Generic Interview Questions and Not-so-Generic Answers

Interview questions

Here are some questions you should expect at your next job interview, and how to hack it.

Interviews suck. Being thrown in a room and challenged to prove your competency is no easy task, especially for those new to the charade of interviewing. To prepare yourself, here’s a handy guide of some interview questions you should expect, and how to answer them, without coming across monotonous or dull.

Why do you want this job?

1. What do you know about our company?

This one seems obvious, but has to be emphasized. Before an interview, regardless what stage, be sure to do research about the company. This shouldn’t be limited to just having a look at the company profile, and rattling off their mission statement by heart.

Take a look at their social media pages, recent articles, and even about the key people working in the company. That way, you’ll have a full understanding of not only what the company does, but how and why they came to where they are today.

2. Why are you leaving your current company?

Saying “I don’t like my boss” or “I want more money” may be the true reason you’ve left your previous company, but you’ll have to package it slightly better than that. Quitting your job because you don’t see eye-to-eye with your boss? Ask yourself why. Perhaps it’s his authoritarian management style you don’t agree with. If so, be sure to communicate this diplomatically, and suggest how this can be improved.

In this example of an unsavory boss, you can mention how you found it difficult to work in an environment that doesn’t allow open communication and feedback; and that this could be improved through weekly catch-ups. Remember, too much honesty could be read a disgruntled ex employee, and too little of it comes across flippant.

3. What would you like to achieve in this new role?

Before you head into that interview, it’s important you prepare yourself for the possibility that you will land the role. This exercise not only gives you self-confidence, but also helps you understand where you want to be in your next job. Visualize what exactly you would like to do, be it start a 3-month project, or work in a more cross-functional role.

This is the part where you show off your potential, and what you can do for the company. More importantly, it allows your future employer to gauge how to best fit you, and help you grow within the organisation.

4. What is your expected salary?

You’ll have to do some research, and find out how much other people with similar experience and expertise are making. If you felt you were underpaid in your previous role, be upfront and offer some sort of explanation as to why.

It might be tempting to lie about salary, in hopes of getting a pay raise; but it’s risky, as most future employers will require previous payslips. A safe answer would be to tell them what you currently make, and mention that you are happy with a 20 to 30% market rate increase.

5. Do you have any questions for me?

The answer is yes. You should always have a question for your interviewer, not just to impress them, but to use this opportunity to ease any doubt in your mind. The end of an interview might be your last chance to make a good impression, so don’t be so eager to cut it short.

If you’re stumped, it’s always safe to ask about the role. How many other people will be in the team? Is it a new or existing role? Who will you be reporting directly to? Asking questions shows interest. Just be sure to ask a relevant one that hasn’t already been addressed, or it’ll be clear you weren’t paying attention!

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