Whether you are 16 or 60, some questions will always be asked in job interviews, and while the first few times these questions might seem difficult to answer, over time you will be able to answer them with confidence and get the job you want.
At some point in your life, in an interview, the below questions will get fired at you, so preparation is vital. Start to think about how you might answer these questions and also how you can use these questions to promote your CV in a positive light.
Here are our hacks to answering the tough interview questions and making them work for you.
1. Tell me about yourself ?
It sounds simple enough, right? But in most cases when this question gets asked suddenly, you go blank and you can’t think of what to say.
Sure you know yourself, no one else knows you like you do, but trying to articulate what drives you, what motivates you and what you strive for in your day to day life can be a difficult question to answer.
Come prepared with some bullet points in your head and then use those as your base to answer the question and make sure you always keep your responses positive and professional; no one wants to know that you are known for your party tricks and your love of pranking people.
Instead, describe some of your skills and experience that relates to the job you have applied for by giving examples of where you have solved problems or been creative in your thinking.
2. What’s your biggest weakness?
This is one of the hardest questions you’ll be asked in an interview setting. It’s hard to discuss your weaknesses (let alone in a high-stress situation like this) but there is a trick to nailing this question.
You just have to turn the negative into a positive, one of the reasons an interviewer will ask this question is to see if you are able to identify aspects of your own work ethic that might need improving. For example, you can mention skills that aren’t critical for the role or discuss skills you have improved on.
Try something like “I am too much of a perfectionist” or “I work too hard sometimes”. They’re good ones to get you started.
3. Why didn’t you like your last job?
This is a hard one as well because the interviewer is trying to get you to answer negatively, so flip it and incorporate a positive angle.
Try something like, “I didn’t have enough challenges and after a while the projects became repetitive. I love a challenge”. Stay away from bad-mouthing the company or the past job as it will reflect on you badly. Always focus on the tasks instead of the company politics or people.
4. Why should I hire you?
A good start is matching your experience or qualifications to the job requirements, even if you don’t have experience in the job you're applying for this is your time to tap into your personal traits and qualities that fit the role. Also, talk through your strengths that align with the job requirements at hand.
For example: “You should hire me because I am enthusiastic about everything I do, I love to think outside the box and I won’t stop until I get the job done. I am an effective communicator and I’d love to further my skills within your company.”
Follow this with an example of how you’ve used those skills in the past, something like, “I remember when all of the computers crashed at my part time job and I stayed back with the manager. We manually put barcodes through the system so we could get on top of the trade from the day. It didn’t bother me that I needed to stay late, I offered to do so, this way we could get the job done”. You’ll build a stronger case by “showing vs telling” so use stories to better showcase your skills and abilities.
Interviews are never easy, but they do get easier with practice and as time goes on.
Role play the question and answer scenarios with people within your circle to ensure you are prepared for whatever the interviewer throws at you. At the end of the day, the company is looking for someone to join their team, so they need you as much as you need them – go in with confidence and that will help minimise your nerves.
Always remember to think about your answer before you give it, keep your body language interested in the questions and try to find some common ground with the interviewer so you are memorable.