Interviews questions you can expect
99% of all interviews have a similar format: an introduction phase, and information phase, questions from the company, questions from you and a closing phase. Sometimes they are mixed up, but in general, they follow this recipe, and then the interview questions from the company are being fired at you the chance of hearing one of these is quite high. Let’s look at five interview questions that you can prepare and have the answers at your fingertips to give you an extra confidence boost.
Tell me about yourself?
Interviewers asking this aren’t trying to audition for a blockbuster movie role, they genuinely feel it’s a good start to set the scene for further questions. The trouble is that people tend to ramble. The best way to answer this is to ask the interviewer: “Where would you like me to start?” Most interviewers then say from after your studies, which allows you to focus on a brief summary of your CV instead of taking them on a slow drive along memory lane, through your childhood years, schooling and so on.
In addition to finding out where in time you should begin, also find out if they want a career or personal history. If they don’t say, keep it career-focused. You should practise getting your history out in under 60 seconds, especially if it’s a telephonic interview. Longer than that and you’re wasting your own precious interview time.
Where do you want to be in five years?
While this question sounds so silly, since, well, who stays in a job for five years any more? That’s not the point of the question. The main aim of the interviewer here is to see what ambitions you have, if any at all. Make sure you know what to answer here. Give yourself a realistic goal and keep it short.
Answers could go along the lines of: “I’m looking to grow into a managerial position in five years, although I’m not sure if I prefer to work in claims or re-insurance. I’m hoping to get experience in those fields by that time.”
Tell me about a time when you handled [insert something negative here].
Many interview questions are behavioural, testing how you would react in certain situations and listening to the words you use to describe the events asked about. An example is: “Tell me about a time you didn’t agree with the team and how you handled it.” These are great opportunities to show the interviewer that you can handle challenging situations.
First off, use two or three steps to shorten your answer. Start with the scenario at the beginning and describe what had to be done or what you had to do. Then go into the meat of the matter: how you handled it. Don’t say “we”, say “I”. Lastly, give the result and what transpired. This is often called the STAR method of questioning and answering.
What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Interviews questions like this are there to see if you’ve thought about yourself and what you can do and where you need to grow. Make sure to mention a maximum of three points for each side and also to give ways that you are seeking to improve the weaknesses.
What are your salary expectations?
Red alert! Don’t talk about salary in the first interview (or the second), but rather wait until they bring it up, hopefully only at the end of the process when you have already shown them you are valuable and worth hiring. This question is more closely covered on this website in an article about salary negotiations. Basically, the trick is to answer the question without giving out a number.
Other interviews questions
There are many other questions that may be relevant only to your industry. An engineering firm may ask a civil engineer something about projects that everyone always gets asked. Make sure that you prepare for these – it’s literally like an exam where you know some of the questions – make sure you get 100%