Interview Questions And How To Answer
Job interviews are minefields – most of us sit there for 30 minutes to an hour praying silently it ends soon, and that our mental capacity to answer every question in a thoughtful and interesting way doesn’t falter before then.
We got five of the top employers featured on the show, to reveal the interview questions they always ask – and how best to answer them.
We have had a lot of good applicants for this role – why should we choose you?
What we are looking for here is a reminder that the applicant is a good match to the original brief in the job advert, that they have overcome any objections or areas that they may not quite meet that brief and that their passion for the job together with their personality shine through. We also expect an applicant to have researched us and able to tell us a few things about us and why we are a good match for them too – it’s a two way street.
We want someone who can do the job, is willing to learn, is a good team fit and has a personality we like and can work with – genuine, has integrity, positive, warm and quietly confident. It is good to be reminded of that at the end of the interview.
I always respect an applicant who has the calm confidence to genuinely ask if there are any areas that I feel concerned about or feel that they could not do the job in any way; if I am honest with them then either they can overcome my objections or will not be too disappointed if they do not get the job.
Equally I respect an applicant who reinforces why they are the one for the job and then closes me with their enthusiasm, asking me if they have given me all I need to decide that they are indeed the right person for the job. Again I can be honest with them. We may be spending more time with this new team member than we do our families so it has to be right for both sides.
If we called them right now, what would your current boss say about you?
What are we looking for in an answer is some self-awareness of development areas as well as a tangible example of something that they have successfully delivered. A good answer might be: “We get on well and I have learnt a lot from her. She was really pleased with the way I delivered the new marketing campaign. I think she would be sad to see me go, but pleased that I had found an exciting new challenge. She would also say that I still need to work on my budgeting skills, which is fair and something I am actively working on.”
If you were an object, what object would you be?
No right or wrong answer, the question is designed to see how quick thinking the candidate is, how creative they are and maybe also to learn a little about their character in terms of what object they choose.
How would you go about fitting a giraffe into a fridge?
The idea is to see whether a candidate is capable of approaching a task/challenge intelligently and methodically without getting fazed. An ideal answer would be along the lines of them asking questions such:
– how big is the fridge?
– how big is the giraffe?
– Can I cut it up?!
It demonstrates that they are looking at solutions to the task.
Richard Clarke, Commercial Director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal Limited
Why should we give you this job?
It’s what I call one of those simple, yet difficult questions to answer. The thing to do is have 3 to 4 reasons why you’re good enough to be selected. Remember, an interview is your window of opportunity to sell yourself, so ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to do this. My advice is be well prepared before the interview, by writing down your key strengths as an individual. If you find this difficult, then ask a close friend or family member what they think your strengths may be. Getting someone’s perspective is always a good idea, so long as they are positive. Golden rule: stay away from negative people! For each key strength have a trigger word. e.g you’re tenacious, or you’re team player, so on an so forth, followed by a reason why you are, backed up with evidence of a real life situation. Keep the answers succinct and to the point. Lastly, above all else be passionate, enthusiastic and authentic and you won’t go far wrong!
Often a candidate’s response to this question is under prepared. When answering this question, we are looking for someone that has taken the time to prepare their answer having done their research on the company and the position being advertised.
The qualities a company is looking for should then be backed up by examples of how they meet that. So a suggested response might be: “You are looking for a person with a sense of humour who gets on great with people. I am that person because…”
An interviewee that adds a twist or responds with something that is company driven and slightly personal to the company that is interviewing them will make sure they are remembered by the interviewer for all the good points and none of the bad. For example: “I have a passion for Swansea City Football Club and I understand you sponsor them.”