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7 common interview questions and how to answer them


1st September 2021

Got a bad case of the job interview jitters? 

Luckily HELP Coach Teanna knows a thing or two about pulling off the perfect interview. After almost 10 years in the employment industry, Teanna has helped countless job seekers get interview ready and gain employment. 

Follow her handy guide to answering the most common interview questions to get a head start on your job search. 

 

1.   Tell me about yourself 

How to answer:

  • Include a mix of personal and employment-related information, e.g. "I love reading in my spare time which will be useful for this role".
  • Talk about your passions.
  • Touch on your working background, e.g. "I have 5 years of hospitality experience and have also volunteered at my local libraries’ adult reading program".
  • Keep it positive and appropriate. 
     


2.    Why do you want to work at This Company?

How to answer: 

  • Ensure you research your prospective employer to get a general understanding of their brand/ products/ partnerships/ divisions. 
  • Consider possible career pathways within the company as you may be able to touch on this in your response.  
  • Understand the company’s vision, values, and mission statement as this may be the reason you have applied or are interested in working for them.
  • If you know of anyone who works or uses the company mention any positive feedback you have heard.  You may even share how this information encouraged you to apply for the job. 
     


3.    What are your strengths?

How to answer:

  • Talk about transferrable skills, e.g. "I believe the customer service skills I have learned through my retail roles have equipped me for a career in sales".  
  • Share the things you really excel at and highlight times when people in your team have come to you when they require support or help in this area. 
  • Ensure your answer is relevant and aligns with the role you are applying for. 
  • Where possible provide an example of your strengths within a working environment, e.g. “My strengths are being organised and being a good communicator. In my job as Cafe Manager I created monthly rosters to coordinate the team. I was also responsible for staff training and communicating processes from head office when new products were introduced”. 

     

4.    What are your weaknesses?

How to answer:

Identify weaknesses that still communicate your strengths. This shows you can analyse your abilities and find areas of opportunity where there is still room for growth. Be sure to explain how you are making improvements in this area. For example, “I find it hard to say no when my co-workers ask for help. However, I am aware of this and have put strategies in place to ensure I stay focused and prioritise my workload”. 

 

5.    Where do you see yourself in the future?

How to answer:

  • Talk about your goals (this can involve personal goals like moving out, saving for a car, or improving your skills), and how working contributes to this achievement. 
  • Talk about career progression – in line with roles you know exist in the industry/ company.
  • Talk about any work in progress or what you are currently working towards.
  • Talk about any personal growth or qualifications you are completing externally.
     

 
6.    Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer:

  • Where possible be honest, e.g. “I left as I was looking for a more challenging role within a company that fosters work progression and growth”. 
     
  • Do not speak negatively or put down your previous employer during an interview.  Find a diplomatic way to explain the situation, e.g. “I am looking for a workplace that is more supportive and has systems and processes in place to deliver on this”.

 

7.    Can you tell me about a time in one of your previous jobs where you were faced with a challenge – how did you overcome THIS challenge?

How to answer:

  • Give examples where you have been in this situation, what processes you followed, how you handled it, and the outcome of your actions. 
     
  • If you have not worked before think of a time in your personal life where this may have occurred and how you handled it. Only use this example if the outcome was positive. 
     
  • If you have no example talk about how you think you may handle these situations, based on your personality, nature, skills, etc. For example, “I have never dealt with a challenging situation like this before, however, due to my calm nature and my ability to talk to people, I feel confident I could manage these situations and achieve a positive outcome”.
     
WRITTEN BY

Teanna Sloane
Branch Leader - Deception Bay

Teanna Sloane




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