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How To Answer Interview Questions
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I’ve always been surprised by how badly some people answer questions in interviews, particularly ones about themselves. When I’ve given feedback, many people have explained their poor performance by saying “I wasn’t expecting to be asked that” – my response was generally “Why not? “. . Anticipating what will be asked and practising how to answer interview questions should be a key part of your preparation for an interview. Of course you won’t know the exact questions you’ll be asked, but with a little bit of research you can find examples of typical questions that a lot of organisations use. For more specific questions technical questions or questions about the industry or sector, ask colleagues or friends who have experience in the same field. And don’t forget to examine the job description and person specification to gauge areas that you could be asked about

Here are five common questions that organisations often use in job interviews, that people often fail ail to answer well.

Tell me about yourself

Okay, this isn’t actually a question, but it’s often the first thing that will be said to you. This is not an invitation to bore the listeners with every detail of your life. You only have a couple of minutes to tell them succinctly about your work experience and career to date. Obviously it depends on your age and context, how far you may feel you need to go back. At this stage of the interview, don’t waste all your time, giving away all the best points about yourself.

What do you know about the organisation?

Organisations are not impressed if someone patently hasn’t bothered to do their research. Don’t think for a moment you can have a five minute scan of a companies website and give an informed answer in the interview. If you can’t find out particular information, you can always ring the HR manager or whoever has invited you to interview and ask them something you may need to know. Don’t be embarrassed to do this. You may be surprised at what extra information you find out.

Why do you want to work for us?

If you have done your research, you should be able to talk about what the company is involved in, how you would like to be part of that, and what you think you could contribute. Don’t act as if you would be doing them some great favour in going to work for them.

What can you do for us that someone else can’t?

This question does provide you with the opportunity to do a little boasting. At this point you want to be talking about your USP (Unique Selling Points). This is more than just your strengths. What do you have that puts you ahead of other candidates and would add value to the company?

What is your greatest weakness?

Don’t make the mistake of just saying, “I’m a workaholic” or "I'm a perfectionist". The interviwer will not be impressed. You need to pick a weakness and then turn it into a strength when you describe how you have worked (and succeeded) in overcoming it.

These are only 5 examples of common interview questions that people often answer badly. There are many more sample questions available depending on the role that you're applying for. Learning how to answer interview questions isn’t difficult, but it does take a little research, preparation, practice, practice and more practice.


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