10 of the Most Common Interview Questions & How to Answer

One can never be too prepared for a job interview, that’s what you should always tell yourself. It’s the key to success and will put you ahead of all the other candidates.

Here’s another way you can prepare for your interview, by practicing the 10 most common interview questions asked, along with some ways to answer them.

1. “Tell me about yourself”

Talk about yourself and your career in a summary fashion. Do your best to avoid rambling and ‘going on’ about absolutely everything you’ve ever done, just focus on your achievements and what you’re most proud of.

sotellmeaboutyourself

2. “What are your strengths?”

Focus on discussing what you’re particularly good at, and be prepared to back them up with solid evidence / instances of how you’ve used them.

Try to avoid using a load of adjectives like ‘dynamic’, ‘team player’, ‘synergy’, as they won’t portray the real you at all.

3. “What are your weaknesses?”

The first thing to never do with this question is say “I have no weaknesses”. If you do, it’ll seem like you haven’t prepared for the interview at all.

At the same time, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by ‘under-complementing’ and saying “I work way too hard”.

Try to think about a genuine weakness that you’re making an effort to fix / resolve. The interviewer will be impressed that you’re being honest with yourself and that you’re trying to improve.

4. “Why should we hire you?”

Demonstrate how driven you are to be hired for this role. If you have everything that the Hiring Manager is looking for, then point it out, immediately! Talk about the other things you can ‘bring to the table’ and what they could do for the company.

Do NOT compare yourself with the other applicants.

why-should-we-hire-you

5. “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

Take this opportunity to talk about your goals and future plans. Speak to them as if your a person with vision.

6. “Why are you looking for a new job? / Why did you leave your previous job?”

Keep this one as positive as you can, even if you’ve had a negative experience (such as getting fired), don’t go into drama, that’s not going to impress anyone. Discuss how you want to develop yourself and your career, not get more money (definitely don’t mention that).

7. “What do you know about our company?”

This can be an incredibly easy question to answer and impress on IF you do your homework. Try and learn as much as you can about the company and their offering, have they received any awards recently? Been in the news? Who are their main players? (same previous two questions apply to them as well).

By answering this effectively and confidently, you’ll show that you really do have a genuine interest in them.

8. “What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?”

This is a tricky one and requires an answer which is relevant to the job.

Sure, talking about how you decreased the companies IT costs by 21% is interesting, but pretty irrelevant if you’ve gone in for a Sales Manager role…

Talk about how you developed a fantastic sales offering / package which increased company profits by **%, that’s going to impress them!

9. “What are your salary expectations?”

A very tricky and dangerous question to answer during an interview. If you’ve researched the position enough and are confident you could give the company what they want, then it may be worth putting a figure on the table.

Then again, if you want to avoid talking about it, then say money isn’t really a motivator and you’re just looking to develop yourself and your career. You might also try an approach that Liz Ryan (Forbes – Human Workplace) recommends, which is by saying “I’m focusing on jobs in the $50k range” Is this position in that range?”.

filthy-rich

10. “Do you have any questions for me?”

The grand finale! This one comes up almost every time unless the interviewer just forgets to ask it.

Make sure you have some questions prepared, as this will (once again) show that you have done some research and are keen to know / learn more about them and the job.

But really, ask some questions that you genuinely want answers for. You’re interested in this position, right?

Keep in mind that this is only a very small offering of interview questions that might come up. Interviewers and Hiring Managers are getting more and more creative by the day with what they ask, so make sure you go armed with good answers.

5 Ways to Scare Away Your Pre-Interview Nerves

Even the best of us have been there. We’ve fully prepped ourselves for a job interview and are on our way to it and then….the dreaded pre-interview nerves work their way into your system to wreak havoc!

You’re certainly not alone though. In a survey taken in 2013, 92% of respondents (American) stressed over one or more aspects of a job interview, with 17% feeling nervousness dealt the most stress, so you are most certainly not alone.

In today’s post, we’re going to discuss 5 of the very best ways to banish those pre-interview nerves and worries.

1. Laughter really is the best medicine

Laughing has been scientifically proven to help cure various illnesses and diseases, but it’s especially effective at reducing your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and anxiety.

