How to Ace an Interview
There are some simple steps you can take to ace an interview:
- Organise time in your schedule to revise for your meeting
- Rehearse your answers to common questions
- Memorise examples
Interviews can be a source of anxiety, but there are a few tried and true methods for acing them. Most professionals report preparation, confidence, professionalism, and friendliness as key components of a successful interview.
Practice Makes Perfect – Interview Prep
To motivate yourself and prepare, practice answering these 50 most common questions that employers ask during interviews:
- What are your strengths? –TIP: Highlight strengths that directly apply to the position.
- What are your weaknesses? –TIP: Avoid cheesy answers, think of scenarios where you have solved something to manage a weakness.
- Why are you interested in working for us? –TIP: Describe qualities of the company that you admire.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? –TIP: Name realistic goals.
- Why do you want to leave your current company? –TIP: Avoid trash-talking, talk about broadening your horizons, achieving higher goals and skills.
- What can you offer us that someone else can't? –TIP: Emphasize the value of your experience.
- Why was there a gap in your employment between these two dates? –TIP: Convey this gap as a learning experience.
- What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on? –TIP: Highlight things that you are actively trying to improve and explain how with examples.
- Are you willing to relocate? –TIP: Do not give a direct yes or no answer, you should state that at this time it is or is not something of consideration.
- Are you willing to travel? –TIP: Only answer yes if you are willing to travel.
- Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of. –TIP: Recognize an accomplishment that highlights skills that are translatable to the workplace.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake. –TIP: Emphasize what you did after making a mistake.
- What is your dream job? –TIP: Name a job that is in your field.
- How did you hear about this position? –TIP: Answer and then move on.
- What would you accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days on the job? –TIP: Have short and long-term goals established.
- Discuss your resume. –TIP: Don’t just repeat your resume.
- Discuss your educational background. –TIP: Highlight formal education and personal learning experiences.
18. Describe yourself. –TIP: Integrate both personal and professional facts.
19. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation. –TIP: Relay this story in under a minute.
20. Why should we hire you? –TIP: Give an authentic answer that conveys your desire for the position.
21. Why are you looking for a new job? –TIP: Answer genuinely.
22. Would you work holidays/weekends? –TIP: Only answer yes to this question if you mean it.
23. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer? –TIP: Emphasize your patience but also your leadership skills.
24. What are your salary requirements? –TIP: Name reasonable requirements but aim high.
25. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project. –TIP: Be humble but emphasise your dedication.
26. Who are our competitors? –TIP: If you don’t know the answer, don’t try to make something up.
27. What was your biggest failure? –TIP: Don’t make excuses for yourself, provide examples of how you have overcome failure (make a negative into a positive).
28. What motivates you? –TIP: Use a personal story.
29. What's your availability? –TIP: Give a firm answer.
30. Who's your mentor? –TIP: Always name a professional in the field.
31. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss. –TIP: Emphasize how you handled the situation.
32. How do you handle the pressure of a job? –TIP: Discuss stress-relieving hobbies.
33. What is the name of our CEO? –TIP: Do your research before interviewing.
34. What are your career goals? –TIP: Express confidence in reaching these goals.
35. What gets you up in the morning? –TIP: State positive things, for example, a morning run or walk to beat your previous day's goal.
36. What would your direct reports say about you? –TIP: Highlight positive aspects.
37. What were your bosses' strengths/weaknesses? –TIP: Avoid heavy criticism.
38. If I called your boss right now and asked him/her what is an area that you could improve on, what would he or she say? –TIP: Respond thoughtfully and consider your answer.
39. Are you a leader or a follower? –TIP: Emphasize leadership and teamwork simultaneously.
40. What was the last book you read for fun? –TIP: Avoid clichés.
41. What are your co-worker pet peeves? –TIP: Keep this answer concise.
42. What are your hobbies? –TIP: Name the hobby that you dedicate the most time to.
43. What is your favourite website? –TIP: Resist naming a social media platform.
44. What makes you uncomfortable? –TIP: Only state one thing.
45. What are some of your leadership experiences? –TIP: Highlight professional and personal leadership experiences.
46. How would you fire someone? –TIP: Demonstrate compassion and leadership.
47. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry? –TIP: Focus on positive industry aspects.
48. Would you work 40+ hours a week? –TIP: Convey your expectations for weekly hours.
49. What questions haven't I asked you? –TIP: Make any last minute comments.
50. What questions do you have for me? –TIP: Ask any lingering questions you may have.
Whether this is your first or 50th interview, practice makes perfect. Make yourself stand out by preparing properly for your next interview, and you are sure to succeed.