Top 5 Interview Questions – And What to Reply

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Here’s a list of top 5 interview questions used by potential employers to separate the wheat from the chaff in the interview room. They are common questions.

When it comes to responding to those tough interview questions, don’t let the delivery or wording throw you; interviewers are often just looking for a calm, reasoned response instead of flustered, rushed rubbish.

Just view each answer as an opportunity to subtly showcase your abilities,experiences and knowledge. This is an interview remember – sell yourself at every chance you have by keeping in mind a) relevance and b) how does this make me look good?

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1)”How are you today?”

Yes, it’s the opening niceties, but it sets the tone for the whole interview. You can instantly portray yourself as relaxed, positive and keen for the job if you respond (whilst smiling as naturally as possible), “I’m really good, thanks! You?”, or words to that effect.

Under no circumstances should a clipped “Fine” or “Okay” be your reply, unless you want to come across as a surly teenager.

2) “Why do you want this job?”

Never, ever say what immediately springs to mind in the shape of big fat dollar signs. Obvious, but it’s worth reiterating.

Instead, you should hopefully have something tailored to the role you are applying for – even if it’s a summer application to shelf-stacking at Asda, you can still sell yourself with a reply such as, “I would like this job because I want to work regular hours” or “I want this position as it’s part of a big company with future career potential, and I think I work really well as part of a team”.

The trick is to attach your personal attribute onto the end of the reasoning.

3) “What is your greatest strength?”

Always keep in mind the relevance of your answer to the job role you’re applying for. For example, if your ever-increasing scores in Candy Crush Saga spring to mind, you probably should reword this to something like “I think that I’m really good at finding opportunities to improve or enhance my work”.

Or, you might be famed for eating the most hotdogs in one sitting at your mate’s BBQ, and this could easily become something more likely to impress by subtly changing it to “I’m really good at pushing myself to achieve goals once I’ve set them”. Always try to be honest – it’s easy to detect a nervous liar, and if you do get the job, you might be stuck with tasks that are based on your little falsity.

[ALSO READ: How to Look and Act Professional at a Job Interview]

4) “What is your greatest weakness?”

In this instance, I think it’s safe to say that honesty might not be the best policy. You’ll most certainly be taking the moral high ground over most of your competition for the job – but it’s much less certain that you’ll walk away with the position after admitting that you’re “rubbish with deadlines” or “sometimes short-tempered with clients”.

The interviewer is trying to flummox you with this trick question; of course they don’t really want to hear your flaws. They’ll work them out for themselves after a few weeks of employment.

What you should do in this situation is twist your “weakness” into something that could be perceived as a strength; for example, “I think that my problem is being too much of a perfectionist; it takes me a while to finish tasks because I want them done to a high standard”. As long as it’s said with sincerity and backed up with evidence to suggest this on your CV,what employer would argue with that?

5) “What are your goals for the future?”

This is not the time to hesitate and then admit you have no idea what on earth you are doing but need the money in the meantime. Nor is it the time to spew out your fantasies about marrying a rich footballer and buying a second home in Spain.

You want to show that you are a sensible person, who, of course, has considered their future – and most importantly – how this job fits into that future, without it being too cheesy. A good answer would be something along the lines of “Well, with a secure income and a respected position in your business, I think that I would be able to think about buying a property in the area, and maybe settle down with my partner”.

Mixing your business aims with your personal life helps to show you as a driven employee without making you seem like a workaholic drone. Of course, if you have something totally exciting planned, like a trip round the world or a record deal with Simon Cowell, don’t overlook your individuality – the interviewer would probably appreciate some originality after a day of identical CVs and qualifications.

The main point to draw from this is that a little preparation and pre-planning could go a long way in your efforts to portray yourself as a succinct and articulate must-have employee. Actually, sit down and think about your goals, your skills and what you can offer the business/job role, so that you aren’t completely stumped on the big day. And take a second to consider your answer before blurting it out – all the while remembering to advertise your suitability for that job at every opportunity!

About Author: Lauren is a proud member of TheGKBC Writer Academy , and hopes to become a journalist. In her free time she likes to exploit her newly obtained driver’s license and watch movies.

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  • Career Sidekick

    Question #1 isn’t something people often think about their response to, but you brought up some good points and it’s definitely worth being aware of how you respond to this opening question! Good article.

  • FarFromPerfection

    Question #4 Do not say perfectionist!!!! It is probably the most cliched answer to any interview question ever…………. Some decent points but interview answers need to be quite detailed rather than a couple of sentences and all strengths must be backed up with evidence.