Congratulations! You’ve got yourself an interview! Now it’s the hard bit; being confident without being cocky, friendly while professional and all the other titbits of advice you’ve had thrust at you by well-meaning friends.
Although I was always pleased to get an interview, they always made me extremely nervous. I mean, let’s be honest; I’d spent an hour or so making sure my CV showed off all my relevant skills and potential and now I was supposed to sell myself in person. The fear of the unknown interview questions was one of my biggest anxieties. Along with making the answers sound perfect, but not sound rehearsed.
Now I’m settled in a job, I got talking to the new girl, Jess. She had impressed at the interview and spent years as a temp office worker. Surely having regular interviews for short-term jobs meant she’d have some advice, so I asked her what questions interviewers asked most, and how she answered them.
This is how our mock interview went:
Jess: When you go in to the interview, have a firm (but not death grip!) handshake and eye contact. Smile and try to ooze confidence – you know what you can do and that they wouldn’t interview you otherwise. You just have to show you are capable.
Interviewer: Tell me about yourself.
Jess: Here is the part that makes me cringe a little, but take a deep breath and say: I am a confident and capable person. I work well on my own initiative or as a valued member of a team. I have been working within an office/ accounts/your field environment for ____(years) and I really enjoy the challenges and work it involves.
Interviewer: What are your strengths?
Jess: It’s always good (for accounts/office) to state that you have excellent attention to detail and always give 100% to every task. You are a team player and help your colleagues when needed.
Interviewer: What are your weaknesses?
Jess: NEVER say anything negative! For example, say this: …although I am a good at time-management and prioritizing my workload, sometimes my dedication to the task at hand can cause me to be too focused – this way you are just saying that you’re awesome.
Interviewer:Why should we hire you? Or what can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Jess: I believe that I am the best person for this job because not only do I have the skills and knowledge required for the role but my qualities, such as be able to multitask, enthusiasm and confidence, as well as my helpful nature, mean that I am always ready for a challenge and do not get flustered under pressure.
Interviewer: What are your goals? Or where do you see yourself in five years’ time? – Why do you want to work here?
Jess: I am always looking to enhance my personal development and I see your company as the place to achieve this. I have studied you website and company information and found that it has similar targets/goals to mine. – I tend to avoid the five years bit! Just make them think that you are in it for the long run.
Interviewer: What are three positive things your family/ friends would say about you?
Jess: My friends and family would say that I am loyal, passionate and dedicated. – This means you are saying that you won’t jump ship! And that you give 100%
Interviewer: What salary are you seeking?
Jess: I don’t like this question! Just say: I am looking for a role that will enable me to progress up the salary scale and the chance to prove my worth. But if you have a figure in mind –say it – but most of the time you get told beforehand.
**REMEMBER- These are only suggestions on how to answer interview questions, inject some of your personality in there to make them sound more like you!
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