Types of interview questions
- General background - Often the first question is a request for a summary of your background. People applying for their first job should focus on extracurricular activities, education, and qualifications. It is quite acceptable to repeat major points you have outlined in your CV or letter of application
- Qualifications - A specific question often asked is "Why do you think you are qualified for this position?" Qualifications, in this context, mean all qualifications which could make you suitable for the position including educational, employment-related and personal. In most cases, this may be the question that will win or lose you the job, so your answer needs to be clear and memorable
- Experience - Here is where your research pays off. Your answer should include details about relevant employment, community or educational experience and a discussion of the nature of the industry, the organisation and the position itself
- Reasons for applying - If you are applying for your first, or one of your first jobs, your answer should describe what you find appealing about the position, how you prepared yourself for a career in the organisation and how you believe your present job equips you for the position in question
- Career objectives - Be ready to discuss your long-term aspirations. Your best approach is one that indicates you have thought about your career in these terms and have taken some action towards realising your ambitions
- Crisis management - In some organisations, employers give candidates questions designed to test their ability in situations or crises
Sample interview questions
- What job would you like if you had a completely free choice?
- Why are you seeking a position with our company?
- Why do you want to be a *****?
- How do you cope with pressure situations? Have an example ready
- Have you come across a situation like this? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
- What are your greatest achievements to date?
- What interests you most/least about this job?
- Describe a situation where you have... (as mentioned earlier, this is the style of questioning used in competency based interviewing, so have relevant examples at the ready.)
- What salary are you looking for? (Do your homework beforehand! Check out Hays Salary Guide)
Questions to ask the Interviewer
Towards the end of the interview, you will usually be asked if you have any questions of your own. Be confident when asking your questions. We suggest preparing a list of questions you want to ask about the organisation and the position. These could include:
- What training and induction will be given?
- What prospects are there for personal and professional development?
- What attributes would you hope that I bring to the job?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
- What do you like best about working at the company?
- What specific problems are you hoping to solve during the first six months?
- What are your goals for the department?