The best way to approach any job interview is to research the company you are applying for and practice your responses to potential interview questions. However, no two are the same when it comes to interviews, but certain questions seem to appear in one form or another in most interviews.
To help you perform your best at your next interview, the Agile Recruit team has pulled together this list of the six most common interview questions – according to our candidates. So, if you have a job interview lined up, prepare your responses to the following questions and practice them in front of a mirror or a friend/family member.
Question One: “What circumstance brings you here today?”
This is a similar question to “why do you want to work for us” in that the recruiter is looking for you to tell them what it is about the role that excites you and why in particular, you want to work for their company. The best way to respond is to be positive about why you are looking for a new opportunity and why this particular role caught your eye. This is where your research will come in, as it will allow you to talk compellingly about the business and what impact you hope to have on it by matching the skills you offer with the skill set described in the job advert.
Question Two: “What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?”
Talking about your strengths should be quite straightforward, as these are the things that help you accomplish your daily tasks. Identify the qualities that the recruiter is looking for in the job advert and discuss a couple of examples of your strengths that will help you succeed in the role you are applying for. Some good strengths include good communication, collaboration well with others, flexibility, and eagerness to acquire new knowledge and skills.
When it comes to weaknesses, you should still put a positive spin on things by identifying them as areas that you need to improve. Thinking about how you would answer this question beforehand gives you the time to develop a plan to address these weaknesses, which you can share with the interviewer. Just make sure you do not identify something crucial to the role as one of your weaknesses.
Question Three: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
This question is harder to answer than it appears because you do not want to make the mistake of answering “in your job” or “in a bigger role at another firm.” The recruiter wants to know if you have thought about your career, if you are ambitious, and how the position you are applying for aligns with your career goals and aspirations.
You should always be honest with the recruiter, even if you have no desire to move into a management role – tell them that. You could say that you do not know what the future holds, but I hope this position clarifies things for you and will help you make that decision.
Question Four: “What is your greatest achievement?”
This is a popular question among recruiters as it helps them get to grips with what it is about you that makes you stand out from other candidates. This question, therefore, is designed to help the recruiter discover what it is you value in life and how this aligns with the company’s culture, whether you have the drive to succeed and what soft skills you may possess. When choosing the situation you want to talk about in the interview, keep in mind the skills that the interviewer is interested in – as listed in the job advert.
The best way to answer this question is to think about a work situation where you achieved something you are proud of, what challenges you faced during this task, what skills you used to overcome any challenges and what you learned from your experience.
Question Five: “Why should we hire you?”
When the recruiter asks you this question, they ask, “what makes you the best candidate for this position?” They have a hole in their organisation that they need someone with certain skills to fill, and this is your opportunity to show them how you qualify for the role and how well you will fit into the company.
This is where your research will come into play, as you will have studied the job posting and have a list of the qualities you possess that match the skills that the interviewer is interested in.
Question Six: “Do you have any questions for us?”
This question typically comes at the end of the interview, and most people usually panic and say “no”. Saying no is never ideal as it means you have missed the opportunity to find out the information you need to know about the company and the role they are offering, such as salary, holiday entitlement, job flexibility, bonuses, retirement and other benefits.
You must ask some questions to impress the recruiter and stand out from all the other candidates. You can prepare some in advance, but keep in mind that the recruiter may cover these answers during the interview. Listen to what the recruiter asks you throughout the interview and try and frame your questions around this.
The best questions are those that are well-researched and unique and which showcase your enthusiasm for the role and your work ethic, such as:
- “I understand that this role will consist of xxx, ideally what would you like me to accomplish for you in the first year of the role?” – this shows an understanding of the role and your enthusiasm for it
- “How would you describe an ideal employee?” This shows you are eager to meet their expectations and will also give you a better idea of whether you are a good fit for the company.
- “From what you know about me, how well do you think I will fit into the team? Why?” – this shows you understand the importance of settling well into the team.
- “I am aware that employees have recently been involved in xxx (charity work, attending a conference, a story in the press), is that a typical opportunity in the role I am interviewing for?” – this shows an eagerness to go above and beyond your day-to-day role and that you are interested in the company itself and have researched them a little
- “From what you have learnt about me today, are there any aspects of my background and skills that are cause for concern in relation to this position?” – a direct question that will allow you to address any concerns they have. You mustn’t get defensive when they answer it, instead, try and offer an example of how you can overcome this concern.
If you are looking for a career in big data, need some interview advice, or have gaps in your business skill sets that you want to plug, then please get in touch with the team at Agile Recruit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org