Dealing with difficult interview questions

For the next few weeks we will have a guest blogger, recruitment expert Ed Mellett, who’ll be offering some interview tips. So it’s over to Ed for some pearls of wisdom ...

If you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, don’t worry, that’s quite normal. Preparing in advance for the common interview questions will help you to do a lot better in the interview. And it will help to ease those nerves!

Here we cover some of the most difficult interview questions and answers:

Tell me about yourself?

This is often the first question that’s asked in an interview and it’s designed to give the interviewer a summary of your plus points. In essence, this question is your chance to sum up why they should employ you as opposed to another candidate.

It isn’t an invitation for you to discuss in-depth your love of small fluffy dogs or mountain biking. Unless of course you’re applying for a job as a dog groomer, or a mountain bike guide. If however you’re applying for a professional post, the interviewer will want to hear about your experience and qualifications as well as the personal qualities you believe make you the best candidate for the post.

Why have you chosen this career?

This is very similar to “Why did you choose that degree subject/those A Levels?” The interviewer is trying to find out if you have made a conscious decision about your career or whether you are just going with the flow. They may interpret your answer as a sign of your commitment to a particular field, or lack thereof.

What do you think this job involves?

If an interviewer asks you this they want to hear that you understand what the role involves. They are also checking that you’re not just applying for any vacancy you see.

When answering, tell them what you understand the main responsibilities of the role to be and outline the strengths and qualifications that they are looking for – focusing of course on the ones that you possess.

Why do you want this job?

Again they will be checking to see that you know what the job requires and how you think you would be a good fit. They are also asking “Why do you want to work for this company”, so when answering outline what appeals to you about this particular organisation.

With thanks to Edward Mellett, Director of graduate jobs website, for contributing this post.

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