A few weeks ago, we posted part one of our thirty interview questions and how to answer them. Today we are bringing you the second instalment, and we are focusing on some specific interview questions.
Knowing how to answer interview questions is essential when applying for jobs. It’s essential to think about your own work experience, skills and strengths in the context of an interview before you go into one. It can be hard on the spot to know how to talk about yourself, and this can sometimes feel unnatural.
We have also included a few questions directly related to career changers and those returning to work after a period of absence. We know this can be a difficult thing to talk about in interviews.
Common Interview Questions
What did you learn from your previous career?
This is a question for those who are interviewing for a career-change role. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for talking about changing your career in case it comes up. Try always to frame your experience in a positive light, and think about what you learnt from it, even if it wasn’t right for you. When answering this question, try to focus on skills or knowledge you can transfer to your new role.
What didn’t you enjoy about your previous career?
It can be challenging to talk about the negative experiences in a job or career in a professional setting. But try to be honest and show them that the reasons you didn’t enjoy are the reasons you are looking for a new challenge. Maybe you felt you had accomplished all you could in that industry, or as you got older, your values and priorities have changed.
Are you a good leader? Tell us about a time when you showed excellent leadership skills.
You don’t have to be the loudest or most confident person in a room to be a good leader. Sometimes the best leaders are those who listen carefully to others and make considered choices before acting. If you don’t always enjoy leading, you can say this but show that you are working on those skills and look forward to being given the opportunity to try. When giving an example of good leadership, remember to explain the outcome of your actions, not just what you did.
Tell us about a time you showed good communication.
Good communication can be both written and verbal, and you can give an example of either. Remember to use the STAR method we discussed in the last article to show the interviewer exactly what the scenario was, how you acted and the outcome. Some good examples include working in a large team and communicating with others, or writing a weekly article for a website.
Where do you see your career in 5 years?
This question helps to show an interviewer that you are driven and ambitious. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have super clear goals. You want to show them that you are up for a challenge and drive to achieve things. Focus on realistic ambitions and try to be as truthful as possible; an interviewer will appreciate it if you try to show them how you will reach those goals.
Why are you leaving your current job?
Don’t focus on the negatives of that job and why you want to leave; instead, focus on the positives of a new job and why you want to move forward. This might be because you want to progress your career or focus on a more specific part of the industry. Embracing change is a great thing, and you should try and show this to the interviewer.
What can you bring to the role that others can’t?
For this question, make sure to stay focused on yourself and not on others and other candidates. Talk to them about your strengths and what you have brought to other roles you have had in the past. Show them what you see as your greatest asset and, most notably, how it can apply to this role and company.
What did you learn in your period out of work?
Any period out of work shouldn’t be dismissed as just a time where you weren’t learning or developing. Try to frame your experiences, whatever they are, into a positive learning experience. For example, if you took time out to raise your children, consider all the new skills and knowledge you have learnt. Or, if you have been made redundant, you could describe the resilience that this help to build.
What do you like about our business?
This links to some of the questions we discussed in the last article, focusing on researching the company or organisation you are interviewing for. Make sure to pick out some specific details about the business and explain why you like it and why you want to work there. This could be anything from the company culture, how they engage with customers, or even their mission and history.
Describe a time you were disappointed in your work.
Make sure to pick out a specific example to clearly describe and show why you were disappointed in what you did or produced. It’s helpful to accompany this with what you learnt, showing them that you could reflect on this experience and move on from it. The interviewer will want to see that you can understand where you made a mistake and what actions you took, which lead to you being disappointed.
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