Job interviews can be a nerve-racking experience and often the more you want the job the harder it is to come across well. However, there are some excellent ways in which candidates can ensure that they create a great first impression and give clear, well thought out answers to questions.
The key is to prepare fully in advance – research the company’s website and think of key questions you would like to ask them.
There are 5 commonly used questions at interviews and here is our advice from Aspire Cambridge on how to answer them well. Remember that the interviewer wants to get to know the real you, so make sure your examples are honest and relevant for you.
HOW TO ANSWER 5 MOST POPULAR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1.) Why do you want this job?
This is your opportunity to show that you really do want the role, have researched the company and want to be part of it. Include:
a) Why you want to join the company overall – eg enjoy a fast paced environment, passionate about their products / services, interested in the industry.
b) Why you want the specific job role – eg fits my previous experience, enjoy interacting with customers, love the thrill of developing and closing a sale, multi-tasking etc. Look through the job description to pick out key things that they are looking for that you have to offer, and refer to the key points from here that appeal to you.
2.) Tell me about yourself
This opened-ended question often throws people who are unsure where to start and how much information to give.
Our advice is to start with the present, then the past and the future.
For example: “I am an administrator with two years’ experience working in a fast paced FMCG environment. During my time at [company] I have really enjoyed working under pressure and multi-tasking but have got to a point where there is nowhere for me to progress and I’m ready for my next challenge. I want to join [this company] because I think I would fit into the role and company really well and see opportunities for me to develop, grow and progress in the long term.”
3.) What is your biggest weakness?
Essentially what the interviewer means is: ‘do you know where you need to improve and what have you done about it so far?’
Lots of people will say that they are too much of a perfectionist, but this answer has been used so many times that it lacks impact. Instead, it is better to be honest and focus on something else that used to be a real weakness but that you have made lots of progress on already to improve and the positive steps you took to do this.
For example: “I am confident in meetings but used to get nervous presenting in large forums. Over the last year I have made great progress on this by preparing slides well in advance, practicing at home and building my confidence. My last presentation was to 30 people which went well and I will continue to work on this.”
4.) Give me an example of where you failed at something at work
This is your chance to show that you are up for a challenge, can handle difficult situations and learn from your mistakes positively and bounce back quickly.
For example: “I was handling an influx of customer complaints under time pressure and missed an important email from a key client. As soon as I realised I called the client straight away to apologise which calmed the situation and then went above and beyond the norm to resolve their problem as quickly as possible. I then put a new process in place for managing my emails to avoid this happening again.”
5.) Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In short, the interviewer wants to know if you are looking for a long term career with their company and how ambitious you are.
Be careful here not to be so ambitious that it puts the interviewer off, ie if they will be your line manager then do not suggest that you expect to be managing them within the next two years. Instead, show that you do want to grow and play a key role within the company over the next five years.
For example: “If successful, I see myself playing a key role within [company] over the next five years, particularly in the key areas I am interested in of list these areas]. I would like to play a key role in some of the exciting projects we have discussed and to develop my skills further in the process.”
Aspire Cambridge are experts in recruitment and provide a friendly, fast and efficient service, matching candidates perfectly to their ideal job roles. If you are looking for your next role or a new member to join your team, call us team today on 01223 855440, or email us your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.