Interview Questions and Ideas
Questions more typically asked at first interview
- What can you tell me about yourself?
Your CV provides the details of your skills and experience highlighting the importance of a solid well-written CV as a foundation. Highlight any key abilities or past successes which are relevant to the role you are applying for. Talk briefly about your achievements attempting to identify wins where you have saved Time, money (£) or increase/decrease (%) wins. Be sure to provide an overview of yourself as a person, the hopes you have for the role and how it ties in with your overall career goals and ambitions.
- Why do you want to work for us?
Be confident in the research you have done on the business and you will be able to talk compellingly about the business and how you can positively contribute and impact on it. Align your values and goals with that of the organisation and discuss how your past experiences and current skills make you a great fit. If an aspect of the position or project particularly appeals to you then be sure to highlight it and what you hope to achieve within the role.
- Can you give an example of where you’ve been able to use your leadership skills?
Even if you’re not in a management role, you must cite an example where you took the reins. Whether you organised a group to achieve a deadline on a project or stepped up when your manager was away, the ability to lead is an attractive trait to most employers, particularly when considering the long-term career progression of their staff.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Talk about your strengths that directly link back to the competencies outlined in the description linking your fit and suitability for the role. Avoid volunteering any weaknesses although if they have questioned you already on a weakness or area they feel may not be as strong a fit for the role, now is your opportunity to put a positive spin on it!
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Research the company structure to pitch your aspirations more realistically than jumping straight in with I want to be FD or MD. If there is a position you aspire to or you hope to one day move into, explain why and how you envision your career progressing long-term. Try not to evaluate using 1/2/3 year development examples try and use language like short, medium and long-term. This way you will avoid tripping yourself up in not exceeding or undervaluing your own progression in line with what the client may see as a realistic timescale for progression or development.
- What is your greatest achievement?
Use the selection criteria to identify which of your achievements showcase you in order to utilise your skills the interviewer is interested in.
- Why should we hire you?
Describe the skills and experience you’ve gained that best qualify you to fulfil the duties listed in the job description. Any unique projects you have worked on or companies that have led to experiences you will be able to apply in the role are highly beneficial. Similarly, any additional skills that fall outside the described requirements which would enable you to perform in the role better than someone who does not possess these abilities should be discussed.
- Are you a team player?
Almost every role requires some level of teamwork, so it’s important to highlight your ability to work with others and provide an example of how you have done so to a positive effect in the past. However, it’s also good to touch on the fact that you are also very capable of working by yourself when required.
- What are your salary expectations?
It is important to have a salary range in mind that is reasonable and fair but also satisfies your financial obligations and lifestyle. Try and give a range rather than a specific number. It is also a good idea to word this answer using your peers or others who are at an expected level. For example, attending an interview for a newly qualified accounting role you may use the following example; “Peers who I have trained alongside are on c£34-38k (for example) and as I would consider myself a strong candidate amongst my peers I would hope for my salary to be reflective of this mark.”
- Do you have any questions for us?
You should always be prepared with questions to ask in an interview. Use this opportunity to build rapport with the interviewer. Asking questions gives you the opportunity to learn more about the position, the organisation and ultimately who you will be working alongside or reporting to. The answers to this question can give you the confidence you will be able to work happily and successfully in the role.