4 Common Interview Questions That You Should Prepare For
If you have multiple interviews lined up, then you may be wondering how you can prepare effectively for each one. How can you possibly anticipate all of the different topics and questions that might be covered?
In reality, there may be more similarities between interviews than you think.
While every job interview is unique, there are several common questions that you’ll frequently be asked during these conversations. These questions may be framed slightly differently, but they’ll all be designed to gather the same information.
Once you recognise these basic questions, the interview process will seem far less intimidating. Let’s examine 4 common interview questions that you’ll likely encounter, and explain how you can prepare impressive answers for each one.
1. “Why do you want to work here?”
This is an extremely common interview question, but it’s still one that can catch applicants off-guard unless they’re prepared.
This question is effectively probing the amount of research that you’ve conducted in advance of the interview. If you haven’t done your homework, it will show - but if you’re thoroughly prepared, it’s a great opportunity to impress hiring managers and make a strong case.
If you’re asked this question, be as specific as possible about the company and position you’re applying for, tailoring your response to the business. For example, you might reference the following reasons for your application:
- The company’s culture, ethos, or brand values
- The type of work the business has previously completed
- Clients, products, or projects that the company is working on
- Challenges/opportunities involved with the role
If you’ve researched the company properly, you’ll be able to deliver a convincing answer that will showcase your genuine interest in the position.
2. “What are your biggest strengths/weaknesses?”
Although this question may seem straightforward, it can still be a tough one for candidates to answer effectively. This question is really a test of your self-awareness and transparency.
In fact, this can even feel like a bit of a trick question - you might be comfortable listing your strengths, but how can you openly discuss your weak points with a potential employer?
Let’s look at the two components separately.
When it comes to your strengths, be as specific and authentic as possible. There’s no need to exaggerate anything here, so just focus on the skills and traits you provide that can add value to the company. This could be creativity, persistence, adaptability, or versatility.
On the ‘weakness’ side of things, showing honesty and humility is always a plus.
Be transparent with your main weaknesses, but also show a willingness to evolve and an understanding of how to improve. For instance, you may claim that you’ve struggled with taking criticism in the past, but also explain that you’ve grown to realise the importance of open feedback in your career.
If you’re finding it tough to identify your weak points, a good place to start is actually your strengths. That’s because many strong traits can become weaknesses when they’re overdone - for example, a perfectionist may have excellent attention to detail, but might also find themselves struggling to complete tasks quickly.
3. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
Many candidates will be well-equipped to discuss their previous experience and current skill set.
But what about their future in the company/industry?
Interviewers will often ask this question to understand how prospects might slot into the broader plans of the business, or identify candidates that aren’t interested in a long-term commitment.
However, there’s no need to panic if you’re asked this question. For one thing, recruiters and interviewers aren’t actually expecting you to lay out a detailed step-by-step plan for the next 5 years - instead, they just want to understand your career aspirations and motivations.
Try to reference specific goals or targets when you’re responding to this question.
If you’re applying for an account manager role, for example, you might describe how you’d like to progress into a director role and eventually oversee a team or department. You might want to travel to different international offices within the business or work on a particular product in the company portfolio.
Once again, honesty is the best policy here. It might be tempting to lie about your ambitions to secure a job in the short term, but this won’t be helpful for your employer (or your own career!) in the long run.
4. “Why are you right for this role?”
This is a very popular interview question, and although it may sound relatively straightforward, it often trips up candidates.
This question presents you with a golden opportunity to sell yourself to a hiring manager, but it’s important to avoid giving a long-winded response. You might be tempted to cram in as many reasons as possible to convince the interviewer, but it’s easy to end up rambling and losing sight of your biggest selling points.
Keep your answer as brief, specific, and confident as possible.
It’s also vital to shape your answer around the job description, so be sure to study this before your interview. Discuss relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences that align with the job requirements, and reference any key phrases/language found in the description.
Finally, use this question to show your enthusiasm for the opportunity! Interviewers want to understand the specific expertise you can bring to the role, but they also want to hear you make a compelling case as a candidate.
You may not be able to predict the future, but if you’re prepared to answer these common interview questions, you’ll be in a great position to sell yourself as a strong applicant.
Looking for professional advice about interview prep? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our recruitment experts - at Barclay Meade, we provide candidates with dedicated support and guidance to help them secure sought-after roles in the engineering and technology sectors.