Think about the last time you had a really good laugh and try to repeat whatever caused it! Was it a good movie? Something a friend said? Anything! Try to get yourself laughing a few hours before your interview to beat down those nerves.

2. Music, music, music!

Just like laughter, music can have an incredible effect on how we feel right before an interview. Music will either put you into a low-stress state or will give you a huge confidence boost or ‘pumped up’.

Choosing the right song can also help you to feel a sense of inspiration, which will help you out enormously during the interview!

listening to music

3. Eat away the nerves

Most times, nerves leave us feeling nauseous or sick and the worst possible thing you can do to exasperate this is by going into the interview on an empty stomach.

Eating the right foods before your interview will give you energy and help your brain to function correctly. It’ll also make you feel good if you eat something particularly ‘yummy’; just try to avoid sugary snacks and treats!

4. Have you done your homework?

The worst, worst, WORST thing you can do is arrive at an interview without having done any research or homework beforehand.

By learning about the company, you’ll be able to talk confidently about them and what they do, and by learning some common interview questions and answers, you’ll hopefully be able to answer (almost) everything they throw at you.

5. You are a boss!

Take this into account, why have you got this interview? Why are they giving you their valuable time to interview you for this job? It’s easy…because you earned it! These people want to talk to you!

Your strengths and skills have got you this interview, that’s an excellent accomplishment, whatever the job.

If taking this into account doesn’t fill you with a sense of achievement and confidence, as well as ANNIHILATING those pre-interview nerves, then I don’t know what will.

you da man

Being nervous and anxious is a part of life, which we can come face to face with at any time. However, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot get over your nerves with ease.

Heed these tips and make that interview yours!

The Notorious “Why Do You Want To Work Here?” Interview Question

Strange question, right? You may think it odd that an employer wants to know why you want to work for them, but you really do need to persuade them and prove that you’re interested.

This is interview question favoured by most employers is one you will most certainly be asked from time to time, that’s why you need to master it.

The “why do you want to work here” question can sound easy to answer, sure, you could just go for the short answer which is “I just need a job”, but you don’t want to do that, ever. You need to stand out from the crowd when answering this!

Here are some tips to creating yourself a killer answer for this somewhat killer question:

Research – Check sources like Google for articles about the company, particularly any successes or awards they may have received. How about the industry they are a part of? Has that had any recent developments or boosts?

You could also visit websites such as Glassdoor, which allows current and ex-employees to publicly review the companies that they have worked for, this can give you some excellent insights into the company and should not be overlooked!

Topics To Use – there’s a load of topics you can discuss when answering “why do you want to work here”, the main ones include the company culture – what’s it like to be a part of their business, the (previously mentioned) company successes / awards / challenges, development opportunities and training offered, and the main one…their product and / or services and why they interest you.

Know the position as well and why you think it would be a good challenge for you and what you could be doing for them.

Topics To Avoid – Being too honest can sometimes guarantee interview failure, an employer isn’t going to be impressed if you sit there and say something like “I’m desperate for work, I’ll do anything here, I’ll take any wage”. You must also avoid saying something like “this just looks like a great company to work for, I’d love a job here”, that’s just generic and doesn’t demonstrate any evidence that you’ve researched the company.

The final one is to not give the silly unfunny answer such as “you may as well throw all those other CV’s away! I’m your Man!”.

In a way, you do want to get that final one across; you need to show off your skills and talents, just not in an overly cocky and annoying way like that.

Do YOU Want This Job? – You should take the time to think about the position and whether you really want it. Is this a company that you really want to represent? Do you really feel passionate about their product, service or industry? Is the position a step up or drop down?

You need to ask yourself the question “why do I want to work here?”.

Hopefully, now you’ve got a good idea of how to answer the “why do you want to work here” question.

If you think we’ve missed anything then please feel free to share it with us on here or our social channels, which can be found in the navigation bar on our main website.

How To Dress For An Interview

Dress To Impress!

When attending a job interview, it is crucial to get your appearance right. Not looking the part could play a large part in not getting the job, and whether the Interviewer wants to progress your application.

