Login or Join
Search thousands of jobs, or upload your resume and let employers find you
Helpful documents
ARTICLES
VIDEOS
Q & A
Traditional Job Interview Questions Part 1
(1)

What are general interview questions?

Best to prepare answers to these types of questions, but do not try to memorize exact answers word for word. It will sound scripted and will be easily picked up. What you need to do is have your answers planned, but be ready to adapt or change your answers depending on how well the interview is going.

There are literally thousands of "general interview questions". We have selected the most frequently asked questions and have given you examples of how best to answer these questions.

Tell Me About Yourself?

This is the most common question to begin the interview. It is so important that you are prepared for this question so you can give a good solid first impression before the interviewer moves onto the more challenging questions. Be careful to not to give the interviewer your life story or provide "too much information". I have had candidates who have told me how they have a criminal past or how they despised their family, and this is not something you need to voluntarily bring up in an interview. Relevant facts about education and your career is all you need to be speaking about.

Tip: Remember to tailor your answers toward the job you are applying for. If you're applying for a role as a fashion editor for a magazine, tell the interviewer how from an early age you have always had a love for fashion and writing, and provide examples about how your passion has bought you to that interview.

Why Did You Decide To Leave Your Last Job?

Be careful!!! Do NOT (and I can't stress this enough) bad mouth your old employer. Present yourself in a positive way. It is extremely unprofessional to talk badly about your previous company, boss or peers, no matter what the reason. You also don't know if this new hiring manager knows people from your old company. The best way to answer this question is to tell them that you are looking for career advancement and you see this new company being the right career choice for you.

How to answer this question if you were fired:

TIP: If you were fired from your last job do not try to lie about it or cover it up in the interview. More than likely the company will do a background check on you anyway, so it is best to be upfront and honest. Trust me, you are not the first person to be fired. The best way to answer the question is to keep it brief and ensure the interview keeps flowing forward. Turn the negative into a positive by letting the interviewer know how you learnt from the experience and are now ready to move on.

Example: "The job was going in a different direction to where I wanted to be going. My boss and I both thought it was best to move on to a job where I could be of greater value and offer my skills in the most maximising way."

Where Else Have You Been Interviewing?

Don't be afraid to answer this question. The key to answering this correctly is to prove to the hiring manager that you are serious about finding a new job. This being said, you only want to mention a couple of places you've applied to rather than going into major details. If you've applied to many jobs, don't admit this as you don't want to come across as desperate. The aim of this question is to see if you really are seriously looking for a new job. There is nothing wrong with showing the employer that you are serious to find a new role.

What's Your Greatest Strength?

This is one of the easier interview questions, but to get the most out of your answer the best response needs to be related to the job you are applying for. IF you're an accountant and applying for an accountancy role, the best response you can give for your greatest strength is your ability with numbers, your computer skills and your attention to detail. How about if you're a dancer applying for a role? Your greatest strengths need to be balance, team work, dedication etc.

Rather than using generic clichéd answers such as "hard-working" and "loyal", use this question to show the value you can add to the organisation.

What's Your Biggest Weakness?

Without doubt one of the hardest questions to answer. Being too honest can severely affect your interview. Everyone has something they can work on, so saying you have no weaknesses makes you sound arrogant. The best way to approach this is to think of a weakness that won't impact your getting the job. Remember that this question is a work-related question, so don't say that your biggest weakness is not helping enough around the house or, the worst answer I ever heard, "chocolate cake."

Tips:

1) Do not mention a weakness that will prevent you from being hired. If you're going for a job as a telemarketer, don't say your greatest weakness is speaking on the telephone!

2) No clichéd responses. "My greatest weakness is that I am a perfectionist."

3) Do not avoid the question. The interviewer has asked you this question and you need to answer it.

My advice is to provide a real work-related weakness and follow it up with examples of how you are fixing the problem.

Example:

If you're asked this question, give a small, work-related flaw that you're working hard to improve. Example: "I've been told that I occasionally focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I've been spending time laying out the complete project every day to see my overall progress."

Admitting a real weakness and then following up with what you're doing to improve yourself is preferable. "My presentation skills are not as strong as I'd like, so I signed up for weekend presentation skills classes and also joined a Toastmasters club." Remember that the specific job you are interviewing for will help to determine how you answer the question.

Why Have You Applied For This Job?

This is a fairly innocent question and easy enough to answer. To answer this question successfully you need to show your motivation for this role, but also your desire to work for the company. Through your research into the company provide further examples why this job is the job for you.

Tip: Never say "money"!

Where Do You See Yourself In Five Tears Time?

This type of question is seeing the extent of your ambition. Be careful when answering this question not to make it seem as though this job is a stepping stone in your career (even if it is). For example, if you are applying for an accounting job at an accounting firm, don't tell the interviewer that your long term goal is to work at an investment bank. This is not what the interviewer is going to want to hear. The last thing an employer wants to do is employ you, train you and then see you leave the firm. The best answer you can offer is to demonstrate that your 5 year goals are suitable and match the position you are applying for.

Rate this Article
Rating saved
324
My recently viewed articles
You haven't viewed any articles yet
Select a category for your question
Select category
Characters left: 500
I give LinkMe permission to send my name and email address to RedStarResume. (Your details will not be used for any purposes other than to respond to your question).
Disclaimer: All responses will be sent directly from RedStarResume and LinkMe takes no responsibility for the content. Due to the high volume of questions received, RedStarResume may not be able to respond to each question individually.
This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

Read full
Popular questions
2439
0
Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

Read full
Need a professional resume?