Ten typical interview questions: Part 2

Response Recruitment Interview Process SignLast week we looked at the first part of those typical interview questions you are likely to face:

1)    Tell me about yourself

2)    Why should I hire you?

3)    Are you a team player?

4)    Tell us your greatest weakness.

5)    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In part two, we look at another five questions and the best way to approach them.

Lets start with another typical opener…..


Typical Interview Questions: Q6, Why do you want to leave your current job?

Do not, under any circumstances answer this question with a tirade of negativity about your current employers or a boss you don’t particularly like or respect.  This is an opportunity to focus on what you have learned from your current position and how you can transfer these skills over to this new opportunity.

Suggested answer, “Unfortunately, I felt there wasn’t the scope for my employer to match my ambitions and I’m looking to join a vibrant growing business who’s aspirations match mine and hopefully I can grow inline with the business.


Typical Interview Questions: Q7, If I asked your friends or colleagues to describe you, what would they say?

This question is asked to try and understand if you are a people orientated person who can speak honestly and openly about themselves.

Although they may ask about your friend’s opinions, the likelihood is that they are really only interested in how you are perceived in the workplace.

Therefore, keep the description as professional and as factual as possible.  Avoid phrases such as jovial, carefree and risky.

Be careful not to trip yourself up with an answer that may come back to bite you in the future!

Suggested answer, “My colleagues and friends would describe me as an ambitious, determined hard working professional.  The team I work in know me as flexible, tolerant and good at planning and managing projects”


Typical Interview Questions: Q8, Tell me about the worst boss you have ever had?

Be careful; don’t see this as simply an open opportunity to slate previous bosses.  Remember, the person interviewing you could well be your future boss and will anticipate you talking the same way about them somewhere down the line.

This question is gauged to understand how much a candidate has learned from previous bad experiences with managers.  However tempting it is to criticise a manager for being a poor leader, try and focus on what you may have done differently to get the best out of that situation.

Suggested answer, “Looking back, I understand the pressures my manager was under and why he/she was often abrupt and critical with me.  I didn’t always take the feedback on board, but I can see how beneficial it could have been.”


Typical Interview Questions: Q9, What level of salary are you seeking?

This is typically a question that will come up towards a latter stage of the interview process.  When the question is broached, be careful not to sell yourself short.  Recruiters will have a budget for a particular position and you can be on the front foot as long as you have done your homework.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate on salary.  Have a clear picture in your mind of the salary you would accept and the figure which would mean you walked away from the opportunity.  Interviews are a balancing act; you don’t want to come up with a preposterous figure that will make you look greedy and unrealistic, but equally you don’t want to come across with a figure that appears desperate and mean you risk selling yourself short.

Suggested answer, “Can I ask what you would usually look to typically pay somebody with my experience?”


Typical Interview Questions: Q10, Have you got any questions?

It’s the end of the interview and this is your opportunity to show that you’ve done your homework about the company.

You may have had the opportunity to ask a question during the natural course of the interview, but if you didn’t, remember to keep them brief as there may be other interviewees waiting in the wings.

Prepare some questions in advance and remember not to base them on topics such as holidays, pensions or use of the communal refrigerator!  You can also refer to your notes as this will give the impression that you are really keen on the position and again emphasise the fact that you have done your homework.

I have listed below some suggested questions:

  • How do you assess the performance of your staff?
  • Is there an opportunity to progress in different functions in the business?
  • What is your internal staff training scheme and do you also back external training opportunities?
  • What is the ratio of working in the office to being field based?
  • How long have previous employees stayed in the role?
  • What is the team structure?
  • Would you be able to utilise my foreign languages?
  • How has the company developed over the last decade and where is it likely to go in the next decade?
  • What is your personal experience of working for this organisation?

You are now armed with 10 key questions and answers that are likely to come up in your next interview.  Hopefully these will be of help and if you need any further career advice, please don’t hesitate to join us in our Linkedin group, where we are always on hand to discuss everything going on in the recruitment world.

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