Here are some points to help you out when it comes to deciding on how to dress for an interview:

Ask Beforehand – It’s perfectly acceptable and normal to email or call the Interviewer or HR Manager prior to your interview, to ask what kind of interview it’s going to be (formal or informal), from there, you can make a judgement on what outfit you should be wearing. Whether it be a suit or a jacket with jeans and smart shoes.

What Do Their Employees Wear? – Research the company culture before the interview, and try to match what their current employees are wearing. Are you interviewing at Google? Might be best to go for that smart casual look! Accountancy firm? Suited and booted!

In most cases, it’s the done thing to go for the suited option, smart casual interviews very rarely happen.

Not Too Loud – It can be good to wear ‘louder’ colours in your outfit, it can show that your confident and are trying to stand out. Just don’t go for something completely over the top; you want to impress the interviewer, not distract them.

Keep any shirts as plain as you can, as well as ties and socks, the interviewer will notice otherwise.

Keep It Tidy – If your outfit is wrinkled and / or dirty, you need to get that fixed ASAP! The worst thing that you can do is show up to an interview with a dirty suit or wrinkled shirt, make sure you do this a few days before so that you can get it cleaned if needed. Ensure that your clothes are well-fitting, anything else might appear messy and you’ll also feel more at ease and comfortable during the interview.

Ensure that your clothes are well-fitting, anything else might appear messy and you’ll also feel more at ease and comfortable during the interview.

Oh and please, don’t forget to polish your shoes!

The Night Before – Prepare your entire outfit the night before! You don’t want to have to stress about finding that missing sock or tie on the day of your interview.

Overall, if you can’t work out what to go dressed in, I would play it safe and just go for an uncomplicated plain option, aka suited and booted.

Do you have any advice on how to dress for an interview? Stick it in the comments below or share it with us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook!

How To Video Interview, Successfully

Need Help With Your Video Interview?

The video interview is becoming more and more popular by the day, a lot of companies and recruiters are starting to use them, mainly due to how cost effective and convenient they are.
Candidates must prepare themselves with new ways to impress the interviewers during these meetings, that wouldn’t normally be used during your standard face to face interview.

If you have a video interview coming up and need to prepare yourself, then you’ve chosen the right article to read! Let’s begin:

1. Test Your Tech – Whatever you’re using, be it a computer, tablet or even a smartphone (I would avoid this), you need to ensure that your picture quality (camera) and sound (microphone) are up to scratch! You must also make sure that you have a stable internet connection with a half decent speed, along with a well-lit area for you to sit in and the right software installed.

Test it before you begin the interview, ask a friend or family member to video call you and give you feedback. Also, turn off any applications that could interrupt the interview, ensure that your operating system isn’t going to update and restart halfway through the meeting!

2. Location, location, location – Avoid sitting in an area with any distractions or background noise. As mentioned above, make sure that the area is lit correctly, and that you’ve (ideally) chosen a plain generic background.

3. Dress like you mean it! – Just because you’re having a job interview at home, doesn’t mean that you can video interview wearing your favourite t-shirt and jeans. Dress and present yourself as if you were having a proper interview; that means a full suit, tie, tidy hair and clean teeth!

4. Smile for the birdy! – Don’t forget that this is a job interview, keep eye contact with the camera, smile, and don’t slouch or wave your hands around.

5. Q&A – You’re not the only one who’s going to be receiving questions! You can also give some to the interviewer, so get some prepared before the interview begins (keep them offscreen, of course).

That’s that! Your video interview is over and now what do you do? Maybe you should check out our ‘post interview survival guide‘, or if you want to polish up your interview skills a bit more, then you can read our ‘interview mistakes to avoid‘ article.

The Ultimate CV Checklist

CV Checklist! Get Your CV Checklist Here!

The time has come to update your CV because you’ve decided that over the weekend you’re going to apply for some jobs!

We’ve put together this cv checklist to help you create an interview and hopefully job winning CV:

Is your contact information visible? 
You must, must, must have contact information somewhere on your CV. Use your name, personal address, email and telephone number/s (choose between home, mobile or both).

