Job interviews are one of the more nerve-wracking experiences going around, particularly for university graduates. Polishing your resume, drafting cover letters and building a portfolio can be taxing, and that’s before you even get to the interview stage.
To give you a heads up, we’ve compiled a list of questions that tend to be asked in almost every interview, and provided some tips on how best to respond.
1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
This is generally the first cab off the rank. Your prospective employer will want to get a gauge on the type of person you are and how you got here. It’s best to give a brief overview of your education and employment history but don’t spend five minutes describing your second year at uni in great detail. Don’t be afraid to mention where you are from, any major interests and why you work in this industry.
2. What do you know about the company?
This one definitely requires preparation. In years gone by, this would have been a more difficult task but in modern times, researching a company is easy. Comb through their website and pay specific attention to things like mission statements and about us sections, many of which will have photos and profiles on senior employees. Many businesses have a strong social media presence, so get acquainted with the company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other accounts they operate.
3. Why are you interested in this role?
It’s wise to give a two-pronged answer here, one that includes how it will benefit both yourself professionally and the business. Highlight how your qualifications and experience are relevant to the company, and explain how you can use your skillset to influence the business in a positive way. From a personal perspective, refer to how you see strong potential for career growth and progression, or that this is a specific sector you want to work in.
4. Can you give an example of when you’ve resolved a conflict in a workplace/university environment?
This can be a tricky one, especially for fresh graduates who have never worked in a traditional professional environment. If this is the case, think back to any group assignment you’ve ever completed, where there is often an issue with some contributing less than others. You can even reference a former part-time job that isn’t relevant to the role you’re applying for – employers don’t tend to worry about the context, rather that you can identify a problem and figure out a way to fix it.
5. Do you have any weaknesses?
While it can seem like a loaded question, it is more about seeing whether you can critique yourself honestly, because you will have to get used to receiving feedback in the workforce. Avoid answers like “I’m too committed to my career” and give an honest appraisal about something that you are actively working on improving, with an example of how you are trying to get better.