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Interview questions: how do you answer them?

Interview questions: how do you answer them?

10 Sep 11:00 by Sherrel Solomon

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We know interviewing is a nerve racking and time-consuming process for candidates. So, we’ve listed some of the typical questions you should expect to be asked during your face to face, video or telephone interview. 

Interviews focus on “what you say” and “how you say it”. In this blog we focus on what you should say in your interview. There are many different types of interview questions, with interviews varying from face to face and telephone interviews to formal and informal interviews. 

Interview question types

Closed questions - are questions which can be answered with a “yes” or “no” responses and need no further explanation. 

These questions enable the interviewer to find out facts and information quickly

Open Questions - are questions which require more in-depth responses. These questions generally begin with “who, what, why, how, when, where or describe”

Example - Can you describe a time where you had to deal with an angry customer? 

Competency based questions - these questions are selected based on the competencies and skills needed to succeed in the role. They are also used to benchmark candidates during the recruitment process. 

Example - Give an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision? 

Examples of interview questions you may be asked

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Talk me through your CV?
  • Talk me through your experience so far?
  • What do your daily duties include? 
  • What are your strengths and why?
  • What are your weaknesses and why?
  • Give an example of when you assisted a customer’s decision
  • Have you ever worked to targets?
  • How do you feel about working in a target based role?
  • Have you managed multiple large accounts before?
  • Have you managed large teams?
  • How do you manage your team? 
  • Give an example of when you delivered excellent customer service? 
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • How do you handle working under pressure?
  • Have you had to handle demanding workloads?
  • How do you motivate your team?
  • How do you organise and prioritise your workload?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
  • What do you know about the company?
  • What do you know about the role/ position? 
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you think you fit this position?
  • What will you bring to the company? 
  • How would approach a situation differently?

How to answer these questions

What you know

These questions require answers around your work experience, academic experiences, goals, personality and character qualities, what you’re seeking, the values you’re seeking from your employer and anything that is relevant to the interviewer. 

Research

Research the company in depth, ensure you understand the purpose of the company, the services they provide and the problems they solve for their clients and candidates. Look at the history of the company and have a clear understanding of some of the key milestones in the company for example: new office, turnover, product and service launches and mergers or acquisitions. 

Identify problem

When asked a scenario-based question, ensure you identify the problem or issue at hand. These questions can either ask for previous encounters or how you would handle a hypothetical situation. 

When you answer the question ensure you identify the problem and clearly and walk through the steps you would or did take to provide the best and most efficient solution possible at the time. Explain the solution in detail and how it affected the individuals involved. 

Use positive words to describe your experiences

Think carefully about the words you use to describe your experiences and ensure they fit the scenario.

  • Achieved 
  • Completed
  • Managed 
  • Obtained
  • Resolved 
  • Acquired
  • Fulfilled
  • Delegated
  • Implemented
  • Succeed 
  • Performed 
  • Integrated 
  • Educated 
  • Instructed 
  • Supervise
  • Developed

Remember an interview is conducted so that the interviewer can capture and evaluate your performance. Ensure you prepare your answers as much as you can and practice how you deliver them.