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How to improve your body language during job interviews

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  • Job InterviewJob Interview Body LanguageBody Language
  • right signalsright signals When you are being interviewed it is veryWhen you are being interviewed it is very important that you give out the right signals. Youimportant that you give out the right signals. You should always look attentive - so do not slouchshould always look attentive - so do not slouch in your chair. Never lie to anyone in an interview,in your chair. Never lie to anyone in an interview, your body language and tone of voice or theyour body language and tone of voice or the words you use will probably give you away -words you use will probably give you away - classic body language giveaways includeclassic body language giveaways include scratching your nose and not looking directly atscratching your nose and not looking directly at the other person when you are speaking tothe other person when you are speaking to them.them.
  • If you have a moustache youIf you have a moustache you may want to consider shaving itmay want to consider shaving it off - people with moustachesoff - people with moustaches can be perceived as beingcan be perceived as being aggressive. You can always growaggressive. You can always grow it again once you have got theit again once you have got the job.job.
  • Factors that can Cost you theFactors that can Cost you the Interview/JobInterview/Job Being unprepared for the interview - youBeing unprepared for the interview - you should always prepare thoroughly beforeshould always prepare thoroughly before any interview (this will also make you feelany interview (this will also make you feel more confident at the interview).more confident at the interview). Poor/limp handshake - always a bit of aPoor/limp handshake - always a bit of a no-no.no-no.
  • Saying unfavourable things about previousSaying unfavourable things about previous employers - the employer will be wonderingemployers - the employer will be wondering what you will say about them when youwhat you will say about them when you leave their employment.leave their employment. Not being able to communicate clearly andNot being able to communicate clearly and effectively.effectively.
  • Being aggressive or acting in aBeing aggressive or acting in a superior way - nobody like this sosuperior way - nobody like this so please don't do this.please don't do this. Making excuses for failings.Making excuses for failings.
  • Job Interview AfterthoughtsJob Interview Afterthoughts If you're not getting the job offers you desire thenIf you're not getting the job offers you desire then you need to look carefully at your interviewyou need to look carefully at your interview performance. You should try and get as muchperformance. You should try and get as much feedback as possible from the people who havefeedback as possible from the people who have interviewed you. If you have been unsuccessful ininterviewed you. If you have been unsuccessful in obtaining a job ring up the interviewer and askobtaining a job ring up the interviewer and ask them where they think you fell down and how theythem where they think you fell down and how they think you could do better. Once you have gotthink you could do better. Once you have got feedback you can modify your interview techniquefeedback you can modify your interview technique and hopefully do better at the next interview.and hopefully do better at the next interview.
  • List of interview questions relating to theList of interview questions relating to the new job / companynew job / company Why do you want this job?Why do you want this job? What qualities do you think will be requiredWhat qualities do you think will be required for this job?for this job? What can you contribute?What can you contribute? Why do you want to work for this company?Why do you want to work for this company? What do you know about this company?What do you know about this company?
  • What interests you about our product (orWhat interests you about our product (or service)?service)? What can we (the new company) offer thatWhat can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?your previous company cannot offer? You have not done this sort of job before.You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?How will you cope/succeed? Why should we employ you?Why should we employ you? How long do you think it would be beforeHow long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contributionyou were making a significant contribution to the team/company?to the team/company? How ambitious are you?How ambitious are you?
  • Would you compete for my job?Would you compete for my job? What do you like and dislike about the job weWhat do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?are discussing? What are you looking for in a new job?What are you looking for in a new job? What would you like to avoid in your nextWhat would you like to avoid in your next job?job? Are you too old for this job?Are you too old for this job? Are you too young for this job?Are you too young for this job? You may be over qualified for this position?You may be over qualified for this position? Are you prepared to relocate?Are you prepared to relocate? Are you willing to travel?Are you willing to travel? What level of salary are you looking for now?What level of salary are you looking for now?
