An oral interview is one of the most challenging parts of an interview process where employers have a direct conversation with candidates and this is where many job-hunters end up falling short with these common interview questions. During face-to-face interviews, employers regularly consider a number of things depending on the type of job. But generally aspects such are you able to express yourself, confidence and eloquence.
“More often than not, this is due to a combination of nervousness and unpreparedness as a result of the unknown nature of the interview itself. Since most people think of interviews as being unpredictable, they do not take the necessary steps to prepare for them and end up fumbling on the day,” writes Melody Bevan.
Bevan argues that while it’s impossible to predict the exact questions you might be asked as part of the interview process, it is possible to prepare for some of the more common questions that come up frequently. As such, the writer compiled a 10 common interview questions and best possible answers that an interviewee can use:
1. Can you tell me something about yourself?
This question is often used by employers when starting an interview and regularly sets the stage for the remainder of the conversation. Many people struggle with this question simply because they don’t here to start. As such, they end giving a rambling account of their professional and personal lives.
In the interview situation, it’s much better to focus on giving an account of yourself that focuses on relevant experiences and qualifications for the job at hand, keeping things concise and showing why you are the best fit for the role.
2. Why should we hire you?
This is one of the more direct interview questions where a candidate should show the employer that they are the best person for the job. The question often takes people by surprise. However, it can be useful in that it gives you the chance to give a direct answer; one that explains why you are the right person for the job.
Focus on three aspects of your answer: your qualifications and abilities, your fit with the management style and working atmosphere of the company, and the qualities that put you above any other potential candidates.
3. What are your greatest strengths?
In answering this question, many people either make a mistake on the side of being too modest, or give a long list of adjectives, not all of which necessarily apply to the job at hand.
Remember that strengths can sometimes be things that you least expect.
It’s vital to centre on being honest, relevant, and specific in your answer, and to give concrete examples of your strengths in action.
4. What are your main weaknesses?
Many people often refuse that they have weaknesses that is wrong; everyone has weaknesses so it’s advised that you say them out. This question and the preceding one are often asked together, so it’s important to consider both sides of the coin (which, in this case, is you). Interviewer’s are generally looking to assess your level of self-awareness and honesty with this question, and are not looking for an overly self-deprecating answer.
Instead, a good answer to this question might include a few weaknesses that you are actively trying to work on – this shows the interviewer that you understand there is always room for improvement.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question is asked to weigh up your aptitude to think about the future and to set realistic goals – abilities that are of vital importance in most jobs. Realistic thinking is important in answering this question. While signifying that you have a healthy level of ambition, you should also show how you could use this to accomplish your goals.
Honesty is also important, even if this means that you do not see yourself working for the same company in five years! In this case, it’s ideal to clarify how you nonetheless see the position as an important experience that will assist you work towards your end goals.
6. How do you perform under pressure?
This question is another that involves self-assessment, and is best answered as honestly as possible, but in a way that shows your personal stress-management techniques. Describing these is a good way to begin an answer to this question, and can be followed up with an example of a situation form your past professional experience in which they were successfully put into practice.
7. What kind of salary do you expect?
This is a trick question, which doesn’t require a tricky answer. By far the best way to prepare a good answer is to do a bit of research on realistic salary expectations for the job to which you are applying to enable you to get a ballpark figure.
Based on your qualifications and experience, you should then be able to quote a flexible figure that shows that you are able to strike a balance between not selling yourself short and avoiding unrealistic expectations.
8. What are your interest/hobbies outside of work?
This kind of question is one of the few that gives you the occasion to say a bit about your non-professional side. Interviewers generally ask it to enable them to get a more personal impression of a candidate and decide the level to which they might fit in with the ‘culture’ of the company.
Face it! You’ve never knitted anything in your life 🙂 So don’t say you have.
In your answer, it’s fine to open up about yourself to a certain extent, without mentioning anything that might detract from the professional impression you are trying to make.
9. Why did you leave your last job?
This question is always asked in interviews, as it enables interviewers to understand your background and where you’re at in your current phase of life. It’s significantly best not to dwell too much on the past in your answer. Give the causes for your departure as clearly as possible (whatever they may be), and try to express the impression that you are eager for new opportunities as a result.
10. Do you have any questions?
It’s regularly the final question asked, partly out of courtesy but also to measure your own thinking process. This is your chance to ask about anything that may be on your mind regarding the position. Even if all your questions have already been answered, it’s still a good idea to ask something, as this can convey a good impression of your interest in the company itself.