1 ) What do you know about the company?
Remember to try to angle your answers towards the job in question. For example, if you are trying for an IT job designing websites and you are asked this question, give a broad answer that also reveal your knowledge on the IT side of the business.
For example: “XYZ was founded by Milton Steadman in 1992, just as the home computer market was set to explode. Your flagship product was the D34S which was an essential component in many new computers. Over the last 15 years the company has grown into one of the largest manufacturers of computer graphics chips with 3000 employees worldwide. Your main competitors are AAA and BBB who are always playing ’catch-up’ to this company; they are now testing a 64bit chipset whilst XYZ have had theirs on the market for 6 months. According to press releases XYZ is now planning to expand into the mobile phone market in Europe.”
2 ) Tell me about yourself?
Outline your relevant work experiences or key lessons learnt in your higher education.
Supply the interviewer with examples of your skills and/or achievements. Backup your answers by providing supporting facts and figures.
For example: “Under my supervision our sales team increased company profits by at least 20 percent every year whilst reducing carbon emissions and costs through videoconferencing, as many of our customers reside overseas. My decision to reduce our product range and focus on our core merchandise gave us the edge over our competitors. We were rewarded by our suppliers and given sole distribution rights to several high street products.”
3 ) Why do you want to work here?
Highlight the company values that caught your attention. Outline examples of how those values translated into the company’s business strategies and how that syncs with your career aspirations.
For example: “XYZ is an innovative business which has stayed ahead of the competition by foreseeing changes in the market. For example, XYZ responded to the advent of new camera technologies and stopped its existing development in favour of digital cameras. I would like to be a part of a company which is technologically driven and always looking towards the future.”
4 ) Do you prefer working in a team or alone?
Trick question. Either way, the answer is wrong and the correct answer is actually both.
For example: “I have worked alone and in a team and I enjoy both challenges. My preference is governed by which method provides the best solution to the task on hand. Although in my experience, joint efforts produce better results than an equal number of mutually exclusive staff.”
5 ) What is your greatest weakness?
Do not be afraid to reveal your weakness, as long as you have found a way to overcome it.
For example: “My weakness used to be that I accepted too much work in an effort to please everybody. I soon discovered that I was diluting my focus and not performing as I should. Subsequent projects were properly scheduled and I did not accept more work than I could complete on time. I found it did not please anybody trying to be a Superman.”
6 ) How would you deal with criticism?
Another trick question with only one right answer – you can take criticisms. But you don’t have to sound like a complete pushover.
For example: “I try to look for the positive inside any criticism. I find constructive criticism a way of objectively analysing at my work with a view to finding and correcting any problem. Unjustly criticising people in a hurtful manner is a practice which I see very differently. It can demoralise people which can effect every part of their lives. Good morale is essential for any team to work at their best.”
7 ) Give me an example of how you met a tight deadline?
Detail the steps you took to help the project meet the deadline.
For example: “My team and I were often tasked with time critical and difficult jobs. I found effective planning to be an invaluable aid by saving time later in the task. A good overview of the project ensured I could assign result-focused responsibilities to the team and formulate backup plans should anything go wrong. Good organisation also helps with dividing a large project into smaller more manageable tasks, which helps with project monitoring. My team never once failed to meet a deadline.
8 ) Where do you see yourself five years from now?
State your career goals and tie them in with the company you are interviewing at.
For example: “I envisage myself in an IT management position working in a progressive company like this one. I hope I would earn a promotion by demonstrating myself to be asset to the company and proving I am worthy of such a position.”
9 ) Name your skills which would benefit this company?
This is no time to be modest but do not brag. Know what the job description called for and use this time to highlight the skills that you possess and that the job requires.
For example: “I pride myself in my ability to manage, focus and motivate staff. In my previous job I replaced a project leader who was failing to manage a difficult project which fell behind schedule. I set the staff goals and gave them a new focus and finished the project on time.”
10 ) What are your strengths?
Name them and cite measurable examples to back them up.
For example: “As an ex training manger I see myself as having strong communication skills and the ability to communicate difficult concepts in simple terms. My training methods in my previous job reduced the teaching time for our CRM software by 50%.”
11 ) What is your dream job?
The job you are applying should come close. Otherwise, hiring managers will likely think twice about giving you the job.
For example: “I feel that this job ticks most of my dream job boxes. It is a challenging role, requiring a significant amount of skill and ability, which I feel I have. Having always excelled in a stimulating environment, I relish the task of working for a cutting-edge company. This position represents an exciting opportunity for me to realise my potential.”