How to Answer the 10 Most Common Interview Questions
January and February are the most popular hiring months. Therefore you need to know how to answer the most common interview questions. Many companies aim for new goals and need fresh talent to achieve them.
Interviews can create a high-stress and an anxiety-induced setting, but a little practice goes a long way. Whilst we can’t guarantee what your employer will ask, put yourself ahead of the competition by preparing your answers in advance.
Below is our guide to the top 10 most common interview questions and the techniques you should use to answer them.
1. Tell me about yourself.
Of course, the classic start to an interview, with an open-ended question. To combat this, aim to tell a story about a relevant experience that led you to the profession or your educational background.
Mention your training and passion for the industry, allowing the employer to get a good first glance into how you fit the role.
2. What are your weaknesses?
Not only is this the most dreaded question, but it’s one of the most popular questions interviewers ask.
Normally used to determine self-awareness, so aim to choose a flaw that will not hinder or prevent you from your success in the role. Include a real example of how you’ve worked to improve or combat an issue. Your employer wants to see you working hard to overcome these weaknesses instead of them holding you back.
Examples could be that you have difficulty delegating, are detail-oriented, lack experience (entry-level), struggle to present, and multitask too much. All these allow you to expand and explain your plan to improve this weakness.
3. What is your greatest strength?
A question that’s almost always asked to determine your confidence and qualifications for the role. Don’t be too modest and ensure you sell yourself by truly believing you’re the best candidate for the job.
When answering make sure you tell a story and draw from personal experiences to show off your attributes.
4. Have you applied to other roles?
Employers use this question to discover your genuine interest in the role. They may want to know how far you are in the hiring process with other companies, meaning honesty is the best policy.
Avoid going too far into detail about other applications but do mention, if you have applied to other vacancies, that this role is the one you’re most excited about.
5. What are your salary expectations?
Before you apply, you should research the expected salary for your ideal position. Employers only use this question to ensure you fit their expectations and budget for the role. Yet an open-ended question like this can put you on the spot.
The key is to ensure you aren’t too specific and to allow room for negotiation. Make sure to aim higher than you would like, as it’s easier to negotiate down but don’t bring this up without a prompt from the interviewer. Asking a question like this too early can harm your chances with the company.
To work out your salary benchmark you can use our free FMCG salary guide now!
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This BIG question gives you the ability to explain your career goals in more detail. They want to find out if your five-year plan fits alongside theirs but also if you plan to commit to the company. So, when they ask this, they are saying, ‘What are your career goals in this position?’
Keeping your answer vague is the best choice, yes vague…! This is the ONLY question you want to prepare with a bland response. Talk about how you want to develop yourself as a professional and how you can see the role helping you achieve that. It should NOT include any hints towards leaving, owning a business, or simply stating ‘I don’t know’.
7. Why are you the best person for the job?
With this question, prepare to explain and advocate for yourself that you’re the ideal candidate.
A confident, concise response describing your experience and what you have to offer is key. Although, be sure your answer stays in line with the company’s values. Cater this reply to each separate role so you can show you are the perfect applicant every time.
8. Why are you leaving your current role?
This is a hard one to answer, with employers wanting to know if you left your previous job for genuine reasons.
Keep it positive, even if your departure was under difficult circumstances. For this, a direct response is best but ensure to imply your plans and give insight into what you’re looking to get out of your next role.
9. How do you handle stress and pressure in the workplace?
Be careful and avoid claiming you never feel pressure or experience stress. Instead, the best way to tackle this question is by acknowledging previous stressful situations and explaining how you dealt with them.
Examples of how you coped in high-pressure settings are more beneficial to employers than the short ‘I don’t get stressed’ response.
10. Can you explain this gap in your employment history?
Everyone has stages in their lives where their plans change, or they decide on a different path.
Avoid over-sharing and offer explanations to any queries your employer may have. Be sure to highlight any new skills you gained from your time away from the workplace.
Whilst we can’t guarantee these questions will appear in your interview. Our next advice would be to talk to an industry specific consultant, as they will be aware of typical questions that may arise.
We wish you the most success in your interview and if you’re still looking for that dream role.
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