Ten typical interviewing questions: Part 1

10 typical interviewing questions: Part 1Sweaty palms and a dry mouth; if this is the way you typically feel before going into an important job interview, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

It’s natural to feel nervous occasionally, and far from being a negative, sometimes nerves can help you focus and stay alert in pressurised situations.

However, whilst it always natural to feel a little anxious before an interview, you may become a nervous wreck if you go into an interview completely unprepared for what may lie ahead.

I have put together 10 typical interviewing questions you are likely to face when you go for that next career move the first five of which are below and I’ll post part two this time next week.

The way to approach each question is to answer with specific examples and clear evidence of what you have done.  Remember you are selling yourself, so closed answers will never set you apart from your competition.

So let’s kick off with that old favourite…..


Interviewing Questions: Q1, Tell me about yourself

This is your chance to make an immediate impact with a quick two to three minute synopsis of why you are perfect for the job.  They won’t really be interested in a detailed account of your ornithological weekend twitching, more a quick summary of your qualifications, work history and future goals.

Suggested answer, “Since graduating from University X I have worked for a marketing agency where I have improved the market share of all the clients I am managing.  I am looking to take this experience and specialise in one sector of the market and the sector you are involved in interests me above all others……”

Make it snappy, don’t waffle and remember you only get one chance to make a first impression.


Interviewing Questions: Q2, Why should I hire you?

The obvious thing to say here is to state that you are the best person for the job, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, you’ll need to back this up with something that differentiates you from the rest of the candidates in the running.

What could give you the edge?  Look at the job spec, can you draw something out and give a great example of where you have excelled or really added value to a similar job or a project?

Speak passionately about some of your achievements in previous jobs while always thinking how these examples could apply to this new role.

Suggested answer, “What sets me apart from other candidates is the passion I will bring to this role and the experience I can draw on from many years in this sector.  I have demonstrated my loyalty, commitment and progression in my last position and I’m looking to apply this and deliver the same levels of success in this role”


Interviewing Questions: Q3, Are you a team player?

I’ve yet to interview anybody who has answered a straight no to this question!  Of course the stock answer is yes, but you need to provide examples of where you have demonstrated examples of being part of a team, either at work or maybe whilst playing a sport.

Talk about how being part of a team can deliver better results than working in isolation, but that each team member still needs to be held accountable for their results.

Suggested answer, “I’ve worked and lead teams throughout my career and also whilst playing in a 5-a-side football team.  I recently managed a project which delivered a successful campaign on time and to budget.  The campaign went on to deliver outstanding results for the client…..”

Be prepared that there may well be questions which follow on from this about managing or handling conflict within a team.


Interviewing Questions: Q4, Tell us your greatest weakness?

Don’t fall into the classic trap of answering with a strength dressed up as a weakness.  The interviewer will have heard them all before, “I always work till 8pm and at weekends”, or, “I’m such a perfectionist”.

Try choosing a weakness that you are actively working to overcome.  Obviously avoid examples of not being able to get out of bed in the mornings, cooking or having a poor sickness record!

Suggested answer, “I’ve had issues in the past with my time management in the past, so I have started to diarise my days on Outlook, which has helped me prioritise tasks and plan my working week.”

If you feel there are any obvious gaps in your knowledge that this role will require, focus on these and emphasise how keen you are to build that skill set in order to gain your new position.


Interviewing Questions: Q5, Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is where you want to let the employer know that you want to be with them and in the sector for years to come, even if you don’t.  Emphasise that you want to grow with the business and that their aspirations match what you are looking to do over the next five years.  Avoid saying that you want to be sitting where they are or that you are looking to take over the company or even move overseas.

Suggested answer, “I’m looking to join a vibrant growing business whose aspirations match mine.  Hopefully as the company grow, I can grow and progress with them….”


Hopefully you will able to use some of the above in an upcoming interview.  Part 2 of this blog and a further 5 interviewing questions you are like to face is linked below and here.  If you have any questions on the above or to keep up to date with all we do here at Response, join us in our Linkedin group, where we always on hand to discuss everything going on in the recruitment world.

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[…] in the preparation. Although you don’t want to sound too rehearsed, by practicing the answers to typical interview questions, you will be able to try and eliminate the waffle and answer the question with real […]