Ensure that your email address is appropriate as well; Hiring Managers and Recruiters won’t be impressed if you’re using something like “walrus_dandruff@hotmail.co.uk”. Make sure you also have a nice, professional voicemail set as well, just in case you miss any calls.

See our CV mistakes post for more info on the above.

What did you do and where? 
Ensure you’re displaying your most relevant qualifications, skills and experiences to showcase your ability to do the job. Sure, putting in your summer jobs when you were 16 in is nice, but an employer is really interested in the later / recent ‘good stuff’ that you have done.

Have you got a summary? 
This section is imperative and needs to include any achievements / qualifications that you are particularly proud of, but more importantly, should tell the employer why they should hire you. Get them excited about your skillset and how you could help them!

Have you tailored your CV? 
The chances of you getting an interview and maybe even the job could depend on this! Use strong keywords and strategic placements to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. Give them good reasons for offering you the job!

Have you spell and grammar checked? 
This is easy and only takes a minute or two; use the built-in Word spellchecker or Grammarly to check over your CV, it’s worth it!

Is it an appropriate length? 
Hiring Managers and Recruiters don’t want to spend time going through a 5+ page CV which lists absolutely everything that you’ve ever done in your professional career. Make it no longer than 2 pages if you possibly can!

Everything else:
Is it visually pleasing? 
Is it easy to read and not cramped? 
Is it all neatly aligned? 
Is each section clearly labelled? 
Have you checked the continuity of the fonts and sizes? 
Have you listed some interests? 
Have you included keywords, action verbs, buzzwords and industry relevant acronyms? 
Have you included a referees section? 
Does the content support your career goal? 

Does it feature a:
Contact info section? 
Personal profile / summary section? 
Employment history / work experience section? 
Education and training section? 
Interests and achievements section? 
References section? 

Finally, have you read it and have you had someone else read it? 

You should now have an excellent CV to use in your next job application!

If this CV checklist has helped you, then please leave us a comment!

The Job Interview Has Finished! Now What?

The Post Interview Survival Guide

You’ve done it! Well done! You survived the job interview and have hopefully impressed the Interviewer enough to either secure a 2nd / 3rd interview or maybe even the job (depending on what stage you’re at)!

Now this is where the scary part comes in, surviving the post interview wait. There are still some important things that you should do and keep doing as soon as you’ve left the interview, let’s discuss:

Say Thank You & Follow Up

You might be thinking “hey, the interview’s over, I just have to play the waiting game now!” Wrong! Now it’s time to prepare your thank you note and get it sent out. Make sure you get this out within a day or ideally on the same day as your interview.

You can choose between handwriting one, typing one (and then sending in the post) or by email. Play it smart, if for example your job requires email skills, then send one by email. If it’s for a formal organisation then a handwritten letter is going to be your best choice.

I would personally go for the handwritten or typed, printed and posted / hand delivered option. This is really going to help you stand out and be different to what others are doing!

The above can and should also be applied to following up; make sure you show the employer how grateful you were for them giving you their time, and to ask any questions you may have thought of afterwards.

Don’t Hold Your Horses! – 

Yes, the interview could have gone incredibly and you may have even secured yourself a new job, but it’s imperative that you don’t stop searching until you have an offer letter in front of you! Continuing your search and having other interviews will also ease the pain of receiving interview and job rejections. Hey! You might even find something better than the role you previously applied for!

A good idea might be to tap up the hiring companies competition to see if they have something similar which you could apply for.

What Worked And What Didn’t? – 

Take a bit of time after the interview to think about what went particularly right or particularly wrong. Compare it with a list of interview mistakes (like ours) and see what you can improve on next time! Turn yourself into an interviewing Jedi!

Feeeeeedbaaaaack

This is a very important point which people often neglect / forget about. If you didn’t get the job this time round, then make sure you ask the employer for some feedback, this will help you to improve and develop yourself for future interviewers. Ask them what was particularly good about the interview, so that you can make sure you do it next time!

interview feedback

Taking on these tips will help you develop a fantastic post interview strategy and will ultimately and hopefully help you find that perfect job!

We often share articles like this on our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages, so make sure you’re following us so that you don’t miss out!

We’ll have more on this subject in the future, thanks for reading.

Does A Designers CV Need To Be Well Designed?

