Many people fear job interviews. It’s a time where your personality and abilities are laid out on the table in front of a panel of critics who are ready to dissect your suitability for the role.
But worry no more: here are some of the most dreaded interview questions and tips on how to navigate them to win the job.
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“What are your weaknesses?”
There’s a blueprint to this answer that guarantees a positive response. Choose a weakness that has little to do with the role. For example, if you're a chef, you wouldn’t say you’re not a foodie. If you’re in public relations you wouldn’t say you’re not a good communicator.
You need to pick a weakness unrelated to your desired job position, something that would not impact on your ability to fulfil the role successfully.
Once you have responded with a great weakness for an answer, then you must explain how you are working on improving in this area.
For example: “I can get overexcited when working on a project and dive in head first. I’m working on standing back a little and delegating where necessary”.
“What is your greatest strength?”
The key is to sell yourself without sounding egotistical. Don’t use generic answers like: “I'm the best at what I do, I’m made for this business”. It sounds arrogant and presumptuous, never a good first impression.
Highlight attractive qualities that you can prove by offering examples. Also, feel free to mention compliments from previous colleagues.
For example: "I think one of my greatest strengths is my attention to detail and it contributes to my ability to hit targets."
Let them know that you are a team player, and that you will be a good person to have around the office. After all, we spend many hours with those we work with – sometimes more than our families! It’s not only your skills and experience you are showcasing, it’s your personality.
“Why should we hire you?”
This is a very open-ended question which could be daunting for some, but should be tackled head on. Address the skills on your resume and relate them to the skill requirements of the role, proving your match to the position.
Let the interviewer know that you are fully aware of the company and understand what it needs within its workforce.
For example: “I admire what this company has achieved and believe that my skillset will be of value to your team.” Or if your experience is slightly left field of the job position being applied for, something like: “My experience in previous roles has been quite diverse, and it’s given me transferable and adaptable skills which I hope to bring to this company."
“Do you have any questions for us?”
Try to have at least one question, ideally a handful. Also, gauge the room at this point as your interview slot may be coming to an end! Asking questions emphasises you are eager and have a keen interest in the role and company.
Good questions to ask include:
“What does a typical day entail?”
“Do you offer career development and training?”
“If I am successful, what are the team like that I would be working with, is there a good culture?”
“Is there anything on my resume that I haven’t explained properly, that you would like to discuss now?”
“When can I expect to hear back?” This shows you are eager for the position.
Ultimately, being prepared with answers ready to go will always help you in a job interview scenario, particularly when your answers are tailored to the company’s best interests.
Being confident in your ability and highlighting many strengths will overshadow any weakness, and help you win the job.
Lezly D’Limi is a recruitment expert and founding director of Tailored Resources.