Top answers to some of the most common interview questions

job interviewNo matter how many job interviews you’ve had, they can still be a nerve-wracking experience.

One of the best ways to overcome interview nerves is to prepare beforehand. Below we have listed some of the most commonly asked questions at job interviews and how to answer them confidently and professionally.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

We all find it difficult to talk about ourselves and it’s even harder when you’re trying to achieve the right balance of being confident without coming across as arrogant. Try to keep your answer to this question between one and three minutes. Start with a bit about where you grew up, then go on to your education and then finally, any work experience you have that’s relevant to the job you’ve applied for.

What makes you qualified for this job?

This is quite a direct question and if you’re already nervous, it can shake your confidence. Focus on specific skills you have and any accomplishments that make you stand out from the competition. Remember to only mention skills, qualifications and achievements that are relevant to the position you’ve applied for.

How would you describe yourself?

This is another difficult question to answer but interviewers like to ask it so they can get an idea of what you would be like to work with. Think about three of your best attributes and expand on them with examples. Keep it professional however, a potential employer doesn’t want to know that you’re a really good friend or make amazing cakes.

Good examples include being organised, having good attention to detail, enjoying working with other people, caring about others and having good leadership skills.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Despite the fact that this is an old favourite amongst interviewers, it’s still one of the top questions we dread to hear.

When it comes to your weaknesses, avoid clichés such as ‘I work too hard.’ It’s obvious, predictable and you can guarantee everyone else has said the same thing. One of the best things you can do is be honest about your weaknesses and say how you have worked to overcome them. Say for example you’re not a very good public speaker. You can say you have attended public speaking classes or forced yourself to volunteer for speaking roles so you become more comfortable with it.

When it comes to your strengths, as always, make it relevant to the job. If it’s a managerial role for example, mention your strong leadership skills and provide an example of a time you lead your team to success.

Why are you looking for a new job?

No matter what the circumstances are, never speak negatively about a previous employer. It looks worse on you than anyone else and it could cost you the job.

The best way to answer this question is to emphasise the fact that you’re looking to grow and develop professionally. Perhaps your previous employer was a small company that couldn’t provide opportunities for promotion or maybe you’ve always had an interest in the company you’re interviewing at so when you saw the vacancy come up, you jumped at the opportunity to get in front of them.

Do you have any questions?

We often go into interviews with a list of questions but find that by the end, they’ve all been answered. If you can, you really should try to avoid asking nothing as it may come across that you’re not that interested.

Some great questions to ask include:

  • What are the company’s plans for the next five years?
  • Are you looking to introduce any new products/services in the coming years?
  • Will there be opportunities for training and development?
  • What are your expectations of me?
  • Will I be able to take on a leadership role in the future if I’m hired?

If you would like help finding your next finance role, please feel free to contact Choralis Consulting and we will be more than happy to help.

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