Interview preparation


Although the interview process is one with many inherent unknown factors, it is still the most vital part of the recruitment process. Making the right impression with an interviewer will mean the difference between a job offer and rejection, so it is a good idea to do your homework well before you meet with a potential employer.

Some interviews will be relaxed, some more structured and sophisticated, but the same basic ground rules will always apply:

  • Plan to arrive a little early, so that you are not thrown into a panic by any unforeseen delays. Make sure of your travel arrangements in advance.
  • Research the organisation and the business sector. Company web sites are a good source of information. Also read the business pages of the broadsheets to check for further information and an update on the business sector.
  • Check in advance who and how many people will be conducting the interview and whether they plan to utilise any personality or skills-testing techniques.
  • Dress smartly at all times, unless you have been advised that the company culture is extremely relaxed.
  • Be friendly and positive. For instance, it is not a good idea to criticise your current employer, unless you have an extremely good reason for so doing.
  • Be honest – it is the best strategy in the long term.

Interview questions

Below is a selection of the questions you may be asked in the course of a job interview. Prepare answers to the standard ones about why you want the job, what your career plans are, and what you perceive as your strengths and weaknesses. It cannot be emphasised more strongly – be prepared. Good luck!

Top Interview Questions:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What is your major achievement?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What do you know about our organisation?
  • How would you approach this job?
  • How do you manage your staff?
  • What do you look for in a manager?
  • What do you look for in a subordinate?
  • How do you decide on your objectives?
  • How do you manage your day?
  • What interests you most in your work?
  • What have you read recently that has taken your interest?
  • What sort of things do you like to delegate?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • In what environment do you work best?
  • What motivates you?
  • If you could change your current job in any way, how would you do it?
  • How have you changed over the last five years?
  • Where do you see yourself going in the next five years?
  • Describe a time when you felt you were doing well.
  • Describe a time when you felt that things were not going too well.
  • How do you work in a team?
  • What would your colleagues say about you?
  • How would your boss describe your work?
  • Tell me about a time when you successfully managed a difficult situation at work.
  • When were you most happy at work?
  • Who are you finding it difficult to work with right now? Why?
  • Given a choice in your work what, what do you like to do first?
  • Given a choice, what would you leave till last in your work?
  • On holiday, what do you miss most about your work?
  • What do you think you can bring to this position and company?
  • How do you see this job developing?
  • Why did you leave xyz?
  • Why have you stayed so long/for such a short time with your present company?
  • Why were you out of work so long?
  • Why were you made redundant/let go/fired?
  • If we asked for a reference, what would it say about you?
  • What do you think is your market value?
  • Why were you transferred/promoted?
  • What do you like best about your present job?
  • What did you learn in that job and how did it influence your career?
  • If you did not have to work what would you do?Why?
  • What will you do if you don’t get this job?
  • What other job have you applied for recently?
  • What decisions do you find easy to make?
  • What decisions do you find difficult to make?
  • When do you plan to retire?
  • What will you do in your retirement?
  • What training courses have you been on?
  • On what do you spend your disposable income?
  • How do you get the best out of people?
  • Which of your jobs has given you the greatest satisfaction?
  • How do you respond under stress? Can you provide a recent example?
  • This job has a large component of travel/sales/negotiation/stress. How will you cope with that?
  • What support/training will you need to do this job?
  • What will you look forward to most in this job?
  • What sort of person are you socially?
  • In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing this company/industry/sector?
  • How did you get into this line of work?
  • What other irons do you have in the fire for your next job?
  • What aspects of this job would you delegate?
  • What are the major influences that encourage you to take a job?
  • How does the job sound to you?
  • What questions have you for us?