Hiring managers choose their interview questions carefully to help separate the most attractive candidates from those who don’t have what it takes.
Each business will have its list of “essential” questions, but some are more common than others. Not every interviewer asks questions in a logical order. Some may move through your CV or the job description, while others are quite random in the way they ask.
However, being prepared with answers in the way we suggest will help you navigate any interview scenario that comes your way.
Questions to practice include:
- Tell me about yourself?
It may sound like an old-school-style opening, but it is still a popular question that interviewers start with. It is a recognised way to calm down interview nerves, surprisingly, on both sides, i.e. you and the interviewer and leads to different questions later on.
Logically this is an easy question to answer provided you have a context. Though your recruitment consultant will have talked about you to the hiring manager, the key goal of the interview is for the hiring company to get to know you and assess if you will be a good fit for the role and organisational culture. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate clearly and effectively, connect with and react to other humans, and present yourself professionally.
This question isn’t about communicating who your favourite football team is or the breed of dog you have. The information you share here is about your work journey.
A good flow would be.
What you are currently doing, the breadth of your responsibilities and what you are involved with. Follow this by talking through your past roles and what prompted you to move.
Finally, share your ambitions, how you want your career to develop and why you are now applying to their organisation as the next step. Unconsciously, the interviewer allows you to demonstrate that you are the logical hire for them to make.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Most [Sector] companies today want to hire people with compatible visions to their own. If you’ve done your research and looked at the company’s vision statement, you’ll be able to communicate how your goals align with theirs.
For instance, if your company wants to make the world a better place, you can also describe your vision of positively impacting the planet. Where possible, outline how you plan on reaching your goals.
You can discuss potential courses or training opportunities you’re looking into or areas where you’re expanding your skills.
- What are your biggest strengths and development areas?
This question is widely considered one of the most challenging interview questions.
When addressing your strengths, recall the job description and the research you did. What kind of characteristics, skills, or competencies did the company mention? Ideally, you’ll want to match your strengths to the role’s requirements.
The key here is to communicate your strength and how people experience its impact. If you are tenacious, give an example of how your tenacity delivered a result for your current or past organisation.
As you describe situations and scenarios like this, the interviewer can begin to connect your skill/trait or strength and how it will help their organisation.
When outlining your weaknesses, don’t just choose common options like “perfectionism”. Think about the things you’re actively taking steps to address. For instance, you may say a development need is that you don’t have a certain qualification, but you’re looking at the process to acquire it.
- Why should I hire you?
Hiring managers are looking for evidence you’re the best candidate for the job, so if this question appears, the response you give should highlight why you are ideal for the role.
Focus on the things which make you particularly impressive to your intended employer.
For instance, if your hiring manager mentioned the importance of punctuality in the job description, explain how you have never arrived late to work or a meeting or shift in your last role. Talk about the results you have delivered for your current or previous employer. Communicate the passions and unique skills which set you apart from the competition.
- How have prior experiences prepared you for this role?
This question is an opportunity to match your previous professional experiences with the unique skills and characteristics your new employer is looking for.
Recall the job description for this role and what kind of things you’ll be responsible for in your new position, then connect those responsibilities with projects you’ve managed in the past.
Whether you are asked this question or not, make sure that you communicate what you have delivered in previous roles, especially if they align with the role description for the job you are applying for.
6. Have you ever had to deal with a workplace conflict?
Today’s workplaces are filled with employees from various walks of life. There are around five generations in any workplace at present. It means there’s a good chance you’re going to have to tackle conflict at some point in your professional life.
Discuss how you’ve dealt with “minor” conflicts and disagreements in the past. It is your chance to show how you can appreciate and listen to the points of view of others.7. Why are you leaving your current job?
One of the golden rules of any great interview is: never badmouth another employer. Saying bad things about your current manager will make you look childish or petty. Top tip: don’t complain about previous work colleagues; it’s unnecessary and never puts you across in a good light.
Instead, explain how this new role seems to fit your goals and skills perfectly, once again drawing attention to what makes you ideal for the position.
Be honest if your reason for moving is a lack of opportunity, development or flexibility. Your recruitment consultant will put you forward for the opportunities you have said you wanted, so be honest with your hiring manager.
If you’re currently unemployed, you can discuss how you’ve been looking for an opportunity to work with a company where you can thrive.
8. Tell me about something you are proud of achieving in your work life?
When a hiring manager asks you what you’re most proud of, they’re listening to your answer and then making the connections from there to understand what you enjoy and where you can add value to their organisation.
Logically then, this is an additional opportunity to share your accomplishments.9. Give me an example of how you identified and solved a problem in your current role?
Employers want to employ people who can be proactive and solve problems. This question can show the interviewer how you apply your problem-solving and critical thinking skills to overcome challenges and achieve success. Use an example from a past experience that highlights your thinking process; what you did, how you solved the problem and what the result was.
and finally...10. Why do you want to work here?
Your new employer is looking for an employee committed to learning, growing, and thriving with their business. They want to know you’re passionate about not just the job you’re applying for, but the company too.
With this in mind, use the information you collected when researching the company to highlight everything you like about the business. Discuss your values and how they align well with the vision or mission of the organisation.
You can let your passion shine through when answering these questions.
How Can We Help?
Here at Lucy Walker Recruitment, we have been helping businesses with their talent acquisition and job seekers find their ideal role for 30 years.
If you want to find out how we can help you call us on 0113 367 2880 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org