A CV gives the employer a quick summary of who you are and what you are capable of. The bullet point list of skills and achievement are a great introduction – if done well.
The interview process is your time to shine!
Employers want to see why you are the best person for the role. How well will you fit in with the team? How do you handle situations? And get an overall sense of why you want the job.
In order to gain these insights, employers tend to throw in different types of questions.
What are the common types of interview questions?
1. The introduction interview question
“Can you tell me a bit about yourself”
Ugh, why do we find it so difficult to talk about ourselves? This question is so simple but so easy to mess up if you haven’t prepared.
If unprepared your brain can go into a frenzy of – what about me? my personal life? Me at work? Ahhh! – which comes out at the interview as ” Eh not much to tell just work away and hang out with my friends”
Despite it’s relaxed, non-professional tone, it is actually a very important question. You are giving the interviewer their first impression of who you are. Focus on your skills and achievements, giving a brief summary of what led you to where you are – in relation to the job description. This is achieved by touching on areas of academia, what you enjoyed and how that led you to the industry or this particular job.
2. The behavioural interview questions
Behavioural questions are there to demonstrate how you react in certain situations. It may be structured as a general question or specific to the company you are interviewing for. It is becoming more popular that the question would be relevant to a problem the company come across as they want to hear how you would react in that particular scenario. Before your interview, you should have a few real examples of problems you have solved as it will give you something to bounce off of.
This is where the STAR method comes in handy:
- Situation – Describe a similar situation to the question asked
- Task – What goal were you looking to achieve?
- Action – Describe the actions taken to address the situation. Go into specific details.
- Result – This is not the time to be modest. By demonstrating how you managed to turn a situation around helps the interviewer see what skills you could bring to their particular issue or example.
3. The negatives interview questions
You have just spent 10 minutes describing how wonderful you are and what an asset you will be and BAM the interviewer hits you with a negative spun question.
“What are your weaknesses?” – This question will come up or something equivalent so you should have something in mind to avoid panic. Try to avoid the cliche of “I’m a perfectionist”. Ideally, you want to pick something that can be framed in a positive manner.
By picking an attribute that you can back up with a means of improving you are actively putting a positive spin on your answer. For example, ‘I can at times find it difficult to handle criticism however I do recognise that learning from those who are more experienced teaches me to learn from previous mistakes and in the long run helps build my confidence by strengthing my skills’
4. The probing interview questions
“What led you to …” These questions usually placed just after a particular question and are a way of digging into a subject a little deeper. Don’t be put off by these questions, use it as an opportunity to enhance another skill.
Finally “do you have any questions?” – You should always have a question to ask to conclude your interview.
Think of this as your cherry on the cake. If you don’t have a particular question you need the answer to, then have a generic one on standby.
Murray Recruitment| 01698 501130