Example Job Interview Questions
The questions asked at the interview will cover areas such as yourself, the job you have applied for and, possibly, specific technical questions about your chosen subject. Some of the following questions may be relevant if you are applying for your first job after qualifying from university or leaving school.
You may be asked a question at interview that completely throws you. If water has been provided, take a sip to give you some thinking time. Stay calm and try to think about why the interviewer has asked the question and what are they looking for in you. Never underestimate the power of a sense of humour but be careful – not everyone finds the same things funny.
If you make the interviewer or interviewers laugh they are likely to remember you. It is possible that your interviewer will become your colleague if you are appointed and this is something they are unlikely to forget!
Examples of introductory / personal questions
Q Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and why you are interested in this particular job sector?
Q What made you apply for this post / job?
Q What things did you enjoy most about university / school?
Q Why are you leaving your current job?
Q What particular qualities do you possess that would help in this job?
Insider tip: Never be negative about a current or previous employer. It is far better to say that you want to leave your current job to pursue a new challenge that will stretch your abilities further.
Examples of work / training experience questions
Q Tell us about your previous experience and how it is relevant to this role.
Q Please describe any major achievements over the past 2 years, either in your academic career or outside university / school.
Q Describe a situation in a previous work-related role where you achieved a target or goal that was set by your line manager?
Insider tip: Be prepared for questions on any element of your current role that might be technical in nature. The interviewer may want to assess your knowledge of your current job to see what you know.
Questions on the working environment
Q What do you know about our company / organisation?
Q Can you outline the recent financial performance of our company / organisation?
Q How do you see your role within a group of staff?
Q How would you cope with working with someone you do not like?
Q Please can you give an indication of your sickness / absence record over the last few years?
Q Can you explain these gaps in your employment / educational history?
Q Please tell us about your experiences working with people from different backgrounds and cultures. What have you learned from these experiences?
Insider tip: You may be asked situational questions relating to dealing with other people. Your answers should suggest that your response would be diplomatic and reassuring but that you would be prepared to seek further advice where necessary.
It is standard practice to ask certain questions at interview and therefore well worth preparing answers to these in advance. You should also try to think about other questions the interviewer might ask you based on the position itself and your application. A few tips to follow when answering questions are:
• Always try to be yourself as adopting a different persona is likely to come across as insincere at the interview.
• Honesty is always the best policy. If you don’t know the answer to a question say so rather than making something up. Also, lying about previous achievements or experience is always likely to come back to haunt you if you get the job.
• Try to lead the interviewer towards areas of your experience that you want to talk about. Capture their interest and ensure you pause during your answers to give them a chance to expand on their questions.
• Avoid yes/no answers at all costs and try to support your answers with specific examples from your experience. Try to avoid talking too much otherwise you may be in danger of talking yourself out of a job
• Focus on your strengths and successes wherever possible, but remember the interviewer will want to know that you can also recognise your weaknesses and devise strategies to resolve them through ongoing learning and development of your skills. If you have not had much work experience, you can always use examples from things you do outside of work or university e.g. voluntary work, hobbies etc.
• Many job adverts include details of a salary range for the vacancy in question. However, quite often the question of salary and other employment issues will be discussed towards the end of the interview. One way to raise the subject is to ask how your experience and skills will be recognised in the new role.
• Quite often you will be asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions. If possible hold back one or two that could have been asked during the interview for this purpose. If you have not been told during the interview it is always a good idea to ask when you will be told the outcome of the interview.
• If you do not get the position, you can contact the company and ask for feedback on how your interview went. This is great way to refine and improve your interview technique.
• Whenever possible, end the interview on a positive note even if it is only to thank the interviewers for seeing you.
Learn more about how to pass any type of job interview by using our online interview training videos HERE.