Are you getting ready for a job interview? This guide is just what you need. In today's job market, doing well in interviews is about more than just showing up with a good resume. It's about really understanding the questions they'll ask you, highlighting what you're great at, and showing why you're the right person for the job.
In this article, we’ll cover how to talk about your work history and personal skills, and how to handle those tricky interview questions. We'll even touch on how to talk about salary. This guide is for everyone, whether you're just starting out or have been around the block a few times.
10 Most Common Questions Asked in an Interview (& Example Answers)
Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself
Why Employers Ask: This open-ended question is often used to start the interview and get a sense of your background. It's an opportunity to highlight the parts of your experience relevant to the job.
Example Answer: "I'm a marketing professional with five years of experience in content creation and brand strategy. I've successfully managed several campaigns that increased brand visibility and customer engagement. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking and photography."
Interview Question: What Are Your Top 5 Strengths?
Why Employers Ask: Employers want to understand your greatest strengths to see if they align with the job description and the company's needs. It's about identifying your competencies and how they make you a good fit for the role.
Example Answer: "My top strengths include problem-solving, communication skills, time management, teamwork, and adaptability. In my last job, these strengths allowed me to effectively manage projects and work well with team members, adapting to new challenges as they arose."
Interview Question: What Are Your Weaknesses?
Why Employers Ask: This question helps recruiters gauge your self-awareness and honesty. It's also a way to see if you're proactive in addressing your weaknesses.
Example Answer: "I sometimes focus too much on details, which can slow down my work. However, I've been practising time management strategies to balance thoroughness with efficiency."
Interview Question: Why Should I Hire You?
Why Employers Ask: Hiring managers want you to connect your skills and experiences directly to what the company needs. This question tests your understanding of the job and your ability to sell yourself.
Example Answer: "You should hire me because my experience in customer service and my proven track record in project management align closely with the responsibilities of this role. I bring not only the skills you're looking for but also a strong commitment to achieving company goals."
Interview Question: How Do You Handle Conflict?
Why Employers Ask: This question assesses your problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Employers want to know if you can handle workplace disagreements constructively.
Example Answer: "I handle conflict by staying calm and listening to understand different perspectives. For instance, at my last job, I mediated a dispute between co-workers by facilitating a conversation where both could express their views and find a common ground."
Interview Question: Why Do You Want This Job?
Why Employers Ask: Employers ask this to see if you're genuinely interested in the role and the company, and to understand your career goals and motivations.
Example Answer: "I'm excited about this role because it aligns perfectly with my career path and passion for digital marketing. Your company's innovative approach resonates with my desire for creative problem-solving and continuous learning."
Interview Question: What Are Your Salary Expectations?
Why Employers Ask: Employers want to know if your expectations align with their budget. It's important to do research on industry standards beforehand
Example Answer: "Based on my research and understanding of the role's responsibilities, my salary expectation is in the range of $90,000 to $100,000, which I believe is in line with the market rate for this position in Australia."
Interview Question: Why Are You Leaving Your Current Role?
Why Employers Ask: This question helps employers understand your motivations and ensures you're not leaving for negative reasons (and that you’re not going to talk poorly of your workplace).
Example Answer: "I'm looking for new challenges and opportunities to grow, which I feel this position offers. While I've learned a lot in my current role, I'm ready for a more dynamic environment where I can contribute more significantly."
Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
Why Employers Ask: Employers want to gauge your career goals and see if they align with the company's future.
Example Answer: "In five years, I see myself as an experienced leader within this field, having contributed to innovative projects and helped the company grow. I'm also keen on continuous personal development, possibly undertaking further education in my field."
Interview Question: What Are Your Passions Outside of Work?
Why Employers Ask: This question helps employers get a sense of your personality and how your interests might positively influence your work
Example Answer: "Outside of work, I'm passionate about landscape photography and environmental conservation. These interests have honed my attention to detail and creativity, which I bring into my professional life."
OCA TIP: Remember, the key to answering these questions is to be honest, reflective, and to tie your answers back to the job you're applying for.
Tailoring your responses to align with the company's values and the specific job description can make a significant difference.
How to Prepare for a Job Interview
Preparing for a job interview involves several key steps to ensure you present yourself as the ideal candidate. Here's a guide to help you prepare effectively:
Research the Company:
- Understand the company’s products, services, culture, and mission.
- Look at their website, social media, and recent news articles.
- Familiarise yourself with the industry and their competitors.
Understand the Job Description:
- Carefully read the job description and note the required skills and responsibilities.
