How to answer interview questions

Attending interviews for the majority is a very nervous experience. Everyone wants to do well and everyone wants to get the job (most of the time!).

You are going to be, in some instances, grilled about your experience, expertise and self. So what is the most daunting question you are going to be asked? and how should you respond?

Well it is a personal thing which question is the most daunting. For some it is “tell me about yourself” (stumps most people), “where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years time?” (standard answer is management), “what is your greatest strenght?” (not lifting dumbbells!), “what is your greatest weakness?” (wine and chocolate are never good answers…)

Let’s look at these 4

“Tell me about yourself” – so is this a professional or personal a topic? well it is kinda both. So be transparent and provide the answers you are comfortable with. If you do not wish to provide personal details then don’t – it is not a negative to keep the topic professional and you are not obliged to divulge personal details. Just be prepared for the question before time and ensure you know how you want to answer.

“Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years time?” Again there is no right or wrong answer unless the company has stipulated either in the ad or the interview the career path of the role. If they have and it does not align with where you want to go again be transparent and honest. If it doesn’t align with where you want to go then it is not the right role for you.

“What is your greatest strength?” We all have strengths and weaknesses and much as it might annoy us, none of us are perfect. I have had people nominate pretty much every criteria of the role to me as their “strength”. Really? Don’t be afraid to be honest and state exactly what your strength is leaving off everything else.

“What is your greatest weakness?” If the job calls for filing and you hate filing and don’t know your alphabet then say so. Getting a job and then being let go because the weakness is a major criteria is not a good thing for you or the company. If you let them know about the filing issue they will look favourably and think about who else they have who can do the filing!

Company’s want to get good people on board. They don’t want to interview loads of candidates as it takes up time and if you are being interviewed they like the look of you on paper. Relax, if possible have a couple of sips of water before the interview, breath, smile, transparent and be prepared!

Good luck!

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