- BuildingDesign Recruitment
BuildingDesign Recruitment has put together a selection of information to help candidates be as prepared as possible before any job interview.
We recommend you also read through our Interview Preparation section which highlights the key areas to focus on before an interview.
To increase your chances of receiving a job offer, you need to learn how to confidently and successfully respond to the questions you will be asked.
Listed here are 10 common questions with some comments as to the reasons they are asked and the response expected. Remember, these responses are only suggestions – do not use them if you feel uncomfortable about them, and try to individualise them as many candidates will receive the same suggestions!
Remember to practice your own responses before interviews
– The interviewer is really saying “I want to hear you talk”.
A1: This is a loosener but is a common question so your response can stay the same. Write a script, rehearse it so it sounds impromptu. Spend a maximum of 4 minutes to describe your qualifications, career history and your range of skills – emphasizing those skills relevant to the job on offer.
– The interviewer is saying “Are you an achiever?”
A2: Again, this is a common question so be prepared. Select an achievement that is work-related and fairly recent. Identify the skills you used and the achievement and quantify the benefit.
– The interviewer is really asking about your self-esteem and self-confidence, your career aspirations and whether you are a happy, positive person.
A3: The answer must be ‘yes’ but if you have hit a career plateau or you feel you are moving too slowly, then you must qualify the answer.
– The interviewer is really trying to find out what your definition of difficult is and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving using your initiative.
A4: This can be a trap! To avoid it, select a difficult work situation which was not caused by you and which can be quickly explained in a few sentences. Explain how you defined the problem, what the options were, why you selected the one you did and what the outcome was. Always end on a positive note.
– The interviewer is really trying to find out whether you will enjoy the things you will experience in the job on offer.
A5: This is a straightforward question. All you have to make sure is that your ‘likes’ correspond to skills etc required in the job on offer. Be positive, describe your job as interesting and diverse but do not overdo it – after all, you are leaving!
– The interviewer is trying to find out whether the job on offer has responsibilities you will dislike or which will make you unsuitable.
A6: Be careful with this one! Do not be too specific as you may draw attention to weaknesses, which will leave you open to further problems. One approach is to choose a characteristic of your present company such as its size – its slow decision-making, etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride as part of the job!
– The interviewer wants a straightforward answer as to what you are good at and how it is going to add value.
A7: This is one question that you know you are going to get so there is no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four explanations of how they could benefit the employer. Strengths to consider include technical proficiency; ability to learn quickly; determination to succeed; positive attitude; your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above so be prepared.
– The interviewer is really asking about your self-perception and level of self-awareness.
A8: This is another standard question for which you can be well prepared. Don’t say you have none – this will ensure further problems. You have two options – use a professed weakness such as a lack of experience (not ability) on your part in an area that is not vital for the job. The second option is to describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered a strength and the steps you have taken to combat it. An example would be, “I know my team think I’m too demanding at times – I tend to drive them pretty hard but I am getting much better at using the carrot and not the stick”. Do not select a personal weakness such as “I’m not a morning person – I’m much better as the day goes on”.
– The interviewer is really saying “I need someone who is strong and decisive but who has a human side”.
A9: Your answer must not display weakness. Try to focus on decisions that have to be made without sufficient information. This will show your positive side. For example” I like to make decisions based on sufficient information and having alternatives. When you have to make quick decisions you have to rely on ‘gut feeling’ and experience”.
– The interviewer is trying to understand and evaluate your motives for moving.
A10: This should be straightforward. State how you are looking for more challenge, responsibility, experience and a change of environment. NEVER be negative in your reasons for leaving, and rarely will it be appropriate to cite salary as the primary motivator.
Q1: What do you see in my background or experience that might prevent me from moving onto the next step?”
- This is a great question to ask as it will enable you to address any concerns they have there and then.
Q2: “This is exactly the sort of opportunity I have been looking for what
is the next step?”