  • List of interview questions relating to the newList of interview questions relating to the new job / companyjob / company These interview questions relate to almost anyThese interview questions relate to almost any type of job. Please note that an interviewertype of job. Please note that an interviewer may also ask questions that relate to themay also ask questions that relate to the specific position that you are applying for.specific position that you are applying for. Why do you want this job?Why do you want this job? What qualities do you think will be required forWhat qualities do you think will be required for this job?this job? What can you contribute?What can you contribute?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?Why do you want to work for this company? What do you know about this company?What do you know about this company? What interests you about our product (orWhat interests you about our product (or service)?service)? What can we (the new company) offer thatWhat can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?your previous company cannot offer? You have not done this sort of job before.You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?How will you cope/succeed?
  • Why should we employ you?Why should we employ you? How long do you think it would be beforeHow long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contributionyou were making a significant contribution to the team/company?to the team/company? How ambitious are you?How ambitious are you? Would you compete for my job?Would you compete for my job? What do you like and dislike about the jobWhat do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?we are discussing?
  • What are you looking for in a new job?What are you looking for in a new job? What would you like to avoid in your next job?What would you like to avoid in your next job? Are you too old for this job?Are you too old for this job? Are you too young for this job?Are you too young for this job? You may be over qualified for this position?You may be over qualified for this position? Are you prepared to relocate?Are you prepared to relocate? Are you willing to travel?Are you willing to travel? What level of salary are you looking for now?What level of salary are you looking for now?
  • List of interview questionsList of interview questions relating to your current /relating to your current / previous jobprevious job
  • How much does your last job resembleHow much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for?the one you are applying for? What are the differences?What are the differences?
  • What do you think of the last companyWhat do you think of the last company you worked for?you worked for? Why did you join your previousWhy did you join your previous company?company?
  • Did they live up to your expectations?Did they live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?Why are you leaving now? Explain the organizational structure inExplain the organizational structure in your last company and how you fittedyour last company and how you fitted into it?into it?
  • What did you think of yourWhat did you think of your manager/supervisor?manager/supervisor? How did you get on with your previousHow did you get on with your previous manager/supervisor, coworkers andmanager/supervisor, coworkers and subordinates?subordinates? What did you do on a day to day basis?What did you do on a day to day basis? Did you increase sales or profits in your lastDid you increase sales or profits in your last job?job?
  • Have you reduced costs at your lastHave you reduced costs at your last company?company? Did you feel you progressed satisfactorilyDid you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?in your last job? What problems did you encounter in yourWhat problems did you encounter in your last job?last job? What annoyed you about your last job?What annoyed you about your last job? What did you earn in your last job?What did you earn in your last job?
  • Career related interview questionsCareer related interview questions Why did you choose a career in ?Why did you choose a career in ? Why are you changing careers?Why are you changing careers? What are your career goals?What are your career goals? How long have you been looking for a newHow long have you been looking for a new job?job? Do you prefer to work in a small, medium orDo you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?large company?
  • What would your ideal job be?What would your ideal job be? Are you considering any other positions atAre you considering any other positions at the moment?the moment? If you have changed jobs a lot you may beIf you have changed jobs a lot you may be asked how long you would stay in the newasked how long you would stay in the new job.job. Have you ever been fired?Have you ever been fired? How often are you off sick?How often are you off sick? What will your referees say about you?What will your referees say about you?
  • List of interview questionsList of interview questions relating to yourelating to you
  • List of interview questions relating toList of interview questions relating to youyou How would you describe yourself?How would you describe yourself? How would others describe you?How would others describe you? Do you consider yourself successful?Do you consider yourself successful? What was your greatest success?What was your greatest success? How did you achieve it?How did you achieve it? What has been your biggest failure?What has been your biggest failure? How could you improve yourself?How could you improve yourself?
  • Are you a leader?Are you a leader? How do you handle criticism?How do you handle criticism? What sort of manager are you?What sort of manager are you? What makes a good manager?What makes a good manager? Do you work well with others? Or are you aDo you work well with others? Or are you a loner?loner? Do you need other people around toDo you need other people around to stimulate you or are you self-motivated?stimulate you or are you self-motivated? Are you accepted into a team quickly?Are you accepted into a team quickly? Can you act on your own initiative?Can you act on your own initiative?