Let’s create a Designers CV to win you the job!

So you’ve seen a creative / design based role online that you would like to apply for and now it’s time to give your CV a touch-up, but now you’re worrying about how creatively designed it actually needs to be!

As the need for more experienced and creative Designers rises, job seekers looking for a role in that arena will need to up their game when it comes to putting together a CV. You need to fight off the competition to ensure you get shortlisted for an interview!

You need to drum up interest in your CV by really putting your creative skills to the max, this CV needs to ideally be the best piece of ‘work’ you’re ever going to create.

If you are going to put something unique together, then you need to remember to include easy to read and informative details about yourself and your skillset. Don’t just put together something colourful and visually attractive; don’t forget that this is a CV, give it a good balance!

I thought I would show some of the most creative CV’s I’ve personally come across online whilst working here, they might even inspire you to create something similar:

This is a great one; Sid created this as a concept, but it was unfortunately never physically created, but it still demonstrates his skills and proficiency with graphics editing softwares. His 2004 CV isn’t too shabby (putting it lightly) either!

designers cv

This one is my favourite of the lot! Robby Leonardi, a multidisciplinary designer put together this video game themed CV to showcase himself to the ‘player’. If you’re a Designer and coding expert like Robby, then you need a CV like this!

designers cv

Zhi Liang has put together this excellent infographic CV, it’s definitely another excellent one that stands out from the crowd; it catches the readers eye straight away and (importantly) showcases his qualifications and skills without it looking messy and ‘crammed’.

designers cv

Here’s another infographic CV created by Gary Corr, which neatly unfolds into three different sections; one side pulls the reader in and then tells them to turn over, where they can find his education, work experience and more!

designers cv

This is another unfolding / folding CV that was put together by Amber Van Mieghem. If this fantastic opener doesn’t get the employers attention, then I don’t know what will!

designers cv

This final one features a great design on a milk carton! This is another concept creation, which (to my knowledge) I don’t believe was ever physically created, unfortunately.

designers cv

That’s it for this one! Hopefully you’re now inspired to create a glorious Designers CV which will win you the interview, and maybe even the job!

If you want to see more of these, then just go to somewhere like Pinterest and search for ‘CV designs’ or ‘creative CV’, for example, there are thousands more of these great creations out there!

10 Things You Should Never Say Or Do In A Job Interview

Some things in the job interview process should be left unsaid and undone, they’ll damage your reputation, your professional image and mainly all hope of getting the job will just go out the window!

You normally won’t be given a second chance to redeem yourself, once you’ve said or done whatever it may be that has turned the Interviewer against you, that’s it! Game over!

We’ve put together a useful little list of things that you should never say or do in a job interview which you’ll hopefully put to good use, let’s go:

1. The Interviewer asks “where do you see yourself in five years time”, you come back with “in your seat” or “I’ll have your job” – Sure, it’s all well and good to be confident during your interview, but throwing out over the top / cocky statements like this will just annoy the interviewer and lose you the job.

2. *Ring ring, ring ring…* “hello?” – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT answer your mobile phone if it should start ringing in an interview! Keep it on silent or even better, off.Bush_Oval_Office_phone_call

3. “So what do you guys do again?” or “I literally have no idea what your company does” – Failing the question “what do you know about our company” is very hard to do and can sometimes be an instant interview fail. Do the research! It’s so easy, just take 10-20 minutes to read up on them!

4. The Interviewer, “so what did you get up to in your last job”. You, “oh you know, stuff…” – Stuff? Stuff?! Really? Just tell them what you currently do / have done, it’s another ridiculously easy question to ace!

5. “Feedback, now! (please)” – Everyone likes feedback, it’s what helps us to improve and ultimately succeed at whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish, but asking for it there and then at the end of an interview is NOT the place! If you don’t succeed in the interview, then feel free to ask for it.

6. “Yes, that was a *!^& project” – Swearing is a huge no-no in a job interview, even if the person you’re talking to starts throwing down some colourful lingo, doesn’t mean you have to as well. Express your experience / skills by using proper words.

