You will often be asked a series of awkward questions by a prospective employer. This is fair game: after all, the whole point of the interview is to see whether they were right to bring you in! Here are just a few of the tricky questions you might have to face.
1. ‘Tell me about yourself?’
This is a bit of a trick question. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear about your in-growing toenail or your deep love of Queens Park Rangers football club. What they are after is a ‘sound bite’ of who you are and what you bring to the role. The best way to approach it is to give them a quick synopsis of your experience and ambitions as they relate to the role.
2. ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?’
This is a common question that can throw you if you’re not ready for it. There is no correct answer to it, which makes it all the more difficult. Try not to fall into the trap of planning your next 5 years in the interview, but respond with an answer that focuses on personal development and progression.
3. ‘Why should I employ you?’
This can sound confrontational, but don’t take it personally. What they are basically saying is this: here is your chance – sell yourself! Remember that your skills and experience got you the interview in the first place; reiterate what you bring to the table and focus on the less tangible aspects such as team work, communication skills, ability to learn quickly etc, and relate them to the role at hand.
4. ‘Why do you want to leave your present job?’
This question will almost certainly come up, and many people come unstuck by falling into the trap of being overly negative. The best way to approach it is to remain positive and focus on the new opportunities offered by moving. Stay away from criticising previous employers, and concentrate on why you want this new role and the opportunities offered by moving.
5. ‘What do you like about your job?’
If you turn around and say ‘nothing’ you may as well leave. The whole point of this question is to get you to talk about how you approach your current work, and by extension how you’ll approach the role if offered.
6. ‘What are your weaknesses?’
The worst thing you could do in this situation is say that you don’t have any. Remember to stay positive and upbeat because your weaknesses can be selling points! Talking about weaknesses gives you the chance to show how you’ve overcome them in the past – remember to use examples to back this up. If you are talking about current weaknesses, use this opportunity to show how you propose to deal with them. The key word is ‘positive’.