As someone once said, job interviews are like first dates – good impressions count, awkwardness can occur and outcomes are unpredictable. While we like to think of interviews as a two way process, it’s often easier to prepare if you view the company as your customer. This moves the focus from you to them and helps you answer the most frequently asked top 10.
Tell us about yourself.
Stick to edited highlights. All you need are a few sentences that help them understand who you are and what you’ve done. Keep it relevant to the job in hand but don’t be afraid to show some personality.
What do you know about the company?
Always do more than a basic skim of their website. Search social media to discover recent projects, campaigns and activities and probe your recruiting agent for company brand values. The more research you’ve done, the easier it will be to shine.
Why do you want this job/want to work here?
Companies crave candidates looking for more than just a salary. Armed with your background research you can show that you’re genuinely interested in them and the position on offer.
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
For strengths, think leadership, decision-making and people skills and be ready to back your claims with examples from previous positions. Weaknesses are trickier, but honesty can be a real differentiator, especially if you can show that you’re addressing your particular issue through training or other development work.
Tell us about a challenge/conflict at work and how you dealt with it.
Such scenarios often arise from unexpected situations or mismatched expectations. Don’t bad mouth past employers or incriminate yourself. This is an assessment of tact and diplomacy as much as a gauge of skills.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Companies interview for assets rather than seat fillers. It’s fine to be ambitious, but most recruitment occurs to achieve short term goals like increasing revenue or finding new customers. Craft an answer that helps your interviewer see how you’ll positively impact the company now and for the future.
What other jobs have you applied for/are you considering?
AKA how serious is your job hunt and how much competition do we have? Be honest but stick to broad details rather than comparing packages.
What would you do in the first 30/60/90 days in this role?
Broadly the first 30 days should be spent listening and getting to know the business. From there you’ll be considering how the role supports the company strategy and what improvements you might make. Make sure you’ve thought this through.
Why should we hire you?
Best answer – because you can do almost everything asked for in their job description and then some. If you can bring examples of already doing what they’re just setting out to achieve, they’ll love you even more.
Do you have any questions for us?
Background research should have raised questions related to the role, but you can also ask about the organisation or even the wider industry. Show you’ve done your homework.
Looking for more help and advice? Check out our ultimate guide to interviews here.