  • How do you run a meeting?How do you run a meeting? What motivates you?What motivates you? What management style gets the bestWhat management style gets the best results out of you?results out of you? Do you know how to motivate otherDo you know how to motivate other people?people? Are you competitive?Are you competitive? Are you aggressive?Are you aggressive?
  • What do you dislike doing?What do you dislike doing? Do you feel you are ready to take onDo you feel you are ready to take on greater responsibilities?greater responsibilities? Can you work under pressure?Can you work under pressure? How many hours are you prepared toHow many hours are you prepared to work?work? Do you mind working for someone olderDo you mind working for someone older than yourself? Younger than you? Of thethan yourself? Younger than you? Of the opposite sex?opposite sex? What interests do you have outside work?What interests do you have outside work?
  • Answering interview questions -Answering interview questions - what questions might you be asked?what questions might you be asked? Before attending an interview you should thinkBefore attending an interview you should think about your responses to the following questions.about your responses to the following questions. Your answers may depend on the job orYour answers may depend on the job or company in question, so you should go throughcompany in question, so you should go through your responses just before each interview.your responses just before each interview. Why do you want this job?Why do you want this job? Think carefully about this question. Stress theThink carefully about this question. Stress the positive aspects which have attracted you topositive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention theapplying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job innegative aspects of your current job or the job in question.question.
  • What qualities do you think will beWhat qualities do you think will be required for this job?required for this job? Their advertisement for the job may help youTheir advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of thea little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. Theseother qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisorymay include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonalskills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc. What can you contribute?What can you contribute? This is your chance to shine. Tell them aboutThis is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previousyour achievements in your previous position(s) which are relevant to the newposition(s) which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.position you are applying for.
  • Why do you want to work for this company?Why do you want to work for this company? Emphasise the positive reasons why you wantEmphasise the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects suchto join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. These wouldas more money or shorter hours. These would not endear you to a prospective employer.not endear you to a prospective employer. What do you know about this company?What do you know about this company? This is your chance to impress the interviewerThis is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Givewith your knowledge of their company. Give them a run down of their products/services,them a run down of their products/services, sales figures, news, company figures,sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.customers, etc.
  • What interests you aboutWhat interests you about our product (or service)?our product (or service)? Again, your research into theAgain, your research into the company should aid you in answeringcompany should aid you in answering this question.this question.
  • What can we (the new company)What can we (the new company) offer that your previous companyoffer that your previous company cannot offer?cannot offer? Tread carefully here! Again do notTread carefully here! Again do not mention money. Stress opportunitiesmention money. Stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges,for personal growth, new challenges, etc.etc.
  • You have not done this sort of jobYou have not done this sort of job before.before. How will you cope/succeed?How will you cope/succeed? Say that you are the sort of person whoSay that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do andaims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined and will dothat you are very determined and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Why should we employ you?Why should we employ you? The answer to this question will be basedThe answer to this question will be based on your previous experience andon your previous experience and achievements which relate to theachievements which relate to the company. At the end you could add thatcompany. At the end you could add that you think there is a good fit between youyou think there is a good fit between you and the job, and do ask the interviewer forand the job, and do ask the interviewer for their opinion.their opinion.
  • How long do you think it would be beforeHow long do you think it would be before you were making a significantyou were making a significant contribution to the team/company?contribution to the team/company? If you think that you could contribute fromIf you think that you could contribute from day one then say so. Then turn theday one then say so. Then turn the question round on them and say how soonquestion round on them and say how soon would they expect it.would they expect it.
  • How ambitious are you? WouldHow ambitious are you? Would you compete for my job?you compete for my job? Depending on the position you areDepending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairlyapplying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if you areambitious, but do not look as if you are after the interviewer's position.after the interviewer's position.
  • What do you like and dislike aboutWhat do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?the job we are discussing? Likes: stress things such as a newLikes: stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring freshchallenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company. Dislikes:experience to the company. Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to dislike about theImply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.job, which is why you are so interested.
