Interview Preparation - Part 3a

Apr 11, 2018


3a Opening Questions:

One of the most common reasons for being nervous at interview is not knowing what you are going to be asked and having to think on your feet, to overcome this there are some simple things you can do to prepare.


Common opening questions:

Some interview questions are very common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

Prepare your answers to the following questions ahead of any interview, even if you are not asked these exact questions it is great practise to get used to talking about yourself in a work context.

Practice your answers with a friend or family member. 

Make sure to keep your answers concise and relevant to the job role.


1: Tell me about yourself:

You are an expert on yourself, so this should be easy to answer, but where do you start?

Prepare an elevator pitch - a summary of where you are in your career, why you are looking and what you want next. The underlining message you want to convey is why you are attending this interview.  A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 30 to 60 seconds, hence the name.

Many interviewers use this as a first question to get the interview started.  Some interviewers don’t have set questions but will use your response to structure the rest of the interview.


2: Tell me about your current / most recent position:

As well as assessing how well your previous experience compares to the role on offer, the interviewer will be assessing how well you present the information.

Start by setting the scene: what does your organisation do, or, if you work for a very large organisation, what does your division do, how many people are in your immediate department and what is your role within that structure.

Then offer a brief description of your responsibilities, focusing on the areas of your work which are most relevant to the post that you are applying for.  Avoid jargon or internal acronyms, practise explaining your job to someone who has no idea about what you do.  As Einstein said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."


3: Why are you looking for this change?

Always be positive, reasons could include career progression, change in circumstances, seeking a new challenge.  Where possible, link these to the job you are being interviewed for, reinforcing why this would be a great job for you.  The interviewer will expect you to be looking at other opportunities but they want to see evidence that you are enthusiastic about their role and that it meets your requirements to reassure them that you will commit to the post.

Always be upbeat, it will make you appear more confident.

Never discuss problems at a previous company, all employers what to know that a candidate is discreet and professional.

Never criticise.


4: What functions and tasks do you enjoy the most in your current role?

The interviewer wants to know that you understand what is involved in the role that they are offering, by asking about your current role they can see if there are synergies with the tasks and responsibilities in the job role.  Align your answers to the research you had done on the job description, and as much as possible explain why you enjoy those aspects.


Stay tuned for Lloyd Barnes next post on Interview Preparation Part 3b - Awkward Questions!