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Common interview questions and how to tackle them

There is nothing worse than being unhappy at work. After all, the average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. If you are not happy with where your career is going, it's time to make a change and start searching for a new job. Once you have found the role you want, put together a winning job application, and get that all important call for an interview, it's time to prepare. If you are a bit rusty and haven't interviewed for a while, you may be nervous about what to expect. The most important thing is to be prepared, do your research, and think about how you are going to tackle the interview questions. To help you prepare, we have put together a list of common interview questions and how you can go about answering them:

What attracted you to this role?

This is an opportunity to demonstrate that you have done your research, and read the position description in detail. Talk specifically about the areas/responsibilities of the role that attracted you to apply. If you have relevant experience relating to the areas of the role that you are talking about, also briefly mention these too, stating you have completed similar tasks at previous positions which you really enjoyed. Make sure you also mention why you would like to work for the company, using your company knowledge gained through prior research. You can also highlight that the opportunity to learn new skills also attracted you to the role. Remember, you must tailor your response specifically for each interview, as there is no generic answer for this question.

Why are you looking to leave your current role?

Never speak negatively about your current employer when answering this question - it will potentially raise a red flag with employers. Make sure you focus on the positives, rather than running through the negatives of your current role. You could potentially say that you are looking for a challenge in a more senior role, or looking to further advance your career.

What other companies are you interviewing with?

When asking this question, interviewers are trying to see if you are serious about the industry, and if they like you, who their competition is. You can say here that you are exploring roles with similar companies in the industry, however you can also use this as an opportunity to apply key skills and strengths. For example, you could say “I am in the process of applying for several roles with large IT consultancy firms where I can utilise my analytics skills to help find solutions to complex business problems.”

Tell me about yourself

Use this question as an opportunity to tell the interviewer how your experience matches/makes you perfect for the role.You can structure this answer by starting with your current role, and work backward through your prior experience (highlighting particular relevant areas). Conclude with your future aspirations, and why you are right for the role.

What are your weaknesses?

This is a tricky question that some candidates really struggle with – and it is designed to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. One of the worst things you could do is say that you have no weaknesses, as no one is perfect, and this could imply a lack of emotional intelligence. A good approach is to highlight a weakness and how you are working to improve it. For example if your public speaking skills are not up to scratch, you can say that public speaking is not your strong point, however you have enrolled in a course and are working towards improvement.

Why do you think you are right for the role?

This is your chance to show how your skills, experience and personally make you a good technical and cultural fit. Highlight your strengths, and use examples of when you have successfully undertaken similar tasks to that of the role, providing the outcome you achieved for the business. You really need to prepare for this question, to make sure you have some good examples up your sleeve to demonstrate your successes.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Make sure you are specific about your aspirations and what you want to achieve. This question is designed to see if you have set realistic goals, have ambition, and if the position aligns with your career plans. Make sure you think about this question prior to the interview, and tailor your answer so it aligns with where the position could take you.

Be yourself

The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. The interview is just as much about seeing if the company is right for you, so make sure you ask questions to assess if the role is the right fit for you. You need to make sure that you will be happy working there.

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Have an upcoming virtual interview? Read about how you can present your best self in a virtual interview here.

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