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7. *Yawwwwn* – If you’re bored, or tired, try not to show it! You will never be taken seriously by any Interviewer ever if you’re like that! Sit up straight, lock onto the Interviewer and take an interest in what they are saying. (alternatively, learn to yawn with your mouth closed and drink a few Red Bulls before the interview begins).

8. Suited and booted! – Sure, it might be really tempting to put on those new jeans, t-shirt and trainers that you bought the other day, but I’m afraid professional attire is what you will always be expected to wear at an interview. Remember, it’s all about those first impressions!

9. “What’s cooking good looking?” – Avoid saying anything like this at all costs! This is a job interview! Not an opportunity to flirt with the Interviewer, no matter how stunning they may appear!

10. “Do you have any questions?” – show the Interviewer that you’re interested in the role by asking questions! Make them confident! Ask them some good’uns like the ones found here.

That’s it for another post from us! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it either useful and / or entertaining! This is just a very small collection which we will expand on at some point in the future.

10 Very Useful Career Infographics

Infographic for your thoughts?

I love a good infographic (career infographics to be precise) and frequently post them to our social channels; they provide quick and extremely useful pieces of information in a clear, precise and (usually) pleasing-to-the-eye way!

So, here are 10 career infographics which I felt were worthy of featuring; let’s begin: (please note that these aren’t in any particular order)

1. The Hottest Skills of 2015 on LinkedIn

If you’re wondering what to do with your life, be you a school leaver or even an experienced professional looking for a new career path, then this list will definitely point you in the right direction!

2. Modern Ways to Job Search

career infographics

It’s a few years old, but this post still provides very relevant and detailed information on how to go about searching for a job at present!

3. What’s Your Career Type?

CareerType-Holland

Take this one with a pinch of salt (maybe even a big spoonful, haha) as it may not be entirely accurate, BUT, it’s still fun to read and go through the different branches to see where you end up.

4. 10 Tips to Master The Phone Interview

10-Tips-Master-Phone-Interview1

Hopefully, most of these should be a given to you already, but some of you may not have become a phone interviewing Jedi yet. Don’t despair though! Give this infographic a good read!

obi-wan-job-interview

5. Interview Preparation – The Decisive Factor

Interview-Preparation-Infographic

Did you know that 93% of employability is determined by preparation and that only 1 in 10 candidates spends 2 hours of more preparing! I know that because I stole it from the article, haha. But seriously, interview preparation is EVERYTHING; it’s worth it, I promise you.

6. 17 LinkedIn Profile Must-Haves

17-Steps-to-a-Perfect-Linkedin-Profile-Infographic

I’m a big advocate of LinkedIn (as you can tell by this one and some of my other blog posts) and why on earth wouldn’t you be?! It’s the largest business to business network in the world at your fingertips..for free! If you want to get noticed on LinkedIn though, you need to put in the hard work – again, this is worth it in the long run!

7. The Do’s and Don’ts of The Modern CV / Resume

1427479015-resume-info

Here’s another modern-themed career infographic covering all of your cv need to knows and do’s! Despite being a published a while ago, it’s all still very relevant information that you should heed!

8. 15 Ways to Beat Procrastination

1417534655-15-ways-overcome-procrastination-get-stuff-done-infographic (1)

Go on, admit it, you might have come across this article whilst procrastinating! It’s fine! It happens to the best of us! However, you wouldn’t be procrastinating if you were either in a job / in a job that you enjoyed. I personally found numbers 2, 4, 6 and 9 very useful.

9. Keep Calm and Beat Job Interview Nerves

Stay-Calm-in-Job-Interviews

As Siofra mentions in this post, “it doesn’t matter how many job interviews you undertake” or what the level of position is, every single job interview you attend will be a nerve juddering experience. So that’s why EssayTigers came up with this great infographic to help you out!

dont_panic_dads_army_t_shirt-d235728038985568146tdq8_210

10. The Habits of Successful People Vs Unsuccessful People

habits

Want to succeed in life? Of course you do! Well, then it’s worth implementing these everyday habits into your routine! Transform yourself and see where it takes you!

That’s that! Finito! Remember that these are just a small selection of my favourite career infographics, I’ll have some more for you very soon! In the meantime, you can visit our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages for more!