UK National Career Advice

Frequently Asked Job Interview Questions

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Top Questions

Here are some of the most Popular Interview Questions and how to deal with them. Although specific questions may vary, you should remember that all interviews are bound to be on the same theme. The aim is always to establish your suitability for the job on offer. In order to do this, the questions will all be about you – your transferable skills – your experience – your achievements – and also about your personality and your ability to fit in with the existing team.

How was your journey?
This is simply an opening gambit similar to ‘how are you’, it is merely a polite ice-breaker. It does not require any other answer than ‘fine thank you’ to talk about your horrendous journey would be a big mistake.

What do you know about the company?
You should find it fairly easy to answer this question if you have done your homework properly. You should have prepared by looking on the website. If they are a large organisation you could have done a search on their Company name to find if there have been any recent reports in the media. As always preparation is the key here.

Tell me about yourself
You will need to answer in a clear and concise way and make sure that you don’t ramble. Give a just a little personal background. Remember there must have been something in your CV which made you an attractive proposition, otherwise they would not be wasting time in interviewing you. If you have reviewed your CV in advance and identified what this is likely to be this will stand you in good stead with this question.

Why are you leaving your previous position?
This is where you have to be careful to adopt a positive note. Never, under any circumstances, criticise your previous employers in any way. It is arguable that there is only one valid reason for leaving a job and that is career development. Even if you have been made redundant, be sure to express it in such a way that you show that it was the job that was redundant and not yourself.

You seem to have a large number of jobs, why is that?
This may, in the past, have been a more difficult question than it is today. Nowadays it is rare for a person to stay in the same job for a lifetime. The best way to deal with it is to explain that each move has represented career development and that it has been necessary to move outside the Company where you were working in order to broaden your experience.

Why did you stay with your previous employer for so long?
Do not let the interviewer gain the impression that you were stagnating in your previous role. You may say that you fitted in particularly well with the team and that it represented a wealth of different opportunities and experience. If you were promoted then do not miss the opportunity to point this out.

How long would you expect to stay in this job?
You should say that you are seeking a long-term opportunity where your further potential can be fulfilled. If appropriate you may say that you would hope to stay with the Company for a long time but that you would be willing to work hard towards promotion and further career development.

Why do you want this job?
This is an easy question to answer. It gives you an opportunity to say positive things about the Company and the opportunities which it offers. You could also say that having read the job description carefully you are particularly attracted to this vacancy because you believe that it exactly matches your skills and qualifications

What can you contribute to this organisation?
An ideal opportunity to talk about your qualifications, skills and experience. Talk about your achievements in your previous role – but remember not to get so interested in the subject that you go on for too long.

What do you believe that we can offer that is not available in your present position?
It is not a good idea to mention money at this stage. The ideal answer will include new challenges, career enhancement and personal development.

Do you have any reservations about the job we are discussing?
This is a question which you should answer honestly. If you do have any genuine reservations, the interviewer may be able to allay your fears. If you do not then you may say so and add that it appears to be an excellent opportunity for you to continue to fulfil your potential.

What would be your ideal job?
Bear in mind the job on offer and say that it is exactly what you are looking for. You might also include some things which flatter the Company. Include things like an opportunity to work within a successful team or for a market leading Company.

What do you dislike doing?
Be honest about this we are all different and none of us likes absolutely everything. You could also say that, in common with everybody else, you don’t like doing things that you are not very good at, but that you are prepared to work hard to gain the necessary experience to overcome this.

What problems did you encounter in your last job?
This can be an excellent opportunity to describe a situation which you were able to resolve. If you resolved the problem alone then say so. However if you were a member of a team this could be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate effective interaction with other team members.

Do you feel you are ready to take on greater responsibilities?
There is only one answer to this – ‘yes’. You can describe your career development to date. You can then describe how this has led up to the present job application which you believe represents an excellent opportunity to accept additional responsibilities.

What is your management style?
If you are going for a management role then this question is more or less inevitable. Good managers should know how they motivate others to achieve excellence. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ style so honesty is the best policy here.