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What sort of questions may you find yourself answering in interview?

Posted
about 1 year ago

What sort of questions may you find yourself answering in interview?

Following on from our '9 Highly Effective Tips For Interviewing In 2021' article, we look through a variety of questions that may come up in an interview for you to answer. Preparation is key so it's always worth reading through these example questions and considering how you might answer them in an interview situation if they crop up during the process.


Know the answers to these basic questions:

·    Why do you want to work here?

Answer this honestly focusing on the positive skills you can bring to the role and the experience you can gain.

·    What's wrong with your present job?

Be positive about your current employer, explain what you have learned whilst there and how developing those skills you have gained in your current/previous role will benefit your interviewer and, why now is the right time for you to move on to a new challenge.

·    What are your greatest strengths?

This is your chance to sell yourself, but try not to come across as arrogant. Use phrases like "My colleagues tell me..." or "I'm lucky enough to be...".

·    What are your greatest weaknesses?

We all have many “development needs”, think about the skills you most wish to acquire and what you have personally been doing about it. Saying you’re a “perfectionist” is not going to cut it at interview.

·    Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

A hard one to answer - do give the question some thought before interview as it is a key question and the reply will say something about you and your focus/ambition.

Other Questions You May Be Asked

There are many, but here is a selection of the most common types you be prepared to answer:

Competency Questions

In most interviews there will be questions based around competencies. Below are a number of questions that you should be prepared for (although they will not ask all of them!). In every competency answer you give, you must be able to speak of a positive, practical example in which you demonstrated it.

·    Individual competencies – your personal attributes: flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, independence, risk taking, personal integrity.

·    Managerial competencies – taking charge of other people: leadership, empowerment, strategic planning, corporate sensitivity, project management, management control.

·    Analytical competencies – the elements of decision-making: innovation, analytical skills, numerical problem solving, problem solving, practical learning, detail consciousness.

·    Interpersonal competencies – dealing with other people: communication, impact, persuasiveness, personal awareness, teamwork, and openness.

·    Motivational competencies – the things that drive you: resilience, energy, motivation, achievement orientation, initiative, quality focus.

·    Tell me about a time when you were able to change someone’s viewpoint significantly.

·    Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with.

The STAR Model

The STAR model will provide a structure to your answers:

·    Situation – describe a situation or problem that you have encountered.

·    Task – describe the task that the situation required or your ideas for resolving the problem.

·    Action – describe the action you took, obstacles that you had to overcome.

·    Results – highlight outcomes achieved.

Interpersonal and Team Skills

·    What experience have you had of working in a team?

·    What skills and personal qualities have you contributed to the teams you have been part of?

·    Tell me about a time when you used tact and diplomacy.

·    Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with someone.

·    Tell me about the most difficult person you have worked with.

·    What kinds of people do you enjoy working with?

·    What kinds of people frustrate you?

·    What qualities do you admire most in others?

Communication Skills

·    Tell me about a time when you were successful in getting crucial information from another person.

·    Tell me about a time when someone misunderstands what you were attempting to communicate to them.

Personal Adaptability, Energy and Resilience

·    Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was criticised.

·    Tell me about a time when you felt under pressure.

·    Tell me about a time when you felt frustrated by your work.

Self-management, Self-motivation and Self-knowledge

·    Tell me about a time when you acted over and above the expectations of your role.

·    What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?

·    What are your three major accomplishments?

·    What does “success” mean to you?

·    What does “failure” mean to you?

·    What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?

·    What are your interests outside work?

·    Tell me about a major problem you have encountered and how you dealt with it?

Problem Solving and Decision Making

·    Tell me about a difficult decision that you have made.

·    Tell me about an unpopular decision you have made.

·    What significant problems have you faced in the last year?

·    How do you work under pressure?

·    What impact do you think…will have on our business?

·    How would you motivate an employee who was performing poorly?

Conflict Management and Ethics

·    How do you resolve conflict in the groups or teams that you membership of?

·    How would you resolve a dispute?

·    Tell me about a time when you bent the rules. When is it okay to do so?

Personal and Career Objectives

·    What are your short and long-term goals?

·    What are the most important things you are seeking in a career?

·    What person do you admire most and why?

·    Why do you want this position?

Knowledge of the Organisation and Role

·    Why did you apply for this position?

·    What skills and personal qualities are essential for success in this role?

·    What would you like to know about this organisation?

·    What do you believe you can contribute to this organisation?

·    What do you know about our organisation?

·    Why are you interested in working for our organisation?

·    In what kind of a work environment are you most comfortable?

·    Tell me about a time when you have been managed in a good or bad way.

·    What qualities should a successful manager possess?

·    Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him or her.

·    What problems do you feel you will have fitting into the job?

Work Experience

·    Tell me about the best job you’ve ever had.

·    What did you enjoy most or least about your last job?

·    What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?

Academic Experience

·    If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?

Ability, Competence and Achievement

·    What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

·    What do you feel qualifies you for this position?

Stress Questions

·    How do you react to criticism?

·    Can you accept criticism for poor work?

·    What causes you to lose your temper?

Questions To Ask The Interviewer

·    What was the reason that you joined this organisation?

·    What is your background?

·    What are the best and worst things about working at this company?

·    What has this company got to offer new staff?

·    Could you tell me about the team and how they work together?

·    What are the opportunities in this role over the next 2-5 years?

·    What is it about the company that keeps you working here?

·    Where have other people who have done this position in the past progressed?

·    What has been your career path and experience at the company?

·    How would you describe your management style?

·    How do you see the company developing over the next 1-2 years

·    If there was one word to describe the team, what would it be?

·    What is the most challenging aspect I will face in the role when/if I come on board?

·    What do you see as your biggest threat over the next 12 months?

·    Is there anything about me that you are unsure about which you would like me to clarify?

·    What are the key skill(s)/competency you are looking for from the candidate that fills this role?