How To Answer Interview Questions

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Do you have an interview coming up? It’s best to prepare before heading in. Here's a guide on how to answer questions for interviews.

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An interview is the deciding factor when it comes to whether you’ll get the job or not so having good answers to interview questions is key.

Before heading into your interview, make sure that you’ve done your research on the company and what the position you’re interviewing for is all about. Make sure that you know what the company values and what they might be looking for.

‘Tell us about yourself’ sounds like a simple question but it could actually be quite complicated. This is your moment to market yourself but be sure not to get carried away. The interviewer doesn't care about your hobbies and personal life.

Instead, they're asking you to tell them about yourself as a professional. Give the greatest hits of your work experience but make sure that you're not just repeating your CV. 

Another question you might get is ‘What made you apply for this position?’ which means that you will have to tell the recruiters what attracted you to apply for the opportunity and how your skills relate. 

Why do you think you're the right person for this position? This is basically the interviewer asking why they should hire you. The interviewer wants to hear you sell them on you so this is your opportunity to go over your greatest strengths. 

No, "because I'm awesome" is not an acceptable answer. Pick three or four instances of a time you performed really well and give it a lot of detail and go from there.

A question some interviewers like to ask is ‘Tell us about a time when you have successfully dealt with a difficult situation?’ as it's meant to find out about our ability to deal with conflicts and how we resolve them. 

You have to bear in mind that you will be working with different personalities who behave differently to your expectations. This will help your employer learn about your emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? Your first instinct might be to say something like, "Sitting where you are." This might not be the right answer though. The interviewer wants to get a sense of what your career goals are and how the position you're interviewing for fits into that.

Remember, companies don't like going through all the efforts of hiring and training a new person so they are on the lookout for any red flags such as you wanting to move on too soon. So, keep it general but put the emphasis on your desire for a long term career at the company.

When an interviewer asks, "Why do you want to leave your current position?", the interviewer is asking this to see whether or not you're leaving for a good reason. When answering this, you should emphasise the positive of the new position you're interviewing for such as how it's an amazing opportunity that you just can't pass up, rather than getting into the negatives.

If an interviewer's next question is, "What are your salary requirements?" or any other salary questions, this is normal. Interviewers ask about your previous salary to get a sense of how much you value your work. They also ask questions about your salary requirements to see whether or not they can afford you.

Avoid giving a specific number too early on as this can hurt you in negotiations. Do some research into what the market rate is for the job and base your answers on that.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Being asked about your weaknesses can really throw you off. Your answer should have two parts: your weakness and how you're working on it.

Choose a weakness that won't be a handicap to the job. Avoid choosing a weakness that appears anywhere on the job description. Then, go into how you're working to improve on it.

Here's an example:

I get really nervous when I speak in front of large groups of people. However, I've been working on this and I've even taken a few small public speaking classes. This has really helped me get more comfortable with public speaking. 

Questions related to teamwork must be backed up by an example so sit down and make a list of your greatest achievements. This can be at school, work, wherever. 

Use this as an opportunity to go into how good you are. Show them that you can work effectively with people and you'll be good.

The interviewer might then casually ask you if you have any questions for them which might seem like it’s not part of the interview but it is. Things you can ask about are what you’ll be doing during the job, what the company’s expectations are, company culture and so on.

Remember to calm your nerves as much as you can and be confident, even if you’re faking it. Also try to be positive in your answers and if your answer speaks on a negative experience, turn it into something positive.

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