Interviews are a very unnaturally way to impress on a potential employer that you are the right candidate. Most people go in with a sense of desperation for either more money or an escape from their current job.
Regardless of what your reasons might be, you need to excel at the interview as it’s the only opportunity you have to demonstrate to a stranger who you are, what you’ve done in the past and why they should employ you.
In this post, we are going to outline 12 interview questions you need to prepare for in order to excel and get that employment contract.
1. Tell me about yourself
Make sure you have a short answer prepared to prevent waffling. Start with your furthest role and work your way forward. Touch on projects and work experience that makes you best placed to solve their current problem and why you are the best candidate.
2. What do you know about our organization and what we do
If you have been able to secure an interview, the least you can do is find out about the company. There is nothing worse than a candidate who has no clue what the potential employer does. Keep it simple, a sentence or two is all they need to know. Eg: Company in the entertainment industry providing customers with the tools and skills to design and create their own content.
3. What kind of salary are you expecting
Know the salary range for the role you are applying for before you go for the interview. This is a trick question and a bit of a game so play it well. Don’t answer with specifics. This is a great opportunity to throw the question back to the interviewer and ask how much the role is offering. Have a number in mind you will be happy to accept. There is no point switching to a new role for less money unless it offers benefits that outweighs the increase in salary. Eg: Flexible working, less commute, remote work, or company benefits.
4. How do you prefer to work, as part of a team or on your own
The best answer here is either. For most roles, there will be an opportunity to work as part of a team and there will be times when you have to deliver the goods on your own so show that you can be flexible.
5. What’s your notice period
Find out what your notice period is beforehand if you are not sure. If they are looking for someone straight away, a 3-month notice might discount you. Also, some companies will ask if you would negotiate your notice from 1 month to 1 week for an example. Don’t fall into the trap of making promises you cannot keep. Always let them know that you would like to hand over all your work so that your team is not left to pick up additional work without sufficient support. Allowing your current company enough time to find an appropriate replacement is good curtesy.
6. Why should we hire you?
This is an excellent opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer. What is unique about you and what skills are you able to provide to the company. The job spec and conversation in the interview should give you a good idea of where the company is going and why they need someone new onboard. Just concentrate on yourself and what you bring to the table. Do not compare yourself to other candidates that might be interviewing for the same role.
7. Tell me about a time you delivered a complex project
Make sure you have an example prepared. Make sure you highlight what the challenges were and how you went about dealing with it and delivering the project. Companies want to know that you are not just a robot but someone who will challenge the status quo and bring new ideas and improvements to the table and deliver business benefits.
8. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization
This is a chance to highlight your best people and technical skills and a few examples would be good. They want to know if you can add value in meetings, kick start projects and be open to new challenges once you are up and running. Specific examples from previous roles where you added value that was recognized would be great.
9. What motivates you at work?
This is personal to you and highlights the characteristics that drive you to do your best work. Good examples about the people, resolving challenges, and a positive work environment are good to highlight. Please don’t talk about money or company benefits at this stage.
10. What is your greatest strength?
This is where you sell, sell, sell. Tell them about all the good traits about you. Have a few examples at the ready. Good people skills, a keen eye for detail, the ability to work under pressure, a can-do attitude, and great professionalism are all good things to highlight. Ability to learn new tools, skills, and ways of working are also good to talk about.
11. Can you work under pressure
There are times when work needs to be delivered to meet a tight deadline so say yes and give one or two examples of when you have worked under pressure to deliver the goods. Working late and weekends to deliver a high ticket item is good highlight but make sure it doesn’t become the norm. It will ruin your work-life balance.
12. Are you willing to work overtime/ nights/ weekends/ remotely/ different sites
Be totally honest as this is a personal choice. There is no point saying you can just secure the job when it’s not possible in your current circumstances.
The world is changing at such a fast pace that you have to be unique and set yourself apart to get ahead. Walk into every interview with a fearless attitude of a winner and being the right candidate the company is looking for.
If you have your own tips for mastering an interview share in the comments below.