shows that you are professional and have the right attitudes, which an employer will love. It also sticks to the point and gives the employer relevant information. You can then go on to talk about why you want to become an accountant for example, then go onto to talk about what you do outside of work, so hobbies for example – “Outside of my studies I enjoy playing football, I am the captain of my local side and play each week on a Saturday”. Again, this will show to employer what you are like as a person and it gives you the chance to mention any outside achievements which relate to the role you are applying to, so for example if you are applying to a management role, mentioning that you captain a football team will show you have leadership and interpersonal skills which will correlate to this role you are applying to, so talking about what you are like as a person is just as important as talking about what you are like at work.
“Where do you see yourself in 5 years”
This is a question designed to see if you set goals for yourself and have aims to progress. Employers want this because if you have set aims and goals it will mean that you are determined to succeed and develop in your role, which will be good for their company. So, in this it is important to talk about your goals and how you aim to achieve them, so for example – “In the next 5 years I would love to become a qualified Accountant as I believe this would suit me well due to my experience and skillset, of which through this position I hope to develop and build upon as that will then provide me with the right tools to be able to succeed in an Accountancy role. This answer shows that you have a set vision and a method to achieving it, which is what employers will value as it shows you want to develop and work well in your job role, which intern would mean you are more determined to provide good quality work for them, giving you a greater chance of getting the job.
“Why do you want this job”
This can be a tough question to handle as it is very direct and is used to test your knowledge of the company you are applying to and to make sure you actually want to work for them. This means it is crucial to research the company you are applying to, find out what they do, what teams they have, what products they sell, who they work with. Then cater your answer around these, for example “I seen on your website that you work with a range of companies within the education sector, and this is a passion for me as I love working with people and having involvement with these institutions will allow me to help these young people succeed”. This shows you have actively researched the company and have a brief understanding of what they do. Not only that buy you have mentioned how this correlates with you and tells the employers why you want this job, which of course, is the aim of the question.
“What is your greatest weakness”
This is a question that most candidates dread as it feels like you are almost setting yourself up for failure, but employers ask this to assess your honesty and to see if you seek to improve. There is also no right or wrong answer for this, but it is important to plan it carefully. You do not want to give a weakness that is needed for this job, for example if you are applying to a customer service job, do not say that you have poor communication skills, as this is a key skill needed for this role and you are unlikely to be good in this role if you communication is poor. The best way to structure this answer is to give an honest weakness, but one that is not directly linked to the role you are applying for, so a good example could be – “Patience I would say is probably my biggest weakness as sometimes I tend to rush into things and become obsessed with getting my tasks done quick so that I can move onto the next, but I have learnt that if I just take a step back sometimes that I come up with better answers/solutions to things, so that is what I have been trying to focus on in my work”. This is a good answer as it shows that you have a great work ethic, it isn’t a key strength needed for some jobs, and most importantly it shows that you have recognised it and are trying to improve it. This is crucial to employers as there will be things in the workplace that you struggle with, so having the ability to take a step back and analyse what you are doing wrong is important to them.