If you’re looking for a job, you know what a time consuming process it can be. However, it’s important not to forget about preparing for the interview, and it’s never too early to start. If hunting for a job is a marathon, the job interview is a sprint. Often you won’t have much time between getting a phone call and going in for a chat. It’ll be over before you know it, and you have a limited space of time to cover as much ground as possible.
It’s natural to feel nervous. But there’s no need to let your nerves get the better of you, and with the right interview prep work, you’ll sail through the interview with no trouble at all. Let’s talk about the most common interview questions and how best to answer them. Here are the top 8 interview questions for you to prep your answers for.
Common interview questions and answers
- Why are you the right person for the job?
- Why do you want to work for this organisation/company?
- What’s a time you dealt with a challenge or a conflict in the workplace?
- What’s an area you need to develop?
- Why are you moving on from your current/former workplace?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Curveballs! What’s something about you that we don’t already know? What’s a question that you wish we’d asked you? What’s your favourite movie and why?
- Do you have any questions for me?
1. Why are you the right person for the job?
I can’t tell you the answer for this one, it’s up to you. My one piece of advice is to keep it simple. The interviewer wants to hear why you’re an excellent candidate, so crank up your confidence levels and be honest about why you think you’re the person they’re looking for.
2. Why do you want to work for this organisation/company?
This is an opportunity for you to show the panel you know a lot about the company. You cannot be too well prepared on this topic. Read about the company online, know their website back-to-front, make sure you’re aware of who the CEO is and what the company’s ethos is. Explain why you love what they’re doing and why you want to be given an opportunity to contribute to their work.
3. What’s a time you dealt with a challenge or a conflict in the workplace?
There is conflict in every single workplace, but here’s where you prove you can deal with interpersonal tension professionally and with maturity.
4. What’s an area you need to develop?
You can give this question a positive spin by choosing an area of your field you’d love to learn more about. This way you’re both answering their question, as well as demonstrating a commitment to personal development.
5. Why are you moving on from your current/former workplace?
There are heaps of reasons people change jobs. Be honest. Or if you’re not comfortable going into further detail you may simply say you’re ready for the next challenge.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is a job interview, so try to keep your answer mostly professional.
7. Curveballs! What’s something about you that we don’t already know? What’s a question that you wish we’d asked you? What’s your favourite movie and why?
This is the question where they want to see you on your toes, responding to something that’s not on the formal agenda. But now that you know a question like this is coming, you can expect the unexpected. Don’t overthink it, or make your response too long. Often these questions are a chance for you to reveal a bit about yourself.
8. Do you have any questions for me?
Don’t be shy, now! Accepting a job offer is a big deal, and you need to know what the conditions are. For instance, you might ask what a typical day of work in the position would involve.
Time to get ready for your interview
According to Dr Ebbinghaus’ theory of Serial Position Effect, humans are able to recall the first and last items on a list far more easily than those in the middle. If this rule were to apply to a long list of interviews over the course of the day, the candidates being interviewed halfway through may not be easily recalled to memory by the panel. Find a way to stand out, like wearing a tie or blouse with a pattern.
On the day of the interview, make sure you bring a printed copy of your resume, dress in clean, neat clothing and give yourself plenty of travel time! As the interview closes, be sure to thank the interviewer or panel for having you. Once you’ve landed your dream job come back to learn how to have the best first week!
These common interview questions aren’t tricks, or designed to trip you up. It’s important not to think of a job interview as a test, but as an opportunity. Attitude is everything, so in the lead up to the interview practice reminding yourself that you are the solution to a problem: a company needs a new employee, and you are the person they have been searching for. Good luck! You now have all the knowledge need to ace any interview you’re offered.
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