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Common Interview Questions
From the ordinary to the weird and wacky, this series covers the common interview questions an employer might ask. For each question, we’ve got the tips and tricks to help you nail your answer – breaking down the reasons why employers might choose to ask it, possible responses, and what to avoid when answering these interview questions!
Check out your study guide on how to answer common job interview questions:
Tell me about yourself
This interview question may seem simple, but when it comes down to it interviewees often find themselves wondering, what does the interviewer really want to know and how much should I be ‘telling’?
Why do you want to work for us?
An employer will want to find out the motivations behind your job application and not just because you stumbled across it on a jobs board. This interview question also provides an ideal opportunity for you to enforce why and how you would be a perfect fit for the company.
What are your salary expectations?
Working out the best way to answer this job interview question requires careful consideration – because you need to avoid sounding unrealistic, while at the same time making sure that you don’t seem indifferent.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
This interview question can often catch candidates off guard, especially for those who haven’t come across it before in a job interview – you will be tested on your level of self-awareness, your skillset, as well as your composure and communication skills.
What is your greatest achievement?
When answering interview questions like this, it is important to think carefully before you answer – you need to avoid sounding unrealistic, while at the same time making sure that you don’t seem indifferent.
Do you have any questions for me?
The chance to ask questions at the end of your interview is your opportunity to find out details of the role you’ve been dying to know – so if you’ve been wondering what the company culture is like, or would like to find out a little more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job, it is the best time to find out if the role is right for you.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Working out the best way to answer this graduate job interview question requires careful consideration. You need to ensure that your 5 year plan aligns with the company's 5 year goals. You need to prove to the employer that you are commited to the role, whilst still showing you are ambitious in your endeavours.
Why should we hire you?
Although it might seem one of the most straightforward job interview questions, ‘Why should we hire you?’ can actually be one of the toughest questions to answer, because you’ll need to sell yourself whilst being careful not to sound arrogant. To decide how best to answer it, it’s important to reflect on why this interview question is actually being asked.
What are your hobbies and interests?
When put on the spot, selecting your hobbies and interests that are simultaneously work-appropriate and not too vague can present a real challenge - especially under time pressure.
Are you interviewing anywhere else?
If you’re not interviewing anywhere else, does that decrease your value? And if you reveal every detail of companies and roles you’ve been applying to, are you breaking any rules?
How do you handle stress?
Every job will involve some level of stress – so employers want to know that you can handle it in a professional and constructive way. But what’s the best way to approach this common interview question?
Describe yourself in 3 words
Attempting to describe your personality in a graduate job interview can be tricky – and this is especially true when you’re limited to just a few words. What's the best approach to this common job interview question?
What motivates you at work?
Despite being one of the most common interview questions, ‘what motivates you at work?’ will often catch graduates off-guard; so it’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared to answer it. Find out the best way to answer this question, example answers as well as what to avoid when answering.
The STAR technique
The STAR technique is a highly effective way of answering many different graduate job interview questions. The situation, task, action, result format can be used to answer competency-based interview questions, by drawing upon real examples and tangible results. Find out how to use the STAR technique in a graduate job interview:
Now you’ve thought about your answers to common interview questions, take a look at our other advice to ensure that you ace every part of the interview. From what to wear, to how to relax before the big day, we’ve got you covered with more interview tips and tricks.