Interviews, while nerve-racking, are your golden opportunity to impress the hiring team and secure your dream job. While the questions asked might vary, there are a number of recurring ones which demand powerful responses, allowing you to leave a lasting impression.
Here, we decode some of the most common interview questions and provide strategies on shaping impactful answers.
This question often kicks-off the conversation – an easy way to break the ice. Begin by presenting your current role and navigate through your career journey briefly, aligning it with your CV's structure.
“I’m currently working at [company name] as a [job title]. My day-to-day responsibilities include [responsibilities]. I really enjoy the [x] area of my role but am looking for the next step in my career that aligns more with my passion for [x].”
Keep it concise, ready to delve deeper into specifics upon their request. Make sure you don’t focus on the personal side of things; candidates often get too comfortable discussing their hobbies but this is the perfect time to talk through your previous work experience and how it has got you to this interview.
Show your enthusiasm for becoming part of this company's journey, linking their core values or mission to your own personal career plan. Whether it's their innovative culture, ESG / ED&I initiatives, or commitment to employee development, connect these aspects to your own professional goals. Explain how integrating into this environment aligns seamlessly with your aspirations and how your unique skill set can actively contribute to their success.
Demonstrate a clear excitement for the role, underlining its significance in your career journey. Discuss how specific opportunities such as leading on projects, applying specialized expertise, or cross-collaboration inspire your professional growth. Illustrate how these aspects of the position support your career aspirations, making this role a perfect fit for your ongoing development.
Highlight your strengths that directly correlate with the job requirements. Identify three key attributes and illustrate them with instances from your professional experience. These could be technical skills or softer competencies like effective team leadership, ensuring they are relevant to the role. Some of the softer skills that are transferable across roles include:
When discussing weaknesses, focus on how you've overcome or learned from them. Offer examples of personal growth or skill enhancement resulting from these experiences and make sure you are no listing any that go against the work you would be doing in this role. Prove that you are aware of your weaknesses but that you are confident on how to prevent them causing you issues in your role.
Example: “I’ve previously faced challenges juggling multiple tasks, leading to difficulties in prioritization. However, I’ve introduced a structured scheduling method which has been extremely helpful. This approach assists in recognizing priorities and allows me to delegate effectively, allowing me to concentrate on important assignments and achieve deadlines."
An interviewer will be impressed if you have considered your short-term and long-term goals. Talk about the kind of job you'd eventually like to do and the various steps you will take to get there.
Show that you have the ambition and determination to make the most of every job you have held to get where you want to be.
Always relate this back to the position you're interviewing for and be realistic in terms of your aspirations. Avoid telling the interviewer that you want their job.
Focus on your assets - what makes you different and where do your major strengths lie? Outline what you can offer in terms of experience, personality and enthusiasm.
The job description should give you a good indication of what they are looking for. Make sure you address the qualities the employer has stated they are looking for and provide specific examples of what you have done so far in your career that demonstrates how you are particularly suited for the role.
While you should never mention salary unless asked or prompted, it's important to understand the value of someone with your skills. Be flexible - indicate that you are willing to negotiate for the right opportunity and confirm that you value the position strongly. Use a salary benchmarking tool to understand how your salary expectations compare against the market.
“I’ve conducted research using salary benchmarking tools to understand the market value for someone with my skill set and experience. I'm flexible and willing to negotiate within a reasonable range that reflects both my expertise and the responsibilities of the role.”
All too often, problems arise from pricing yourself out of the position or stating a figure less than the company is willing to pay. If a guideline salary has been provided with the job description, you could mention this and say it's around the amount you're looking for.
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