As part of our in-depth look into interview questions and answers, we take a look at the questions and answers you can expect about you as a person… Be ready to sell, sell, sell yourself!
And don’t miss our other interview answers!
1. Questions about why you want THIS job
2. Questions about your work experience and knowledge
3. Competency-based questions
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
This is a common first interview question and is designed to just get you talking. Firstly, RELAX! The interviewer just wants you to talk for just a couple of minutes about why you would be good at this job.
You should practise doing this without waffling. Start with an opening statement, describe your current job, some career highlights and details of your education, and include something about you as a person. If you have no work experience then talk about what you did at school, or a club you’re a member of.
GOOD TIP: End by asking the interviewer if they would like you to explain anything as it nicely wraps up your answer.
How would you describe yourself?
This is where the interviewer wants to get an idea about YOU as a person. Although you can mention your career strengths it is better to use this to talk about your personality. Whatever you say you need to be honest and genuine.
You want the interviewer to feel confident that they are seeing your true personality rather than telling them what you think they want to hear.
GOOD TIP: Have a look at the job ad before you go. Often they will list what type of person they are looking for. If you fit what they want then make sure you say so. If you forget then you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
Where do you want to be in five years time?
The interviewer wants to know that, if they hire you, you will stay with the company. After all, nobody wants to hire someone who will leave after a couple of months.
Although you want to show ambition, your answer must be realistic. If it’s a trainee position, don’t say DIRECTOR, BABY!
GOOD TIP: Include how you want to make a great contribution to this company as you develop experience. You can emphasise specific goals you would like to achieve such as to lead a major project or help the company to make money.
What are your strengths?
The interviewer wants to know what your key strengths are in relation to this particular job. Make sure you choose examples that are relevant to this job but also examples that set you apart from other applicants.
It’s useful to have 4-5 strengths available in case the interviewer asks for some further examples.
GOOD TIP: For most jobs you will want to include an example of working well as part of a team as most companies are after people who fit in well with others.
You seem over-qualified for this job, can you tell me why you are interested?
The interviewer is challenging you! They want to see if you are REALLY interested in this position and they want reassurance that you won’t get bored and leave.
You must show them your interest in this job, and your answer should show how your qualifications and experience bring value to the role. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and play down any idea of this job being a ‘backward step’.
If, for example, this job will mean a drop in salary, emphasise that money is not your key driver, you are more interested in personal career satisfaction and this job will provide this.
GOOD TIP: Don’t get flustered by this question. Be confident as they clearly like you, they’re just a bit worried that you won’t find the job challenging enough.
Answers by Denise Taylor, award-winning career psychologist with Amazing People