  • Why did you choose a career in ?Why did you choose a career in ? Be positive about your reasons. If youBe positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logicalhave changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.argument as to why you did so.
  • Why are you changing careers?Why are you changing careers? This question will only be asked if you areThis question will only be asked if you are making a radical change in your career. Alwaysmaking a radical change in your career. Always stress the positive aspects of the change ratherstress the positive aspects of the change rather than the negative aspects of your previousthan the negative aspects of your previous career - you do not want to come across ascareer - you do not want to come across as someone who is moving just because you hatesomeone who is moving just because you hate your old career. Say why you think you will beyour old career. Say why you think you will be good in the new career - this should come fromgood in the new career - this should come from your experience and achievements, stress theyour experience and achievements, stress the transferable skills you have, such as leadershiptransferable skills you have, such as leadership ability, etc.ability, etc.
  • How much does your last job resemble the oneHow much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for? What are theyou are applying for? What are the differences?differences? The interviewer is trying to see how wellThe interviewer is trying to see how well you would fit in to the position you areyou would fit in to the position you are applying for. So you should stress theapplying for. So you should stress the similarities rather than the differences.similarities rather than the differences. When it comes to discussing theWhen it comes to discussing the differences it will help your case if you candifferences it will help your case if you can show that either you have done somethingshow that either you have done something similar in the past or that you can quicklysimilar in the past or that you can quickly pick up the new skills.pick up the new skills.
  • What do you think of the lastWhat do you think of the last company you worked for?company you worked for? You should stress the positive aspects ofYou should stress the positive aspects of your last company saying that they were ayour last company saying that they were a good company to work for. Tell themgood company to work for. Tell them about the training you received or the workabout the training you received or the work related experience you gained.related experience you gained.
  • Why did you join your previous company? DidWhy did you join your previous company? Did they live up to your expectations? Why are youthey live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?leaving now? Always be positive about your reasons forAlways be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Be very carefuljoining and leaving a company. Be very careful that you do not say anything negative about yourthat you do not say anything negative about your present employer. If you do, the new companypresent employer. If you do, the new company will wonder what you will say about them whenwill wonder what you will say about them when you leave. You might want to stress that you areyou leave. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feellooking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you fits thethat the company who is interviewing you fits the bill!bill!
  • Explain the organisational structure inExplain the organisational structure in your last company and how you fittedyour last company and how you fitted into it?into it? This sort of question may be used to find outThis sort of question may be used to find out whether your old job is at a comparable level towhether your old job is at a comparable level to your new job. If the new job being discussedyour new job. If the new job being discussed would be a step up the ladder you will need towould be a step up the ladder you will need to show that you are ready for a more demandingshow that you are ready for a more demanding position. You may be able to show that you haveposition. You may be able to show that you have already had many of the responsibilities and thealready had many of the responsibilities and the necessary skills which would be required for thenecessary skills which would be required for the next step.next step.
  • How long have you been lookingHow long have you been looking for a new job?for a new job? If you have been unemployed for a longIf you have been unemployed for a long time this may be a rather tricky question totime this may be a rather tricky question to answer. But be honest. If you have beenanswer. But be honest. If you have been away on holiday or done some voluntaryaway on holiday or done some voluntary work you could mention this.work you could mention this.
  • Do you prefer to work in a small,Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?medium or large company? Remember where you are! If the companyRemember where you are! If the company interviewing you is a small to mediuminterviewing you is a small to medium sized company say that you enjoy a closesized company say that you enjoy a close atmosphere with a good team spirit. At aatmosphere with a good team spirit. At a large company say that you enjoy thelarge company say that you enjoy the stability of working for a large andstability of working for a large and established company.established company.
  • What are you looking for in a new job?What are you looking for in a new job? Make sure your answer fits in with theMake sure your answer fits in with the company who is interviewing you. Acompany who is interviewing you. A suitable reply would be that you aresuitable reply would be that you are looking for a new job where you can applylooking for a new job where you can apply your existing skills and learn new ones.your existing skills and learn new ones.
