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Common Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

Preparing for an interview? Make sure you know how to answer these questions.

Interviews are nerve-racking. We’ve all come out of one, kicking ourselves for the answers we gave.

So here are the 10 most common interview questions that can make or break the interview – and a guide to answering them!

Question #1: Tell me about yourself.

This is not an opportunity to tell your life story. 

Don’t just read your CV back. The interviewer wants to hear about your experiences that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

To make it succinct, use your elevator pitch. For tips on writing one, follow this link here.

Question #2: Why are you leaving your job?

This is often a test of your attitude. Keep it positive, providing one or two reasons why the role you’re applying for is a step in the right direction for you.

Reasons could include wanting exposure to a new industry, career growth or even more responsibility. Whatever the reason, remember to keep it positive.

Question #3: What are your salary expectations?

Talking about money can be a daunting conversation, but employers will always ask this question because every position is budgeted.

You may have an idea of the salary you’re seeking, but if you don’t, discuss this with your recruiter. They’ll be able to help you navigate this question & set clear expectations for you.

One thing to remember is that it’s better to discuss a salary range rather than a specific number to leave room for negotiation.

Question #4: Why have you chosen this company?

Look up the company & understand what makes them tick. Read their ‘About’ page, look up their social media pages & Google them. Pick two or three unique points you find interesting or that resonate with you.

Question #5: What are your strengths?

This is your chance to talk about what would make you an asset to the team. Relate your answer to the job description, giving one or two key strengths that would serve you well in the role.

Question #6: What are your weaknesses?

The interviewer is gauging your self-awareness and honesty. Give a real weakness, not just a strength disguised as a weakness & be sure to explain how you’re actively working to address it.

We wish we’d written this one ourselves – but here is an awesome list of responses to this question.

Question #7: How do you handle stressful situations?

It’s okay to get stressed – everyone does at some point. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear that you don’t get stressed though. The best response is to talk about one or two ways you managed a stressful situation and demonstrated personal growth because of it.

It’s also interesting to distinguish between ‘healthy pressure’, which can focus your ability to produce quality work vs. stress which can be managed by being organised.

Question #8: Tell me about a time you failed

Interviewers ask this question because they want to gauge if you’re a person who is accountable and upfront. They want to know the types of failures you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from them. Find one good example and keep it concise. Finally, always avoid examples that might hint at carelessness!

Question #9: Why should we hire you?

Your answer should cover three things:

  • Your ability to do the work & deliver results.
  • What makes you a good fit for the company and team.
  • Why you’re different from other candidates.

Piece this together & you have your elevator pitch. But keep it short. If you waffle, the interviewer will switch off, so keep them engaged.

Question #10: Do you have any questions for me?

The most common question that many get wrong. They say “No”. Don’t be that person.

Have questions ready. Think of it as an opportunity to find out whether the job is the right fit for you. At the end of the day, you’ll be the one working there, so you want to make sure you’ll enjoy it.

We’ve put together some questions you can have in your back pocket for the next time this question pops up.

If you’re preparing for an interview & need a hand, get in touch with the team. We’re here to help.

About the author

Consult Recruitment

Consult Recruitment is a leading recruitment agency based in Auckland, pairing top talent with the best businesses. We pride ourselves on delivering outstanding experiences so you can focus on what's important.

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