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Sample Job Interview Questions

An Overview

There are a few standard questions you are likely to be asked in an interview. By being prepared and answering them well, you will be half way down the road to getting the job (the other half being whether you actually have the ability to do the job). Remember, interviews are hard work for the interviewer too - try to be interesting and engaging and make their life easier by helping to drive the interview along.

Why don’t you begin by telling me about yourself ?

This is a common opening question and one that gives the interviewee a chance to introduce themselves. Answer by giving a brief introduction about yourself before asking what the interviewer particularly wishes to know.

Why did you apply for this job?

When this question is asked, it is a prompt to show what you know about the company and tell how it relates to your goals. You can speak on the career field it operates in, the company's reputation, the ability for personal growth, and etc. Always be sure to thoroughly research the company you're interviewing with before hand. If it helps, jot down some notes on a notepad and take it with you.

What are your strengths and weaknesses ?

The first part is easy, but a word of warning - try to make the answer succinct, relevant, and remember modesty is a virtue. The second part is a little harder and should be replied to with caution. Be honest, but do not paint yourself black. A little humor may help here.

What is a challenge you have faced in the past and how did you resolve it?

This question is a test to see how you respond and resolve conflicts in the work environment. Start by stating the issue that was needed to be resolved and finish with a positive resolution. 

What are your long-term goals?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The simple way to answer this question is to indicate a desire to succeed and grow by contributing to the company, but be careful not to sound overambitious.

Why do you wish to leave your present company?

There can be a temptation to "bad mouth" your present/previous company here and tell the interviewer how bad things were. DO NOT do that! Try to be honest, but also try to be positive. For example, you could answer by stating that you feel that you are ready to move onto more challenging roles and would appreciate the chance to work in a leading company such as the one you are interviewing with.

What are your salary requirements?

This question can throw a lot of people, but will definitely be asked if things progress further then the first stage.
Once again honesty is the best answer. If you know the going rate and are confident in your abilities use that as a starting point. Another good response is to state what you currently earn and say that you would hope for at least that figure and hopefully a little more on top. If you do go in with a comparatively high figure, ensure that you can ’back it up’ with good reasons. Do not say a figure that you think is too low just to get the job - it will cause problems in the end.

Do you have any questions?

Try to avoid asking ’me’ questions, such as holiday entitlement, salary, benefits, and etc. Ask questions that are company related, such as the direction of the company and company culture. You may also ask what the role you are interviewing for may lead to in the future.

Additional Points

Always try and be positive in your responses to any questions. Be confident and self-assured, but not cocky. Do not discuss personal problems. Stick to job-related topics. Do not waste time with excessive small talk.

Always go well beyond simple "yes" or "no" answers and expand with appropriate details. Do not babble, but take the opportunity to show your knowledge and experience.

Be aware that you may be asked questions that are beyond your knowledge or experience. If/when the questions get to a point where you have no direct experience, you can answer with "Although I haven’t experienced this, I have done (something similar or related) and I know I could do (this work), if given the chance." If you do not know the answer or understand the question then say so.

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