There’s only three certainties in life: death, taxes and being asked in a job interview what animal you would be if you could be any animal.
We’re joking of course, but there are in fact many questions that tend to crop up in job interviews no matter the position or industry. Preparing great answers for these questions is key to making a good first impression.
In this article, we explain the 8 most common job interview questions and the best ways to answer them.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself
Okay, this one isn’t really a question, but it is an opportunity to introduce yourself, your passions, goals and achievements.
But don’t just waffle on about unrelated hobbies, and don’t give your entire life story, either. Showing a bit of personality is great, but you want to primarily focus on what led you to applying for the job. Talk about why you made certain decisions and how they helped you prepare for the role.
2. Why do you want this job?
Explain how the role helps you towards your long and short term goals. And don’t be afraid to compliment the business!
This is also a chance to say what you can bring to the business, not just what the business can do for you.
3. What is your biggest weakness?
This question often catches people out, as it asks them to share a negative characteristic. There are two ways to answer this question:
The first way is to choose an answer that most people can relate to. A common answer is public speaking. This will make you appear authentic without disadvantaging you too much as a candidate. Plus, the interviewer is likely to sympathise with you, as chances are they’ve had fears or difficulties with public speaking themselves.
Another technique is to spin a negative into a positive. For example, you could say “sometimes I get so absorbed in my work that I lose track of time”. Be careful with this approach though, you don’t want to come off as insincere.
4. What are your biggest strengths?
It’s important to really sell yourself in a job interview, so don’t hold back. Identify your strong points and give examples. Don’t simply say you’re good at problem solving, explain a time where you solved a difficult problem and what the result was.
5. Where do you see yourself in X number of years?
Whether you plan to stay at the company long term or not, you can word your answer to show your passion for the industry.
If you do plan to stay the company, say how you hope to be in a higher position. Not only does this show commitment to the business, but it also highlights your determination to excel in the role.
If you don’t plan on staying in the company long term, you could say that you hope to start a business one day that is similarly related to the company. This shows that you hold the company in high regards, and it also demonstrates ambition and entrepreneurial spirit.
6. What is your biggest achievement?
You can talk about either a professional achievement or a personal achievement. If it’s a professional achievement, make sure you choose something that is applicable for the role you are interviewing for. If you choose a personal achievement, make sure it showcases a positive attribute that will aid you in the role.
7. Tell me about a challenge you faced and how you overcame it
Questions like these require the SAR method: situation, action and result. Explain the problem you faced, tell them the decision you made that helped you to overcome this problem and then highlight the successful result.
8. How did you hear about this position?
This is a relatively harmless question, but you could earn some extra brownie points if you answer it the right way. If you were recommended by a friend, don’t just say that; explain why they thought you were a good fit. If you found it online, explain that you were searching for roles that utilised your skills and you thought this one was a perfect match.
A key way to stand out from other candidates is to have qualifications suitable for your role. At CTC, we offer a range of online training courses to help you progress in your career. Simply enrol on a course and earn your qualification at your own pace. You’ll gain access to our 24/7 student portal, where you can view course content and upload assessments on a schedule that suits you.