Not everybody knows what they should prepare for when going to an interview. If you prepare for these questions then you will feel more confident, perform at a high level and ace your interview. If you make small mistakes they will be forgiven.
- Strengths and weaknesses
I would advise that you prepare five strengths and five weaknesses so you should always have enough examples to turn to when asked.
We talked about weaknesses in episode 52. You can go back to that to find more details on how to tackle this type of question using the 3Ps.
When you choose your strength, tell your story about it using the STAR method. Find out more on the Resources page.
Weave your answer into a story with some personal elements. It makes such a difference to the way it sounds to the interviewer and is perceived much more positively.
- Your skills
All interviews will have questions about skills specific to the job you’ve applied for. In your preparation you should make a list of the skills you possess and how you’ve used them.
- The company you’re interviewing with
An interviewer will expect you to have done your research about their company. At a bare minimum you should know what the company does, where it operates, what products and services the company offers and who the competition are. The answers to those questions will put you on a level playing field with almost everybody else who is being interviewed. However we want you to be ahead of the field so what else should you be thinking about and preparing for?
- The job you’ve applied for
You may be asked simple questions like “Can you summarise the main tasks of this job” or “What do you think the challenges will be in this job” or even “What do you think will be your main tasks in the first three months of starting this job”.
If you are new to interviewing this might sound a little bit strange. Why would the interviewer do this.? Well They will want to know that you’ve understood what the job is all about and that you’re both on the same page.
- Your CV
Before you go to interview you need to know your CV thoroughly and be prepared to explain everything that you’ve written on it.
- Your ambition
The best way to tackle this question is to talk about short and long term ambitions.
- Your motivation
They want to know what makes you tick, what excites you , what galvanises you to do your best work. Think of some of the things you’ve done at work or in your hobbies that really inspire you and motivate you and prepare an answer using the STAR method to illustrate your points.
- Weird and wonderful question
We dealt with this in episode 53. You know the ones I mean: things like if you were an animal what would you be?
- Salary expectations
There is a lot to say about this particular issue. I’m going to do a separate episode to cover this topic.
- Where else have you applied for a job or where are you interviewing at the moment?
It’s good to give the impression that you have focused your job search on a particular industry and / or particular type of job. If the company you’re interviewing with wants to know how you’re getting on with your job search, you have a couple of options. See the Resources page for further details.
- You, your personal interests and hobbies
You should always have a little spiel about yourself prepared. It should be maximum of three minutes long. Tell the interviewer something about your education and work experience to date and why you are interested the field in which the company works and the company you are applying to.
- If you feel that you’ve messed up, you have an opportunity at the end of the interview to say to your interviewer “Is there something I’ve not been clear about that we can discuss before I leave?” This gives you an opportunity to clear up any messes you think you’ve made
- If you’ve done a very good interview, answered the majority of questions in a confident, fluid, engaging way , you don’t really have to worry about messing up a small proportion of your interview. People rarely do a perfect interview.