Candidate Advice

Top 10 interview questions – how to answer them and what not to say

By February 29, 2020 September 14th, 2020 No Comments
job interview questions and answers

Following on from our candidate FAQ, where we’ve answered common questions around preparing for a job interview and more, we thought it’d be useful to go a little deeper on one of those topics in this post.

The uncertainty around which questions you’ll be asked in a job interview can lead to stress and a lack of focus. The key is to take control of the situation and prepare answers to the questions that always come up. By doing this you’ll feel confident and be equipped with insight that will provide a solid base for a successful interview.

Here’s our top 10 most common (and tricky) job interview questions, and how we’d answer them, plus what to to say.

1. Tell me about yourself

This isn’t the time to go over the basics, the interviewer already has all that, instead talk about your family, your loved-ones, your career journey and your ambitions. Discuss what you love doing outside of work, including hobbies and interests. Talk about things you’re passionate about, it’ll show and fuel a positive interview experience.

2. What’s your greatest career achievement?

This one’s all about making the answer relevant to the role you’re interviewing for, so the interviewer can visualise you in the position doing an excellent job. So, think about projects you took in a different direction that resulted in success, or skillsets you learned specifically for a piece of work, or individuals you helped to achieve their goal. Whatever it is, make it pertinent to the position you’re going for.

3. Why do you want this job?

You know the answer, so tell them. Don’t over-think it and don’t get caught trying to give them an ego-boosting answer. Stick to your goals and aspirations and explain how this role aligns with them. So, it could be “I want this job because it’ll test my skillset in xyz and I believe I can feel real job satisfaction working on projects that fire me up, plus I know the company invests in it’s employees and I want to get better and keep on progressing”.

4. What’s your biggest weakness?

Don’t fall into the trap of answering this with a ‘positive negative’, something along the lines of “I’m guilty of getting my head too into work and ignoring what’s going on in the office”. As in “I work so hard and I’m so focused, I ignore my colleagues” etc. It’s boring, disingenuous and very risky, as the interviewer has given you an opportunity to be humble, and you’ve rejected it to protect your ego. Not an attractive quality for a team member.

Instead, answer honestly, whether it’s a trait or a skillset that could do with improving, share it. By doing this, you’re taking the pressure off yourself both in the interview and if you get the job, plus you may even get support from the company to get through your challenge.

5. What’s your biggest strength?

Best thing to do here is be concise and provide examples, don’t just say you ‘love self-improvement’ or are ‘highly effective in stressful situations’ – prove it with examples from your career.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Think big here and truly answer the question with what you want to be doing in five years’ time. Whether that’s running your own business, working a few rungs up the career ladder or retired earning 20% on a beach, be honest about your goals and don’t just say what you think the employer wants to hear. Don’t be modest either, be confident and say what you want your future to look like.

7. Why do you want to leave your current job?

Keep this answer progressive and positive, don’t say anything bad about your current employer, their staff or any relationships you have there. If you do, the interview is likely to imagine those problems coming with you to their business. Instead, focus on the positives, what your goals are, your growth plans and the benefits for you and your new boss. Bring it back to your five-year plan and start to link in your answers for a more solid offering to the employer.

8. What’s your dream job?

It’ll feel a bit scary, but be completely honest when you answer this one, while still showing your commitment to the position you’re interviewing for, because if you’ve been honest up until this point, both with yourself and the employer, then you’ve already explained why you want the role. This is now about your ambitions and life-goals. If you’re going for a React job in Bangkok, but your dream job would be driving a railroad train in the US, say it. Any employer that can see you’re serious about their role and have your own ambitions, but sees them as a negative, isn’t one to work for.

9. Why should we hire you?

A good technique to answer this one is to prepare five key attributes you’ll bring to the employer’s business. This structure will keep you in control of this potentially intimidating question and demonstrate you’re confidence in your abilities. It could be: ‘team player’, ‘constant learner’, ‘ambitious’, ‘diligence’ and ‘progressive’, then you expand on each point, explaining the benefit to the employer.

10. What will you deliver in your first month?

This is another intimidating question, but if you’ve prepared a structured answer, you can reel it off with confidence and passion. Rather than trying to think of specific achievements, which is impossible at this stage, describe how you’ll:

– Learn how your role can make a genuine difference

– Fully understand the goals of your stakeholders

– Ensure you’re optimally utilising your skillset in the business, as that’s why you were hired

By keeping it more macro, you can discuss benefits you’ll bring early on and make it feel real and doable for the interviewer, it’s a win-win.

So there you go, 10 of the most common interview questions and how to answer them. If you’ve got an interview coming up, good luck! And as ever, we’re here if you need us in Bangkok to help take your career to the next level.

Jay Lale

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