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Advice | How to write a CV | Interview tips | Covering letter tips



Potential questions you will be asked

Before attending an interview you should think about your responses to the following questions. Your answers may depend on the job or company in question, so you should go through your responses before each interview.

Why do you want this job?

Stress the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or why you are looking to move. Rather mention you are looking for a new challenge etc.

What qualities do you think will be required for this job?

Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.

What can you contribute?

Mention your achievements in your previous position(s) which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.

Why do you want to work for this company?

Emphasize the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours.

What do you know about this company?

This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company from your research. Give them a run down of their products/services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.

What interests you about our Company?

Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question.

What can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?

Tread carefully here! Again do not mention money. Stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, etc.

You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?

Say that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Why should we employ you?

The answer to this question will be based on your previous experience and achievements which relate to the company.

How ambitious are you?

Depending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if you are after the interviewer's position.

Why did you choose a career in …?

Be positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.

What do you think of the last company you worked for?

You should stress the positive aspects of your last company saying that they were a good company to work for. Tell them about the training you received or the work related experience you gained.

Why did you join your previous company? Did they live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?

Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Be very careful that you do not say anything negative about your present employer. If you do, the new company will wonder what you will say about them when you leave. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you fits the bill.

Explain the organisational structure in your last company and how you fitted into it?

This sort of question may be used to find out whether your old job is at a comparable level to your new job. If the new job being discussed would be a step up the ladder you will need to show that you are ready for a more demanding position. You may be able to show that you have already had many of the responsibilities and the necessary skills which would be required for the next step.

What would your ideal job be?

Again, remember where you are! Describe the job in terms of the criteria they have used to describe their job. An ideal job might include things like challenging work, a fair rate of pay for the job, nice colleagues, good career prospects, good team atmosphere, opportunity to learn new skills, apply old skills, etc.


Potential questions you can/should ask

The interview is a two-way process. The company interviewing you will want to find out whether you are suitable to the position and you will want to find out if the company and position are right for you. You should therefore ensure that you have enough information to make up your mind whether you want the job.

Some potential questions you should ask could include:

  • What will be my responsibilities?
  • Where will I fit into the overall organisational structure?
  • Who will I report to?
  • Where does he/she fit in the structure?
  • Who will report to me?
  • How experienced are they?
  • Where is the company going? Upwards? Expansion plans?
  • What are the chances of advancement/promotion in this position? When?
  • Will travelling be required in this position?
  • What training do you provide?
  • When will you decide on the appointment?
  • What is the next step?

What not to ask

Avoid any questions that could imply your asking "What's in this for me?". Also avoid any mention of salary, overtime or benefits. Rather wait until the interviewer mentions this. Avoid any questions about the employer that could be embarrassing.

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