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How to prepare answers for interview questions - The top 5 most common questions

How to prepare answers for interview questions - The top 5 most common questions

Read our tips to answer the 5 most common interview questions:
1. Tell me about yourself?
2. Why do you want to move on from your current role?
3. Why do you want to work for this company?
4. What would you say are your key strenght?
5. What would you describe as your main weaknesses?


Whether you’re a complete job seeking novice or a veritable veteran, interviews are no easy feat. No matter how many times you’ve been through the process, practiced your opening line… perfected that handshake… what you say and how you answer the interviewer’s questions, will have a massive effect on whether or not you get that position.

Inevitably, when it comes to acing those answers, the old adage of preparation is key has never been more on the money. Knowing what questions you may be faced with and being prepared to practice, practice, practice  is a great place to start. 

To help make this process a little easier, we’ve pulled together a shortlist of the most commonly asked questions and some suggestions on how to answer like an expert.

The Big 5:

1. Tell me about yourself?

Often chosen by the interviewer as a bit of an ice breaker. A chance for them to understand what kind of person you are and how well you’d gel with your potential new colleagues. This is also your opportunity to show why you are the perfect personality fit for the job and NOT your opportunity to tell them your life story. Nor is it an invitation to recite your CV back to them.

Think a healthy balance of professional and personal. A brief synopsis about your career and why you chose this career path, your background and your interests could all be worth a mention.

2. Why do you want to move on from your current role?

Interviewers ask this question for a number of reasons. It could be to establish whether you left voluntarily. If you left on good or bad terms and in many cases to give them an indication of your work values, so worth bearing these points in mind when constructing your answer.

Many candidates begin looking for a new job as a result of a poor relationship with their manager. If that happens to be the case, the worst error you can make is to criticise your boss. Instead focus on a   positive aspect from your current employment situation and explain your desire to move is develop your skills and advance your career.

3. Why do you want to work for this company? 

Hiring managers often ask this to suss out what you know about the organisation, the sector and even the role. They’re also looking to learn about your career goals and how this role fits into your long-term plans. 

Above all, make sure you do your research – get to know their website, check out their social media pages, their competitors and the industry as a whole. Any recent press releases on their business? 

Read them. Remember knowledge is power and these are the details that can help you stand out from the crowd. 

4. What would say are your key strengths?

Arguably this is one of the most important questions. This helps the interviewer decide whether you have the abilities to do the job so, make sure you have your answer to this down to a tee.

Most people have at least five key strengths, we’d suggest selecting your top three.
Think about the types of skills and attributes your potential employer is looking for (you’ll find hints on these in the job ad) and opt for the strengths which demonstrate why you’re the ideal candidate. 

5. What would you describe as your main weaknesses?

This tends to be the question most candidates dread but in actual fact,  it’s not as tricky as it seems.

Everyone has their weaknesses but the key is to focus on the more minor of these traits and above all,  steer clear of any which would affect your ability to do the job.  

Keep away from those clichés -  “I work too hard” or “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” These can be viewed as unoriginal and even corny, so avoid at all costs. 

Finally, for any weakness you mention, talk through the steps you’re taking to improve in these areas - using examples where possible to emphasise your progress to date.  


Looking for more tips to succeed in an interview, click here!

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