Traditional Job Interview Questions
"So, tell me about yourself"
question may be used to assess your personality, preparation,
communication skills and ability to think on your feet. Prepare a list of
what you do (your current or last job), your strengths (stick to
job-focused skills), and a summary of your career trajectory, linking your
experience to the job at hand.
"Why did you leave your last job?"
positively — "...for better career advancement or promotion
opportunities, increased responsibility, more greater variety at
"Why do you want to do this job / work for this company?"
your knowledge of the company and re-emphasize your suitability for the
"What do you think you have to offer this company?"
is a chance to sing your own praises — concentrating on the skills you
have that are required for the position.
"I have strong sales skills, am a good team player and am very keen
to be involved in the new markets you are developing in the Asian
"What do you think this position involves?"
This question is designed to reveal if you have thought about the position, done some research, listened to the interviewer, and can summarize all of this information clearly.
"What do you know about the company?"
your interest in the job, and your understanding of the organization and
industry. Talk about the research you did into the company's key areas of
interest, its size, its main customers or current status, making reference
to your source of information.
"Do you have any questions you would like to ask?"
prepare a question to ask the interviewer. Ask about the position, request
clarification of general information about the company, or summarise your
understanding and request confirmation. If they have already answered your
questions tell them (be specific) so they know that you have thought about
the position in preparing for the interview.
do see as being the main focus of this role?"
I correct in saying that the position involves mediating between A and B
departments and monitoring and developing new approaches to...?"
"What do you believe are your key strengths?"
responses that give specific examples of your strengths at previous
positions that will support your job application.
"What do you believe are your weaknesses?"
readily admits real weaknesses in an interview situation. It is general
knowledge that this is an opportunity to turn the question into a
positive. Think of something that relates to your experience of work that
is plausible as a weakness but is not really a negative point. Eg; "I
am very particular about detail", "I become very focussed on the
projects I am involved in"
"Why have you had so many jobs?"
you have had jobs in different industries or several positions in a short
period, describe the positives — that you were learning new skills,
following different career paths, and travelling overseas etc. Refer to
the experience you gained in past jobs that relates to the position under
"What do you enjoy most about your current / last job?"
trick with this question is to list what you have enjoyed about work that
strongly relate to the key competencies of the position in question, and
mention that you are looking forward to expanding your experience / scope
in these areas.
A question requesting confidential information about a previous employer
may be a testing of your discretion and professionalism. It is best to
reply that you would prefer not to divulge any confidential information
(sales figures, for instance), citing the fact that you are sure your
interviewer would expect the same discretion from their employees.
"Where do you see yourself in five years time?"
is an assessment of the extent of your ambition and career planning. You
should demonstrate that your long term goals are appropriate for the
position being discussed and your commitment to them.
"Can you give me an example of your creativity / managerial /
of some examples that prove that you possess the key attributes and
competencies requested in the job ad and description. These are probably
the areas on which your interviewer will probably focus.
"Do you work well under pressure?"
with a 'yes', and give a specific example of a time when you were under
pressure and how you rose to the challenge.
"Tell me about when something went wrong"
are behavioral questions designed to elicit information about the required
competencies for the position. Cite experiences in your past jobs, and
always try to inject a positive note into your answer (e.g. that you
learnt from the experience).
you have had a negative experience with an employer (retrenchment or
redundancy, sexual harassment, or clashes with colleagues), prepare to be
asked about them in job interviews. The best strategy is to be honest,
positive, and to avoid criticizing former employers or expressing grudges.