An important part of preparing for your interview is practicing answers to the questions you are likely to be asked. While it's difficult to predict exactly what these will be, there are a few easy things to remember that will help you field whatever comes your way.
Remember that the reason the interviewers are meeting with you is to find out if you can perform the role, that you really want the position, and that you are going to fit in with the culture of the company. To answer questions well, make sure you know yourself, your ambitions, and as much about the company as you can.
Standard Interview Questions
As a guide you should be well prepared to speak on the following:
- Your current role and responsibilities
- Why you are considering leaving your current employer
- Your skills (strengths)
- Areas of improvement (weaknesses)
- Your academic background and studies or qualifications
- Your short and long term goals
- Your salary expectations
- Your skills and knowledge that are relevant to this role
- Your technical skills including typing and word processing
- The software packages you are familiar with
And finally, yourself!
- Interpersonal skills
- Interests outside work
BEHAVIOURAL BASED QUESTIONS
While most interviewers ask straight forward questions around your skills and experience you should also prepare for "behavioral based questions". These are questions that aim to predict your future behaviour by assessing your reactions in past or hypothetical situations. These questions usually take the format of:
Can you tell me about a situation where you were put under extreme pressure. How did you cope? How did you deal with the pressure? How did the situation resolve?
To answer a behavioural question like this, try to reflect on a recent occasion that fits the scenario, explain what happened and what steps you took to manage the situation and how it was resolved. Give your answer logically and don't be too concerned if it takes time to come up with an example. You may need to gather your thoughts before answering. Most importantly, make sure that your example demonstrates your effectiveness in the situation.
Other areas that often arise in similar form relate to the following behaviours;
- Organisational skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Workplace Conflict
- Time management
- Dealing with superiors
Take time to consider what your strengths and weaknesses are. Feel free to ask your consultant to suggest what likely questions may arise with respect to your past experience and CV.
Above all, be yourself! If you try to be someone you're not, the employer will likely pick up on it. Essentially they are trying to get to know the real you.
Questions you need to ask:
Most interviewers will invite you to ask questions of your own, so have at least a couple of them in mind. This will show that you have prepared for the interview, and are genuinely interested in the position and the firm!
After you've done some research, think of some things you'd like to know about the employer's:
- Team and organization structure
- Attitude to training
Do greet the receptionist or assistant with courtesy and respect. This is where you make your first impression.
Do make good eye contact with your interviewer(s).
Do highlight what benefits you can bring to the company.
Don't leave your mobile phone on.
Don't use poor language, slang, and pause words (such as "like," "uh," and "um").
Don't chew gum during the interview.
Don't say anything negative about former colleagues, supervisors, or employers.
Don't bring up any "what's in it for me questions" about salary or bonuses.
While the lead up to an interview can be stressful and particularly busy, the actual interviews are usually friendly, informal and enjoyable for most. The best advice we can give you is to be yourself in an interview, prepare thoroughly and be relaxed.
Click here to download our Example Interview Question Sheet. (Microsoft Word Document)