What do you know about us / our company?
This is important, and that’s why it comes first. It’s not a case of memorising their website and reciting it back, it’s more about understanding the company's goals and what they do, as well as being aware of any recent news articles or blogs.
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Simple? Wrong. Many people fail to prepare for this, but it's important. It’s not a potted history of your CV to date, but a five minute introduction to you, a brief overview of previous experience and why you’ve applied for their role.
Where do you feel your strengths lie?
Share your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear. If they align with the requirements of the role, even better. Be specific and follow up with an example of how you've demonstrated these traits in a previous job.
What are your weaknesses?
This question is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. Find a balance by thinking of something that you often struggle with, but you’re working to improve. Be careful not to highlight a weakness against a requirement for the job you’re applying for.
Can you give an example of a personal or professional achievement?
A good track record is an excellent way to up-sell yourself. Think of situations where you’ve not only been challenged, but have actually added value. For example, “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my Group ten hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%”.
What’s your motivation for leaving your current job?
No doubt you’ll be asked this question and it can be tough to answer. Keep things positive and frame things in a way that shows that you're eager to take on new opportunities - be careful not to contradict yourself.
What are you looking for in a new position?
The aim here is to highlight the key areas from the job description that you enjoy and have experience of - give examples in more detail. Be honest and passionate in your response.
Why do you feel you’re suited to this position?
Give a few examples of how your past experiences could be transferable to this role. There doesn't have to be a direct connection; actually, it's sometimes more impressive when a candidate can make seemingly irrelevant experience seem very relevant to the role.
What are your salary expectations?
Be careful not to blow it here! Do some research on other roles in the same geographical area and come up with a realistic range or where you would like to pitch yourself. If it’s not being advertised ask what the job is offering. Highlight your skills and experience, but that you want the job and are willing to negotiate. Use your previous or current salary as a benchmark.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Companies ask personal questions in an interview to see if candidates will fit in with their culture. Do keep it semi-professional, though. It is also a very good idea to review your social media presence and content, as it may give a company an insight to your personal life and habits.
Do you have any questions?
You probably already know that an interview isn't just a chance for a hiring manager to assess you - it's your opportunity to identify whether a job is the right fit for you. Is there anything you want to know about the position, the company, the department, the team? Is there anything the interviewer can tell you about new products or their plans for growth?