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How to Handle the Dreaded 5 Questions!

15th Jun 2012


No matter how experienced you are, it is inevitable that during a recruitment process someone is going to ask you the 5 dreaded interview questions!

No matter how experienced you are or what industry you are in, it is inevitable that at some point during a recruitment process someone is going to ask you one or all of the 5 dreaded interview questions! For some, these questions make your eyes roll to the back of your head. For others, it makes you want to slide under the interview table and disappear in a cloud of job seeking smoke! My advice to everyone is that you accept the fact that they are going to come up and you can and should prepare a couple of answers prior to your application in order to avoid disappointment, embarrassment or even worse, unemployment!

1. Q: How would your colleagues describe you?

Wrong Answer: Charming, good looking, a real party animal!

How best to handle it: Have a quick look at what personal competencies this business is looking for in the job description. Then think about how you’ve operated in previous roles and what personality traits you have that match the criteria: eg A strong Leader or thrives in a busy environment.

2. Q: What are your strengths and weakness?

Wrong Answer: Hmmmm, wow that’s a tough one. I really don’t actually know! (awkward laugh)

How best to handle it: This is a crucial question and almost always where people fall down. You must not be afraid to say what you feel your strengths are! Remember this is your time to shine. Also remember that when positioned correctly, all weaknesses can be turned into strengths. Eg. I’m a great team player and I always listen and encourage other people’s ideas. I’m sometimes not confident enough to voice my opinion straight away. I’ve recognized that’s an area of development and I’m excited to work on this in my new role!

3. Q: Why are you interested in this job?

Wrong Answer: Uuuum, because I have a mortgage to pay.

How best to handle it: This is the time when you can show off all the research that you’ve done on the company. Really pump up your ‘passionate’ volume! Think about a part of your profile that is an exact match to what they’re looking for and describe that connection. eg: The best roles I’ve had in the past have been roles that require a lot of creativity and hard work. I get job satisfaction by seeing huge results and from what I understand about this opportunity, I think I can make some impactful and positive changes, fast.

4) Q: Why should we offer you this role?

Wrong Answer: How can I put this, I’m just really really amazing.

How best to handle it: In order to really nail this answer you must have already ascertained what the company or business unit’s overall objectives are. That way you can then match your skills and experience to the objectives and prove to them that you have not only understood what they are trying to achieve, but that you are also more than capable of achieving those goals with them.

And last but no means least….

5) Q: Do you have any questions for us?

Wrong Answer: No, I think you’ve pretty much answered all of the questions I had thanks!

How best to handle it: This is very straight forward. Ask them questions that an industry expert might ask them. Begin the question by making reference to something they may have already said and most importantly, get them thinking about you in that role. Eg: “You mentioned before that the recent merger has caused increased communication breakdown between the teams. What tangible results would you like to see in 6 months time and what initial challenges do you think I’d face in the role?”

Hopefully these simple tips prove useful to you all at some point in the future! Remember that everyone has to go through this many times throughout their career. A tip to note is to relate your answers back to the role and company you are interviewing for. Just ensure that you prepare in advance, avoid rolling your eyes and I highly advise you never ever slide under the table…