Every interviewer will take a different approach and have different skill levels of interviewing.
Your interview questions will normally fall into four categories, all of which you should prepare for;
- Your personal and employment history
- What you know about the job they’re looking to fill
- Why you would be good for the job
- Why you want the job.
“Tell me about yourself”
- Don’t just focus on work, they want to know about YOU; but don’t waffle, and keep your points clear, concise, and positive!
- Talk them through your career choices to date.
- Cover everything from school, if you can, but only place emphasis on relevant experience.
“What are your main strengths?” “What have been your key achievements in your life so far?”
- Could be personal or work-related.
“If you like your current job, why are you leaving?”
- Never be negative.
- Maybe outline an aspect of your current employment that inhibits your development.
“What has been your toughest challenge and how did you meet it?”
- Try to select a work scenario in which you have had to solve a difficult problem.
“What made you apply for this job?”
- Make sure you detail how the role fits in with your long-term career aspirations.
“What interests you about this job/our company?”
- Give them examples of when you have used your initiative.
“How do you cope under pressure?”
- Give examples of when you have succeeded in a pressurised situation.
“What de-motivates you?”
- Focus on other people’s shortcomings for this one… e.g. “other people around me not pulling their weight.”
Technical interviews will look to test your ability, you might be asked to complete a test, or answer some technical maths questions/work-related process questions. The purpose of this interview is for the interviewer to test whether or not you are technically able to do the job.
A good interviewer will ask specific questions and you will either know the answer, or how to work it out, or you won’t. Think carefully before answering and explain your answer if prompted to. If you are unable to answer the question let them know but ask if they can talk you through it or allow you to work it out with some more detail. Whilst they want to see your technical ability, enthusiasm to learn and a willingness to be taught will go a long way in the eyes of the interviewer.
Competency-based interviews follow a different format and style than others. In these interviews, the interviewer will be scoring your response to a predetermined set of questions and then rank you amongst a cohort of candidates. Due to the objective nature of these interviews, they can feel quite frosty. The interviewer will not deviate from the set of questions, so the interview won’t flow like a normal conversation. Try to put that out of your mind and respond to each question calmly and as best you can.
The interviewer may ask some pointed questions. They may question an area of weakness that was revealed during the interview or probe you about your previous company. Try to avoid bad-mouthing your previous company. Remain objective and turn the answer into a positive by explaining how the role you’ve applied for fits what you’re looking for or how you’ve improved on a weakness.
When it comes to the salary, know your market worth but be flexible, it may be worth giving a range. However, make it clear that salary is not the key factor in your decision.