They loved you on paper – time to seal the deal!

Top interview questions

Chris Speedy

You’ve impressed them on paper and now it’s time to deliver the goods in person. The same interview questions pop up time and again, so take the opportunity to rev up your responses before the big day.

Perfect your pitch in advance and you’ll walk in calm, confident and clued up. Are you ready for the five killer questions?

  • Tell me about yourself!  Resist the urge to recount your life story. Think sharp and succinct – a short summary of your work and education that highlights top achievements and relevant experience. If you’re a school leaver, let them know how your studies have prepared you for this role. Your CV’s personal profile is a great place to start.
  • Why should we hire you? Take this chance to show off your strengths. Study the job description for a steer, and then pinpoint concrete examples from your education or career – from leading successful projects to supervising co-workers – that demonstrate you’re the best candidate for the position.
  • What are your weaknesses? Keep your answer positive and upbeat. Acknowledge where you’re short on skills but describe what you’re doing to build on your strengths. For example, if you lack management experience, describe the course you’re taking, your recent role as a team leader or a project that required you to co-ordinate a group.
  • Why do you want this job? Do your homework for this one – browse the company’s website, visit a store, get to know their products. Take time to find out what the business does, how and where they do it and what they stand for, then explain how your own career aims and personality are a perfect fit.
  • Give me an example of when you… dealt with a difficult customer, used initiative, turned a negative into a positive. The list goes on. You can’t predict exactly what you’ll be asked, but you’ll find some valuable clues in the job description. Look to your CV, learn your work and educational history inside out and prepare some ready-made responses that roll off the tongue. Practice makes perfect here, so don’t be afraid to run your lines out loud.

Most common interview mistakes

Most interviews give you only 3 minutes to seal the deal – and this is one time it pays to sweat the small stuff. It’s your big chance to impress and the little details, from clothing to eye contact, really do matter.

Get the inside track on avoiding the most common interview mistakes.

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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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