Questions you may be asked in an interview (and how to prepare for them)

Interviews can be nerve-wrecking. It is always a good idea to do an interview if you are offered one, even if you aren’t that excited about the possibility of working there or had other plans. I would say practice makes perfect, but there is no such thing as a perfect interview. The more practice you get however, the more confident you will become. It is not usual to be sat in an office with a stranger asking you questions about yourself, your education history and where you see yourself in five years time. Getting comfortable in this situation will develop your confidence and help you to develop skills. Some companies and organisations provide feedback after an interview. Some places do not follow-up after an interview. Don’t be disappointed if you do not get offered a job after an interview. It probably means there was something better for you in store. Starting off in your career field can be difficult, and it is good to get experience as early as possible. Even if you volunteer for a couple of days, this can look good on your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and show that you have a strong initiative.

There are lots of possible questions an interviewer might ask you. Below I have listed a few and some pointers.

1. Tell me about yourself. No, they do not want to know what your favourite restaurant is or who is your favourite spotify artist is. This question gives you a chance to talk about your education history and where you have worked in the past. You may want to include some hobbies and interests for this question if it relates to the job you are going for. Tell the interviewer your goals and ambitions, what you would like to achieve in the future and why you liked your course/previous work experience.

2. What do you know about this company and why would you like to work here?
This is definitely something you should prepare for in advance. It doesn’t take weekend of preparation and shows you are interested in the company and aware of the services they provide or products they produce. Saying you would like to work there because of the salary is a big turnoff. Show some interest in what they actually do. Research their competitors in advance too. Don’t compare them in the interview but make some mental observations as to how this company stands out.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years time? This isn’t asking you necessarily what company you will be working for. What country do you see yourself living in? What position at work? Do you see yourself being happy at work?

4. What is important to you in a career? Relationships with colleagues? Location? Work benefits? Salary? Potential to be promoted? Working hours? Facilities? Workload? The interviewer may not necessarily ask this but it is something you could be prepared for or mention.

5. What skills could you bring to this position that nobody else could? If any of your previous work placements stand out from the crowd, mention this. To prepare in advance, you could write a list of all the places you have worked for before and write down what skills are gained at each. (communication skills, teamwork skills, leadership skills, IT skills, reliability, time management skills..). Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. The interviewer may also ask you what are your strengths and weaknesses? (Everybody has both strengths and weaknesses, whether they like to admit it or not)

6. What is a challenge you were faced with in the past and how did you deal with it? This may require some thought. People may face many challenges at work on a weekly basis and this question may be easy for them. It doesn’t have to be too complicated an answer. Something like that you were having difficulty setting up a powerpoint to present for a group and how you overcame this issue. Or that you were not able to access the printer using your card and had to seek assistance. Asking help at any time is not a bad thing, I might add. Nobody knows everything (especially starting off in a new job).

Notice your voice when you are speaking. You do not want to sound like a robot. You want to sound natural and as if the conversation is effortless. It does not want to sound rehearsed, scripted or as if you have been brainwashed. You should naturally know your own strengths and weaknesses, work experience etc without having to think (too long) about them.

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