Common Interview QuestionseBook

Common Interview Questions

What are you looking for in this position


6. What are you looking for in this position

Answer this question honestly - they want to know what motivates you. People are motivated by a range of different things e.g. compensation and benefits, opportunities for advancement and growth etc. Be careful not to let the panel think the only reason you want the job is because it is more pay or better benefits - if this is your reason you will probably not get the job! There are many reasons for seeking a new position that are positive and not just related to compensation and benefits - they include seeking a more challenging work situation, wanting to learn more, needing to make a higher level contribution. Think of all the positive benefits you will receive from the new position that are internal - satisfaction, achievement, growth and personal contribution.

7. Why did you leave your last job?

Be very careful when answering this question - you must avoid negative criticism of your last employer. Focus on how you have made a significant contribution and it is time to move on so that you can continue to grow and develop and contribute in a positive way to the workplace. Some common reasons for leaving could include:

. Company is restructuring and thus providing an opportunity for you to focus on new directions
. Ready to start something new because you have achieved all your career goals with the current employer
. Seeking something more challenging now that you have developed significant skills and experience in your current position
. Looking for a change of focus or career to allow you to set new goals and seek new achievements in a different area
. Personal circumstances have changed and have required you to relocate and reestablish your career

8. What will be the first thing you will do when you begin in this position (if you are successful)?

There are many valuable 'first steps' when entering a new position:

. Meet with the supervisor and any other relevant people to write a plan for your daily activities
. Meet the stakeholders you will be working with and ask them what they require from you and how you will be communicating with them
. Review the position description with your supervisor and identify all the relevant contact people for your responsibilities and arrange a meeting with them either individually or together
. Develop an action plan to identify your activities for the first month to six weeks and have it approved by your supervisor
. Identify where you can contribute according to your skills and experience
. Review documentation, plans and strategies to see where you are able to make an immediate contribution

9. What are your strengths?

In answering this question focus on 2-3 skills that you know will immediately benefit the organisation and demonstrate your professional maturity and ability to focus on getting the job done.

10. What are your weaknesses and how do you address them?

Be prepared for this one - it is often asked. We all have weaknesses we need to recognize them and be prepared to talk about them and demonstrate how we are addressing them. If you tell them your weakness is that you are always late or that you don't listen or that you don't show people respect and that you are not doing anything to address this you will not be viewed positively. When talking about your weaknesses it is important to turn the discussion to your advantage. There are a few approaches to doing this:

. Concentrate on a weakness that you had in the past and have now successfully changed so that it is no longer a problem. For example "I used to be late for meetings, but now I realize the importance of being on time and prepared so that I am able to contribute and not disturb the meeting through arriving late".
. Describe your weakness as being overly capable. For example 'overambitious' or 'extremely attentive to detail' or 'take on too much at once'. Then describe how you address this by modifying your approach and including others so as not to take on too much.
. Think of weaknesses that will have minimal impact. For example 'can be distracted' or 'sometimes lose my train of thought' or 'tend to be forgetful' - and then indicate how these things are counterbalanced by your ability to recognize when you are doing them and adapt.

Always indicate you are ready to accept that you have weaknesses and you are prepared to do what is necessary to change.

11. What are your career goals

Think about this question before the interview and really try to determine where you would like to be in 2,5 and 10 years. Indicate to the panel how the position you are applying for fits into the plan you have developed for your career. This is your opportunity to let the panel know that you are ready to build your skills and that you are looking at the organisation as a serious long term prospect to develop a career path. Indicate that you are hoping to continuously add on new responsibilities, make a larger impact on the goals of the organisation and develop personally and professionally.