Whether you are on your first or your tenth interview, every candidate has a list of questions that they dread being asked and so ponder tirelessly on how best to answer them. Interviews can be daunting, so be sure not to make the challenge even bigger by not preparing. Remember the famous saying; “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail!”
We asked our team what interview questions they dread, and we came up with this shortlist:
- Tell me about yourself?
- What is your biggest weakness?
- What challenges will this job present you with and how do you intend to overcome them?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
- Do you have any questions for us?
In this blog we look to at the what these questions mean and how to tackle them, giving you the best chance of having a successful interview.
What do interview questions mean and how to tackle them?
Tell me about yourself?
This is one of the most hated interview questions and it’s always difficult to understand why we find it so difficult to talk about ourselves.
This question challenges you to think on your feet and discuss what isn’t featured on your CV. While you are being interviewed for a job, remember the hiring manager is employing a person, not just a function. Falling into an unprofessional tone is a big no, but it is important to let your personality shine through to compliment your professional achievements.
The three aspects you want to resonate through your personality are; the company’s values and mission statements, keywords highlighted in the job spec and attributes that match the keywords featured. To do this, study the company ethos (it will undoubtedly be on their website under the ‘About Us’ section) and job brief specification thoroughly before hand and find a way to link them into your own personality, principles and moral code.
What is your biggest weakness?
This is almost a guaranteed question all candidates should expect. Why is it difficult? Because nobody is going to confess their biggest flaws during a job interview. So why is this such a popular interview question to ask?
Your interviewer wants the full picture, not just what is presented at interview. No-one is perfect, and this will demonstrate not only your candour but also recognition that you know you need (and want) to improve your skills set. The key tip is to pick a weakness that isn’t critical to the role and is easily fixable.
A simple weakness could be ‘I often take on a little more than I should’. It is easily fixable and even demonstrates eagerness and enthusiasm, so is very unlikely to raise any red flags.
What challenges will this job present you with and how do you intend to overcome them?
Every new role will mean having to overcome certain challenges or obstacles. Even if you have done exactly the same job before, it would have been for a different company, with different procedures and a different support team.
Your interviewer is going to want to know that you have given both the company and job role serious consideration, to the point that you have identified what areas will be most difficult for you to adjust to. Not only that, but they will want to know what you have in mind to address the issue so that you can succeed in your role.
A possible answer to such a question could be: <i>‘Adapting to the company’s culture and way of operating will be a challenge, as it will undoubtedly differ from my last employer. Spending as much time as I can learning the business processes as well as interacting with my new team of co-workers will help me acclimatise quickly.’</i>
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
This question should be expected. The key is to know where the line is between under-ambitious and over-confident. Neither <i>‘I don’t really have any plans to move forwards’, or ‘I want to have your job or be CEO’ is an acceptable answer to win you the job.</i>
The key things to remember are to be realistic maintain focus. Concentrate on one area of your potential new role and how you see yourself progressing. An appropriate answer could be <i>‘I would be keen to develop my skills and grow with the business into a more senior role, and ultimately part of the management team. However, I appreciate this will be dependent on hard work and opportunity, so I will be ready for this in x years, subject to the needs of the company’.</i>
This answer should be reflective of your career goals in relation to you prospective new role, but it will express your interest in a long-term career, ongoing development and also a demonstration of drive and ambition.
Do you have any questions for us?
This question is guaranteed to come right at the end and can always throw people off. It is ideal to always have a toolbox of questions ready, instead of answering with a predictable ‘no’. Not only will this be disappointing for your interviewer but it is also a missed opportunity for you.
Equally, it is a good sign when a prospective employer asks this question as it shows that they want you to see if the company is a fit for you too, as well as you being a good fit for the company. An interview should always be treated as a two-way process.
A great response could be something like <i>‘What do you like most about working for this company?’</i> or <i>‘Can you tell me about the type of people you have working here?’</i>.
Both of these questions are thought provoking for your interviewer and demonstrate that you really do want to know about the culture of the business to see if it fits your expectations and aspirations.
Remember, always have a few questions prepared and never miss this golden opportunity at the end of your interview!
At AeroProfessional we have a dedicated team dealing with our candidates. Their job is to support applicants from the registration process right through to you first days in your new role. Equally, if you need later down the road, your dedicated resourcer is just a phone call away. When choosing a recruiter to represent you, choose one that has industry expertise, candidate loyalty and a genuine passion for candidate selection.