Before attending an interview you should think about your responses to the following questions. Your answers may depend on the job or company in question, so you should go through your responses just before each interview.
Why do you want this job?
Think carefully about this question. Stress the positive aspects, which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job in question.
What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.
What can you contribute?
This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s), which are relevant to the new position you are applying for?
Why do you want to work for this company?
Emphasis the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. These would not endear your to a prospective employer.
What do you know about this company?
This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run down on their products / services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers etc.
What interests you about our product (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question.
What can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?
Tread carefully here. Again do not mention money, stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges etc.
You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope / succeed?
Say that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Why should we employ you?
The answer to this question will be based on your previous experience and achievements, which relate to the company. At the end you could add that you think there is a good fit between you and the job, and do ask the interviewer for their opinion.
How long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contribution to the team / company?
If you think that you could contribute from day one then say so. Then turn the question round on them and say how soon would they expect it.
How ambitious are you? Would you compete for my job?
Depending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if you are after the interviewer’s position.
What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?
Likes: stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company. Dislikes: imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.
Why did you choose a career in _______ ?
Be positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.
Why are you changing careers?
This question will only be asked if you are making a radical change in your career. Always stress the positive aspects of the change rather than the negative aspects of your previous career – you do not want to come across as someone who is moving just because you hate your old career. Say why you think you will be good in the new career – this should come from your experience and achievements, stress the transferable skills you have, such as leadership ability etc.
How much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for? What are the differences?
The interviewer is trying to see how well you would fit in to the position you are applying for. So you should stress the similarities rather then the differences. When it comes to discussing the differences it will help your case if you can show that either you have done something similar in the past or that you can quickly pick up the new skills.
What do you think of the last company you worked for?
You should stress the positive aspects of your last company saying that they were a good company to work for. Tell them about the training you received or the work related experience you gained.
Why did you join your previous company? Did they live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?
Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Be very careful that you do not say anything negative about your present employer. If you do, the new company will wonder that you will say about them when you leave. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you fits the bill.
Explain the organisational structure in your last company and how you fitted into it?
This sort of question may by used to find out whether your old job is at a comparable level to your new job. If the new job being discussed would be a step up the ladder you will need to show that you are ready for a more demanding position. You may be able to show that you have already had many of the responsibilities and the necessary skills, which would be required for the next step/
How long have you been looking for a new job?
If you have been unemployed for a long time this may be a rather tricky question to answer, but be honest. If you have been away on holiday or done some voluntary work you could mention this.
Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?
Remember where you are! If the company interviewing you is a small to medium company say that you enjoy a close atmosphere with a good team spirit. At large company say that you enjoy the stability of working for a large and established company.
What are you looking for in a new job?
Make sure your answer fits in with the company who is interviewing you. A suitable reply would be that you are looking for a new job where you can apply your existing skills and learn new ones.
What would your ideal job be?
Again, remember where you are! Describe the job in terms of the criteria they have used to describe their job. An ideal job might include things like challenging work, a fair rate of pay for the job, nice colleagues good career prospects, good team atmosphere, opportunity to learn new skills, apply old skills etc.
Are you considering any other positions at the moment?
If you are, say so, but do not give too many details away – it will weaken your negotiating position later. If you do not have any other job offers at the moment just say that you have a few more irons in the fire.
What did you think of your manager / supervisor?
Say that he / she was the sort of person you could learn from and you communicated well, which meant that the task in hand was completed on time.
What did you do on a day-to-day basis?
Stress the positive things your did including your achievements. Even if some or much of it was paperwork, you can still show your interest in the way it was tackled.
Did you increase sales or profits in your last job?
This question is only relevant for senior managers or sales people. If you have increased sales and / or profit then do not be afraid to should about it. If you have not increased sales say why not, e.g. general downturn in the market, etc. It might be a good idea to mention an achievement in a previous job if your performance was better there.
Have you reduced costs at your last company?
If you have reduced costs say so – companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs.