Whether you’re a seasoned interviewee, or new to the world of professional interviews, Fish4 are here to help you get to grips with the difficult questions. Let's dive in:
Tell me about yourself:
This question, although seemingly easy, can often be misleading. The interview is looking for a little background and description of how you ended up where you are today.
The key to this question is to talk around your CV. Discuss the things that aren’t on the page; why you became interested in the line of work, what interesting experience you have tailored to the job, and what makes you who you are.
Why should we hire you?
This is the place to demonstrate why you’re different from other candidates, and why you’d be an asset to the company.
The interviewer is looking for someone who will be a good ‘culture fit’, bringing the hard skills for the role, as well as the personality to work well with the team.
What motivates you?
As this is a broad question, we would suggest that you hone your answer into the specifics of the job description. Your motivations should be seen in a positive light, so instead of saying something like ‘money’, go for ‘learning opportunities’, ‘completing a difficult task, and seeing it through to the end’, or ‘working within a team, and seeing it thrive’.
How would you go about working with a colleague who had a different way of working to you?
Answering this kind of question works best by relating it back to a scenario in your last workplace, or school if you’re a young job seeker.
The best way to go about scenario questions is to use the STAR technique:
When working with a colleague with a different working style, it’s wise to listen to their point of view, understand that their methods aren’t necessarily wrong just different, and come to a conclusion that puts the needs of the company first.
What are your strengths?
Your strengths should lie in skills which you can back up with experience. Have a mooch through the job description to see the specifics they’re looking for. For example:
Lead your answer with a statement: ‘I’ve always been a solutions-oriented person and fast learner’.
Follow with a specific example: ‘In my previous role as an electrical assistant, I learned to perform well under pressure, using my acquired knowledge to solve situations in a calm and collected manner’.
All round positive attitude:
Also seen as being a quick learner, this shows your ability to adapt; asking the right questions, asking for help, or getting the information you need to get the job done. It demonstrates that you can work well with new people, new tasks and a new environment.
What can you tell me about our company?
More often than not, candidates cease to do the research needed to impress their prospective employer with this question.
Before any interview, make sure you analyse the website, namely the ‘about us’ page, their mission and goals, and their latest accomplishments. Whether you’re applying to work for a local café or a large corporation, it’s worth going beyond their website and assessing factors like their local Google business reviews or global brand share price.
Discuss what stood out to you as a highlight when conducting your company research and what made you excited to apply there.
How do you prioritise your work?
This question is set to evaluate your time management skills. Take a moment to discuss how you schedule and manage your day, adhere to ad hoc deadlines and shift between priorities.
When prioritising tasks, it’s essential to explain how you evaluate task urgency and provide details about how you schedule appropriate time frames.
It’s also wise to mention the need for communication. If you’re given an ad hoc task by someone other than your manager, then make sure they’re kept in the loop.
For example, “at the start of each working week, I’ll write a to-do list, scheduling tasks from highest to lowest priority, aiding my workflow and ensuring that deadlines will be hit. Understanding my workload for the week, allows me to schedule ad hoc tasks when needed.”
Can you give me an example of a time when you’ve gone beyond your job role to help a colleague?
Set to test your work ethic and commitment levels to the role, this question is another that should be answered in the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
Think about the time wherein you aided a colleague, discuss why you chose to go above and beyond, how you achieved this, and the results of your actions.
To really impress with this question, tailor your answer to the company’s needs described within the job description.
For example, if the job role requires the ability to work in a fast-paced customer-service environment, then share an example of when you’ve aided a colleague in a time-sensitive situation.
S: I’d just completed my eight-hour shift yet noticed that my colleague was stuck with a demanding customer, leaving their other tables untended.
T: I offered to step in and serve their other tables, so they could deal with the customer in a timely manner.
A: I waited on two tables, ensuring that our customers were given full attention.
R: The demanding customer walked away happy with the service provided, the other tables were catered for, my colleague respected my team effort, and the restaurant retained its stellar reputation.
Stay tuned for the latest interview advice, further interview questions and answers, and latest CV advice; discover the Fish4 blog.