The 7 Most Common Interview Questions

The 7 most common interview questions

Avoiding clichéd responses to the following questions will set you apart from your competitors. You need to be able to respond in an effective manner which sets you apart.

What are your strengths?

Try to think of at least five reasons why you are most suitable for the role. Much of this will come from the job specification and should ideally focus on professional strengths – not personal ones.

What are your weaknesses?

Once again try to keep this professional. As you suggest weaknesses you can also demonstrate how you are working on ways to improve these aspects about yourself.

Why do you want to work here?

This is about how serious you are about the role and whether you have a serious commitment to the organisation.

Why are you leaving your current job?

Never take this as an opportunity to criticise your previous employer – instead focus on career progression and the positives of moving into a new role. 

Why should we hire you?

Think about your experience and how it relates to the role – be specific. One example may be “I have proven experience in saving money for my employer. I can make a positive impact on your organisation as I have the necessary skills to do so.”

What are your goals

You should focus primarily on short and medium term goals. Your prospective employer doesn't know if you are partner material yet and doesn't need to know that this is your long term plan. Talk about your immediate career progression and how this new role will take you forward.

What salary are you looking for?

Take the time to prepare an answer to this one. Look at the usual salaries for the role, consider your previous or current salary and what your expectations are. Think about the following:

How much do you realistically think you are worth?

What is the lowest salary you will accept? This will include any trade-offs between salary and other compensation such as a company car or a health insurance plan. Don't tell the interviewer what your bottom line is, but keep it very much in the forefront of your mind.

You need to place a price on other non-salary compensations or benefits. Consider how much each of these would be to buy and if you really want them at all. If it is just a perk, but you would prefer the money you should discount it as part of your decision making process.

The best way to answer this thorny question is simply to delay it if at all possible until after an offer has been made. You may wish to tell the interviewer what your previous salary was and to explain that you will seriously consider any offer made to you. You can negotiate at a later date.

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