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10 most frequently asked interview questions, and how to answer them

Top 10 interview questions revealed. Source: Getty Images
Top 10 interview questions revealed. Source: Getty Images

Job interviews will vary wildly depending on what the position is, and sometimes there’s no anticipating the curveballs that recruiters or potential bosses might ask.

But there are some questions that you can bet will always be asked.

Here are the 10 most-commonly asked interview questions, according to seek, and two recruitment and career coaching experts explain how to answer them:

1. “Based on your understanding of this role, which of your skills do you believe will be most valuable to our organisation?”

As the most commonly asked question of all, employers want to understand your skillset, how well you understand the role and what you can do for the organisation, said TwoPointZero CEO Steve Shepard.

How to answer it: Link your skills to what the objectives of the company and give practical examples of your experiences and skills where you can.

Show off your research of the organisation and your consideration of its customers, business strategy, and stakeholders where you can.

2. “What’s your understanding of the role and why are you interested?”

Recruiters will want to understand what aspects of the role you’re most genuinely interested and whether you’re well-suited to it, said Six Degrees Executive CEO Suzie McInerney.

How to answer it: Interpret the role in your own words rather than just reiterating the job description, McInerney said.

“The best answers are those that clearly demonstrate which aspects of the role you will be able to do well and how this will add value to the organisation and help achieve organisational goals.”

3. “Why are you interested in working at this organisation?”

This question helps recruiters sift through those who have done their research, who are actually motivated for the job from those who haven’t. They’re also on the look-out for people who share the same values as the organisation.

How to answer it: Uncover and articulate that link between the company’s values and yours to show your potential employer why you’re an ideal fit, McInerney said.

4. “At times you will be asked to do many things at once. How do you prioritise your tasks?”

Of course, this question is asked to discern how you manage your time, how you make decisions, and how you engage with colleagues in higher-pressure situations.

How to answer it: Give examples from your previous or current roles.

5. “What parts of your current role do you really love?”

Your potential employer wants to learn what aspects of your position you gain job satisfaction and energy from.

How to answer it: “Good answers are less about tasks and more about showing your passion, what you are most proud of, and how you have made an impact in your current role,” McInerney pointed out.

6. “What parts of your current role frustrate you?”

In a similar vein, employers understand that no job is perfect. This question is asked to find out how compatible – or incompatible – you might be for the role, so it’s important to be honest.

How to answer it: Reframe the question in a better light and talk about how you manage that frustration, advised Shepard. And keep the actual position itself in mind.

“You don’t want to say you find dealing with difficult customers frustrating if the role is customer-facing,” he noted.

7. “Give me an example of a time when you made a mistake or didn’t deliver on expectations, what happened? What did you learn?”

Everyone makes mistakes. But what your potential boss wants to know is how you fix these mistakes.

How to answer it: “The key here is to focus on the take outs from your mistakes,” Shepard said.

“It’s a good idea to give an example of a past mistake – what were the circumstances? What was your decision-making process and how did you move forward from the mistake?”

8. “What is the one professional and/or technical skill you would most like to develop?”

Naturally, employers will be seeking individuals who are self-motivated and driven to self-development.

How to answer it: Show your desire to improve and continuously learn and grow, said Shepard.

“Always offer a reason for why you want to develop a particular skill. For example, you might say you’re interested in developing your photoshop skills in order to enhance your marketing ability.”

9. “Talk us through your professional and technical skill-set.”

This is where employers are gauging the range of skills you have to do the job. They’ll be looking to get a sense of both your technical skills as well as your “soft” skills such as communication, leadership and collaboration.

How to answer it: Be authentic in your answer.

“This is not a laundry list of generic traits,” Inerney said. “Substantiating traits with real examples is important.

“This question is a great opportunity to share your technical know-how by demonstrating how you used a particular technical skill in a past job and how this skill will be relevant to the job you’re applying for.”

10. “You disagree with the way your manager and supervisor says to handle a problem. What would you do?”

How do you handle confrontation? Of course, employers will want to know how you respond when disagreements happen in a team.

How to answer it: Have an example in mind of when you disagreed with a manager, how you handled it, the positive outcome that eventuated, and what you learnt from the experience.

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