Sunday 25 February 2018

The five most dreaded interview questions – and how to answer them!

Try to get across the positive difference you would make the company (Stock image)
Try to get across the positive difference you would make the company (Stock image)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Most Irish people find self-promotion to be extremely difficult, and fewer things involve greater self-promotion than interviews, which is also when we are probably most nervous.

To help combat this, we have listed five of the most dreaded interview questions, and answers that you can use for them.

1. The first and most obvious question from a prospective employer is 'why should we hire you?'

If you think “because I’m great” might be too short as a response then you are right.

You should use this time to summarise your experience to-date in a way that makes it relevant to the role which you are applying to. Try to get across the positive difference you would make the company.

2. What are your goals?

According to online recruiter Monster, it is often best to talk about your goals in a short-to-medium term, rather than locking yourself into long-term plans or aims, for example ‘my short-term goal is to get a job in a company such as this, my long-term goal will depend on where the company goes, however I hope to be in a position of responsibility.’

3. Tell us one thing you would change about your last job?

Warning, this is not an opportunity for you to overshare about the things you didn’t like in your previous role, nor is it an invitation to complain about previous managers/colleagues (we live in a very small country!).

However at the same time you need to show yourself as someone who is proactive and can identify problems.

A safe answer might be to talk about outdated technology.

4. Tell us about a problem you encountered in your last role and how you solved it?

Here you need to think of the STAR technique; that is, situation, task, action, and result. Briefly describe the situation, the company, what the process was, then say how the task went wrong – was it unexpected? Unavoidable?

Then it’s your time to shine, describe the action that you took fix the situation or problem, and then talk about the positive results of your actions.

5. What is your biggest weakness?

Ugh, don’t you just hate this question?! And you know it’s coming. How do you answer it without self-sabotaging your change of landing your dream job.

A good answer would be to say that you worry a lot about the things you are not as good at (don’t worry, you will hopefully have talked yourself up earlier in the interview), but that you focus on the things you are good at, like for example...

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