Career choicesInterview techniques to help you get the job

Interview questions

Anticipate questions

The preparation you do for the interview should give you a good foundation for dealing with questions you may be asked.

Typical interview questions:

  • What do you know about our company and why do you want to work for us?
  • What made you apply for the job?
  • What makes you think you are the best person for the job?
  • What qualities can you bring to the post?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • What was the most important or useful thing you learned in your last job role?
  • Describe your strengths and weaknesses.
  • How would you like your role within the organisation to develop?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
  • Describe a recent situation where you worked as part of a team.
  • Describe a problem you have encountered recently and how you overcame it.
  • Can you give a recent achievement that you are proud of?

Practise rehearsing possible answers to questions out loud. It may sound silly, but you will find it helpful to get used to the sound of your own voice. Note down any other questions that you are likely to be asked as a result of the information you have provided. For example if there are any gaps in your CV or application form - what is the reason and can you justify this. Be positive, but honest and give clear explanations for any unaccounted-for 'time gaps' or information.

Ask questions

An interviewer will nearly always ask whether there are any questions you would like to ask. They will expect you to have questions as this shows an active interest in the job/company. This gives you the chance to show that you have done some research. You might want to ask for an explanation about something you read but did not understand in the job description or company literature. Try to make your questions positive, for example:

  • What opportunities are there for staff development or training?
  • Are there opportunities to get involved in other aspects of work?
  • How does this role relate to those of other members of the team?

Prepare a list of questions in advance and do not be afraid to use your list during the interview. Whatever you do, do not ask questions about wages or salaries at the beginning of your interview. Leave questions like these until the end of the interview or until the interviewer raises the subject.