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Interview notes

Posted 06.02.18

An interview can be a nervous experience for anyone, but bear in mind research has shown that the most successful person for the job is not always the one whose experience, skills and intelligence rank above the others, but the individual who possesses ‘learning agility’ – a person who can learn and adjust rapidly to new situations and working environments and who possess excellent communication skills.

Therefore, demonstrating ‘learning agility’ and being as fully prepared as possible is key for interview success. Thankfully for you, there are a few questions most interviewers can’t afford to not ask, and we’ve therefore taken it upon ourselves to prepare a few typical questions which are likely to arise in your interview so that you can fully prepare for them.

Tell me a bit about yourself?

This is your opportunity to create an immediate impression with a simple introduction of your background, include a quick summary of your academic qualifications, if attended university you could say “since graduating I have worked at …” highlight your dedication but make it brief. Don’t sound too rehearsed and speak slowly and clearly.

Why have you applied for this job and why should the company employ you?

Study the job description and highlight something from it by demonstrating what experience and skills you have and how the company would benefit from you, speak enthusiastically about previous jobs and apply past examples to this new role. Try to demonstrate commitment and loyalty.

Are you a team player?

This is extremely important, bear in mind that you have to fit into the company’s culture, the capability of blending within a team is crucial. Provide examples, a model answer would be to demonstrate a working example as well as an instance outside of work, such as sport, if involved in an organisation which supports a charity etc. This is an opportunity to deliver a lateral response because this will show flexibility. Highlight occasions where you have led a team as this confirms leadership skills.

What is your weakness?

Admit to a weakness and don’t attempt to disguise it or turn it around and say “Well perhaps others may consider that to be a strength” – For example, if you feel you are under experienced in a particular area state your enthusiasm to learn to better yourself in this specific subject.

Try to steer clear of the cliche ‘My biggest weakness is that I’m a bit of a perfectionist’ – An answer like this offers no substance.

Why do you want to leave your current job?

Be extremely careful not to criticise your current employer or colleagues as this shows negativity, be positive about what you have learned! State that you’ve been happy but now feel it’s time for an opportunity to further develop yourself and progress.

How do you think your current employer and colleagues would best describe you?

Be factual and professional – do not make any flippant remarks, for example, you could say “I am punctual, hardworking and always ready to help someone if they require it”.

Where do you want to see yourself in 5 years time?

This is where you need to state you would be committed to the company – you have applied for this job because you consider this organisation to be a progressing business and you will welcome the opportunity to develop alongside the firm.

What kind of a salary do you have in mind?

If you’re afraid of asking for too much or selling yourself short, perhaps you could turn it around and say “what would you normally pay someone for this role with my qualifications and experience?”

Have you got any questions?

It is essential that you have some questions relating to the company because this will show that you have adequately prepared for the interview, homework equivalents enthusiasm.

How would your strengths benefit the company?

It’s not enough to simply say what your strengths are, try and prove them with fact, for example, if you have won an award. Alternatively, express your ability to prioritise work and adapt to new situations, linking this with past examples.

Can you work with minimum supervision?

Your response, if ‘yes’, will indicate that you can just get on with the job and cope with ease.

What are your hobbies?

The purpose of this question is to determine if you are a well-rounded individual and to give the employer a better insight and a broader perspective of you and your life outside of work.

Tell the interviewer a little more about yourself and try to balance a list of individual interests as well as any hobbies and group activities you may be a part of – Remember to highlight any outstanding achievements too.

Good luck!

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