Top 10 practice interview questions
Got an interview coming up? The best thing that you can do to prepare is to think through the questions you’re likely to be asked and formulate answers ahead of time. Too many job seekers stumble through interviews as if the questions are coming out of left field - but there are some common interview questions that pop up in all interviews.
Saying your answers out loud over and over—or even writing them down - will significantly improve how well you perform and how confident you feel. While you don't need to memorize an answer, it’s worth taking the time to think about what you're going to say, so you don’t feel like you’re being put on the spot in your interview.
- Tell us about yourself? Be able to succinctly summarise your professional background and the experience you’ve had in a 2-3 minute spiel. This is an opportunity to describe a few of your more recent roles and the industries/organizations you've worked in, and to highlight your varied or niche experience (depending on the type of role you are applying for).
- What are your greatest strengths? When you are asked questions about your strengths, it's important to discuss attributes that will qualify you for the job. The best way to respond is to describe the skills and experience that directly correlate with the job you are applying for.
- What are your greatest weaknesses? There are several different ways you can answer this question including mentioning skills that aren't critical for the job, skills you have improved on, and turning a negative into a positive. An alternative approach is to analyze the strengths required for the position you are interviewing for and then come up with an honest shortcoming (one that is not essential)
- Why do you want to leave your job? Avoid making negative remarks about your past or present manager or the company you are working for – even if they may be true. Instead focus on the things about this new role that appeal to you (eg. An opportunity for professional growth, to expand your skill sets, to break into a new industry).
- How do you handle stress and pressure? Ultimately interviewers want to hear that you handle pressure WELL. Consider a few strategies that you might use every day eg. Prioritisation, time management – and talk about how they help you manage/handle pressure. Again, use examples if you can.
- Describe a difficult work situation/project and how you overcame it. This question will most certainly be asked, so have 2-3 examples up your sleeve. Be able to clearly identify the problem you were trying to overcome, how you went about doing so and what the end results were. Be specific and to the point.
- What drew you to this job or company? Talk about a few of your key strengths as they relate to the job for which you are applying and how they can benefit from your strengths. Then discuss how you see yourself fitting into a position at their company.
- What salary are you expecting? Interviewers want to know your salary expectations align with the role requirements. Prepare by knowing the industry standard rate for your role or industry, and what your bottom line is.
- What are your long term career goals? This question is asked to see how goal oriented you are with your life and if you have a short or long term goal or plan for your career. Don’t say that you don’t know. This is a good chance to tell the interviewer how you progressed through your career, and to convince them that you are interested in a long term relationship with the company.
- Do you have any questions? Have a short list of open-ended questions prepared before your interview so that when asked (and you certainly will be asked) “do you have any questions for me?” you don’t sit and stare back blankly. Being prepared with some insightful questions will present you as a candidate who is interested, thoughtful and intelligent.