8 of our favourite interview questions you should prep for

Have you ever sat in an interview and fluffed a question?

Been there. Done that.

But if you don’t know what questions you’re going to be asked, how can you prepare? Well, we’re glad you asked. While you can never be 100% sure what questions will make the cut, there are a few common ones that companies like to use.

Between us, here are the top interview questions you need to be ready for.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Ah, that old chestnut. It’s about as boring and uninspiring as that weekly team meeting you sit through every Monday morning, but you’ll 100% be asked this at the start of your job interview — so make sure you prep something.

The purpose of this question is to get to know you – a combination of your skills, qualities, characteristics and personality. What makes you authentic.

As this is a job interview, you should start by talking about all the work stuff, i.e., how you started, what motivates you, and what type of education you had (unless it’ll go against you).

Now, move on to your hobbies and interests. And make sure you bring some personality to the table. Unless the job ad specifically states that the company wants someone with less personality than a brick, make them smile, make them laugh, but please, leave the dad jokes at home, alright?

Why should we hire you?

Another classic interview question that almost every company will ask you. Here you have the opportunity to really stand out and show the interviewer what you’ll bring to the company if they hire you.

Be specific. Be confident. And do some research beforehand. The best answer will solve any problems or pain points the employer mentioned in the job ad. If you’ve solved similar problems in the past, tell it as a story. Humans love stories — have done since we were kids. This will definitely score plus points.

What are your weaknesses?

I hate to break it to you, but you’re not perfect. C’mon, nobody is. And if you try to convince the person sitting opposite you that you don’t have any weaknesses, or you say something like, “I’m a perfectionist”, they’ll run a mile. So be honest, open up about your weaknesses. But do it smartly. 

How? You ask. Well, let’s pretend the job requires a little bit of admin. Instead of saying, “My communication skills aren’t great,” say, “I’m constantly working on my communication skills to improve. I have recently signed up for a such-and-such course, which I’m finding really helpful”.  

See what I did there? Rather than being a negative Nancy, be a positive Peter and show that you’re eager to learn and improve. It will soften the blow and make it sound less of a ‘bad’ thing.

What are your salary expectations?

Money talk can be awkward. And the last thing you want to do is sell yourself short or price yourself out of a job offer. The trick here is to always use a range. Never say one number, even if you have a figure in mind.

If you have no idea what you’d like to be paid, or you’re new to the industry and don’t know the going rate, do a quick Google search. There are plenty of sites online that tell you the average salary for almost every job based on the employer, job title, location and experience. Check other job ads for similar roles, too.

What are your strengths?

This is a biggie. Whenever you answer a question about your strengths, always talk about things that match what the company is looking for, and things that will set you apart from others. 

And remember, show rather than tell. Instead of saying you’re a top dog at problem-solving, tell a story about how you’ve solved a problem in the past. Use real-life examples from your career.

Oh, and avoid saying basic things like “I’m a hard worker,” or “I’m passionate,” or “I’m just great all-round”. They show a lack of thought and make you sound like a 9th grader who’s never had a job.

Why are you leaving (or have left) your current role?

Even if your boss was a jerk, you weren’t valued, and your coworker’s favourite past-time was gossiping and oversharing, avoid being negative in your answer to this question as it could backfire.

Did you know there’s such a thing called spontaneous trait inference? Basically, it’s when you start saying bad stuff, and the other person’s brain assigns those traits to you. So if you say things like “Hate,” or “Bad,” or “Terrible,” they’ll think you’re talking about yourself.

However much you hated your last job, now’s not the time to vent your anger. Stay calm and frame your response to position yourself in a good light. You can even say something simple like “It wasn’t the right fit but it was a valuable experience because you learnt xyz about yourself”.

What are your career goals?

Do you see a future at the company? Or are you a job hopper? Where do you want your career to take you? 

This question will identify whether you plan on sticking around or jumping ship as soon as something better comes up. No matter what your plans, focus on the job and the company you are interviewing for, and make it clear that you see a long-term future with them.

Do you have any questions for me?

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will probably ask you if you have any questions for them. It gives you a chance to clear up any confusion, or if you’re really clever, show that you’ve been doing some research by asking something specific about the business but that is NOT easily researchable on Wikipedia.

Always have a two or three at the ready. Asking a question shows that you’re generally interested in the company and the things you’re expected to do. The best questions to ask are those that are not publicly known. So use your noggin’, and spend some time doing a bit of deep research. We’ve made a list of ideas for you here.

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