Interview Preparation

Much like academic exams there’s a systematic way to prepare for interviews to make sure you’re ready fro whatever is thrown at you. The important areas of preparation:

  • Interview questions
  • Company research
  • Position Description review

So first up, what are the most common interview questions? Here we list the types of questions you can expect, why they are asked, and how to answer them.

  1. What can you tell me about yourself?
    This question is used to not only break the ice but also get a better understanding of who you are, and more importantly how you see yourself. As its one of the most common interview questions its best to have a concise answer describing who you are, your key qualifications, strengths and skills, as relevant to the role.
  2. Can you list your strengths?
    Make sure you highlight what you good at in relation to the role under consideration. Choose a few key skills, use examples of previous use of this skill and if possible, demonstrate how it would help in the new role. Strengths could include strong problem solving skills, composure under pressure; ability to multi-task; team focus or your ability to work autonomously.
  3. What weaknesses do you have?
    Most people hate this question! The interviewer is trying to gauge your self awareness and tendency to develop personally. Choose an ‘area of development’ and explain how you are working on this trait, or how you ensure that it doesn’t affect your work.
  4. Why do you want to work with us?
    Passion and purpose beat skill, every time. For that reason, the interviewer wants to gauge your enthusiasm for the role and company. Make sure you research the company prior to meeting them and use specific examples of why the company and role interests you.
  5. How do you work under pressure?
    The interviewer wants to see that you have composure, problem solving skills and can stay focused in difficult conditions. Its straight forward to answer this one – give an example of a time when you were faced with a stressful situation (not caused by you) and how you handled it with poise.
  6. What do you know about our company?
    The interviewer wants to know that you have taken the time and interest to research the company, and to what depth you researched them. You should always do thorough research (2 to 3 hours) of preparation before an interview.
  7. What are your achievements to date?
    The interviewer wants to know if you’re a high achiever by nature. If you are, you can easily rattle off public or private achievements which you are proud of. To answer this question, identify achievements, what action you took and how this benefited your organisation, team or self.
  8. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
    Employers look for employees with purpose and a sense of direction. Describe where you see yourself and how your goal is to continue to grow, learn, add value and take on new responsibilities in the future that build on the role for which you are applying.
  9. What is your salary expectation?
    This is a tough question! It’s best to be honest about your salary expectations. These should have been discussed with the recruiter prior to meeting the client. If you’re unsure, indicate that the range discussed with the recruiter is suitable.
  10. Why are you interested in moving on from your previous role / employer?
    Its a fair question which assesses your character in two ways. Firstly, will you make disparaging remarks about your current employer / workplace? (Incase you’re wondering – don’t) and do you have a strong sense of direction in your career which aligns with this role.
  11. What motivates you?
    Again this question is designed to test your self awareness and ensure that the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators of the role align to your personal motivators.
  12. What makes a good team player?
    Team players know how and why teams work well. In most companies your ability to collaborate and support your fellow colleagues will have a great bearing on departmental success – so its important that you are a contributor to this.
  13. If you weren’t interviewing for this role, what else would you be interviewing for?
    This question tests your career direction and fit for the role. Companies like to know that the role you’re interviewing for is in your ‘master plan’ not just a stop gap in your career!
  14. Is there anything that you would like to ask me?
    Its important to have some questions about the role, company or interview to demonstrate interest and curiosity – after all, the interview should be a conversation about your suitability, not a one way interrogation! Questions about company culture, future direction etc.
  15. Tell me about how you do (insert technical task / skill)
    When interviewing for technical roles its quite common for interviewers to ask behaviour based questions of how you would or could perform a certain task. As long as you haven’t oversold yourself, this should be very straight forward!

Next up, do a full company review.