- Think about how your experience and skills align with these requirements.
Prepare Your Answers:
- Practice answers to common interview questions like "Tell me about yourself," "Why should we hire you?" and behavioural questions.
- Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers for competency-based questions.
Prepare Your Own Questions:
- Have a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the role, company culture, or career path.
- Asking insightful questions shows your interest in the role and the company.
Plan Your Journey:
- If the interview is in-person, plan your route and travel time to ensure punctuality.
- For virtual interviews, check your technology, internet connection, and find a quiet, well-lit space.
- Dress for the role you’re applying for. If unsure, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.
- Ensure your outfit is neat, professional, and comfortable.
Review Your Resume:
- Be familiar with everything on your resume as you may be asked to discuss your experiences.
- Have a copy of your resume handy during the interview.
- Practise Good Non-Verbal Communication:
- This includes eye contact, a firm handshake (in-person), and confident body language.
- For virtual interviews, ensure you’re looking at the camera and not just the screen.
Prepare Examples and Anecdotes:
- Have specific examples ready that showcase your skills, achievements, and ability to handle challenges.
- These should reflect both your career goals and the company’s needs.
- After the interview, consider sending a thank-you email to express your appreciation for the opportunity and to reiterate your interest in the role.
Remember, preparation is not just about rehearsing answers but also about making a great first impression and showing that you are the right fit for the job and the company.
Questions YOU Should Ask at a Job Interview
Questions to Ask
About the Role
"Can you provide more details about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?"
About the Team and Management
"Can you tell me about the team I'll be working with?"
About the Company
"What can you tell me about the company’s culture?"
About the Challenges
“What are the biggest challenges facing the team right now?"
"What does success look like for this position, and how is it measured?"
About the Hiring Process
"What are the next steps in the interview process?"
About the Company’s Future
"Where do you see the company in the next few years?"
About Work-Life Balance
"How does the company approach work-life balance?"
Feedback and Performance
"How is feedback given here, and how often?"
About the Interviewer's Experience
"What do you enjoy most about working here?"
50 Common Job Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in this role?
- What do you know about our company?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What is a weakness of yours?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Describe a challenge you faced at work and how you dealt with it.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Can you describe your work style?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What motivates you?
- How do you prioritise your work?
- Give an example of when you showed leadership skills.
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?
- What are your career goals?
- How do you evaluate success?
- Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- How do you handle criticism?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your hobbies outside of work?
- How do you handle meeting tight deadlines?
- What is your ideal work environment?
- Describe your management style.
- What makes you unique?
- What kind of work environment do you thrive in?
- Can you describe a time when your work was criticised?
- How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
- What is your approach to problem-solving?
- Are you a team player?
- How do you handle failure?
- What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
- What are your pet peeves?
- How do you keep yourself organised?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- What's your approach to working under pressure?
- How do you make important decisions?
- Tell me about a successful project you were part of. What was your role?
- What do you expect from a supervisor?
- How do you stay motivated?
- Can you discuss your experience with [a specific skill or tool]?
- What professional achievement are you most proud of?
- Describe how you manage a typical day.
- How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends?
- Can you give an example of how you worked on a team?
- How would your previous employer describe you?
- What questions do you have for me?
- How do you balance work and personal life?
- What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
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Questions Asked in a Job Interview FAQs
How can I prepare for common interview questions for a new job?
To prepare for common interview questions, research typical queries related to your industry. Practise your answers, focusing on your work experience, skills, and how they align with the job requirements.
How should I describe my current job in an interview?
When describing your current job/previous role, focus on your responsibilities, achievements, and how the skills and experience gained are relevant to the potential employer and the next job.
How can I identify my greatest weakness for an interview?
Identify a genuine professional weakness that doesn't critically impair your ability to perform the job. Be sure to include steps you’re taking to improve this weakness, showing self-awareness and a commitment to professional growth.
What are some key interview tips for job seekers?
Research the company, understand the job description, practice answers to behavioural interview questions, dress appropriately, arrive on time, and prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewer.
How can I discuss management skills effectively in an interview?
When discussing management skills, provide specific examples of how you've successfully led teams, managed stakeholders, or handled challenging projects, emphasising outcomes and what you learned.
What soft skills are important to mention in an interview for my dream job?
Highlight soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, and work ethic. Tailor these skills to match the requirements of your dream job and share examples that demonstrate these abilities.
What’s a good template for answering behavioural interview questions?
Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) as a template. Describe a specific Situation, explain the Task required, detail the Action you took, and conclude with the Result of your action.
- Career Development