The telephone rings and you have been invited to an interview. You are excited and nervous at the same time. Your mind starts to work in overdrive and you become worried that you will not be able to answer the questions. What do I do now? What questions will they ask me?
There are many questions that can be asked in an interview but some questions are more popular than others or are variations on the following top 5 tough interview questions. If you think about the questions themselves they are not hard but rather need some thought and research. There are no right and wrong answers rather your strengths and abilities need to be marketed to your prospective employer and this is your golden opportunity to be the most successful applicant.
1. How would you describe yourself? This is your opportunity to demonstrate your strength and abilities. Depending on who is asking the question you may need to adapt your responses. If the person asking the question is a human resources manager their views and expectations would be different from a senior vice president. To answer this question focus on what the questioner wants in an employee. Senior leadership want people who are self starters, who look for better ways of achieving results, are capable and responsible. While a human resources manager will focus more on your personal characteristics and ability to work with others. Talk about yourself and your personal attributes and relate them to your accomplishments in previous roles.
2. What are your goals and aspirations? The interviewer is interested in your career direction rather than your desire or dream to become an astronaut. Focus on your career expectations and where you want to be in five years time. What personal goals do you set yourself that will make you a better employee? Consider what you like to do outside of work that can make a valid contribution as a valuable employee.
3. Why do you think you would be right for this role? This question requires some thought and preparation. What are the goals, direction and mission of the company? An employer is looking for an employee who has similar ideas, goals and motivation as the company. Research the company; look at the website, product brochures and what they do in the community. From this information you will be able to craft a response that is compatible and in alignment with the corporate direction and values. Other useful sources of information are current employees, newspapers and magazine articles.
4. What do you think it will take to be successful in this role? The interviewer wants to know what you will be bringing to the role. What skills, abilities or experience can you bring to benefit the organisation? Your response needs to consider and answer what the employer expects of you in this role. Relate past roles and the accomplishments and success you had. After answering this question you want the employer to know that by hiring you, productivity will improve, problems will be solved and that you can create value in the role.
5. Tell me about how you work as part of a team? All employers want to know how you will work as part of a team. Any role in an organisation involves working with other people and you need to be a team player. Yes it is important that you can work on your own and that you are a self starter but at the end of the day you are part of a team. If you have worked in a team environment before describe how it worked and how your skills and abilities contributed to its success. If you are a leader then demonstrate with examples from your previous roles, if you are not then emphasise how well you work in a team. Organisations need both types of people and honesty will bring you credibility.