  • What would your ideal job be?What would your ideal job be? Again, remember where you are! DescribeAgain, remember where you are! Describe the job in terms of the criteria they havethe job in terms of the criteria they have used to describe their job. An ideal jobused to describe their job. An ideal job might include things like challenging work,might include things like challenging work, a fair rate of pay for the job, nicea fair rate of pay for the job, nice colleagues, good career prospects, goodcolleagues, good career prospects, good team atmosphere, opportunity to learnteam atmosphere, opportunity to learn new skills, apply old skills, etc.new skills, apply old skills, etc.
  • Are you considering any other positionsAre you considering any other positions at the moment?at the moment? If you are say so, but do not give too manyIf you are say so, but do not give too many details away - it will weaken yourdetails away - it will weaken your negotiating position later. If you do notnegotiating position later. If you do not have any other job offers at the momenthave any other job offers at the moment just say that you have a few irons in thejust say that you have a few irons in the fire.fire.
  • What did you think of yourWhat did you think of your manager/supervisor?manager/supervisor? Say that he/she was the sort of personSay that he/she was the sort of person you could learn from and youyou could learn from and you communicated well, which meant that thecommunicated well, which meant that the task in hand was completed on time.task in hand was completed on time.
  • What did you do on a day to day basis?What did you do on a day to day basis? Stress the positive things you did includingStress the positive things you did including your achievements. Even if some or muchyour achievements. Even if some or much of it was paperwork, you can still showof it was paperwork, you can still show your interest in the way it was tackled.your interest in the way it was tackled.
  • Did you increase sales or profits in yourDid you increase sales or profits in your last job?last job? This question is only relevant for seniorThis question is only relevant for senior managers or sales people. If you have increasedmanagers or sales people. If you have increased sales and/or profit then do not be afraid to shoutsales and/or profit then do not be afraid to shout about it. If you have not increased sales say whyabout it. If you have not increased sales say why not, e.g. general downturn in the market, etc. Itnot, e.g. general downturn in the market, etc. It might then be a good idea to mention anmight then be a good idea to mention an achievement in a previous job if yourachievement in a previous job if your performance was better there.performance was better there.
  • Have you reduced costs at your lastHave you reduced costs at your last company?company? If you have reduced costs say so -If you have reduced costs say so - companies are always looking for ways tocompanies are always looking for ways to reduce costs.reduce costs.
  • How would you describe yourself? /How would you describe yourself? / How would others describe you?How would others describe you? Pick your best attributes andPick your best attributes and achievements from your career.achievements from your career. Do you consider yourself successful?Do you consider yourself successful? You should say you do. Pick some workYou should say you do. Pick some work related achievements that are in line withrelated achievements that are in line with the position that you are discussing.the position that you are discussing.
  • What was your greatest success? How didWhat was your greatest success? How did you achieve it?you achieve it? You should pick an achievement which isYou should pick an achievement which is related to their needs.related to their needs.
  • What has been your biggest failure?What has been your biggest failure? Try to pick a failure which you were laterTry to pick a failure which you were later able to correct or something that is notable to correct or something that is not really important.really important. How could you improve yourself?How could you improve yourself? Do not mention anything negative aboutDo not mention anything negative about yourself - the interviewer is looking for ayourself - the interviewer is looking for a chink in your armour.chink in your armour.
  • Did you feel you progressedDid you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?satisfactorily in your last job? If you progressed faster than normal youIf you progressed faster than normal you should say so. If growth was not as goodshould say so. If growth was not as good as expected then be careful how youas expected then be careful how you phrase this.phrase this.
  • Are you a leader?Are you a leader? State how you have successfully acted asState how you have successfully acted as a leader, giving examples of youra leader, giving examples of your successes.successes.
  • How do you handle criticism?How do you handle criticism? Your answer should be along the followingYour answer should be along the following lines: "I always think that it is important tolines: "I always think that it is important to get feedback on how I am performing soget feedback on how I am performing so that I can improve any areas which mythat I can improve any areas which my manager/supervisor highlights. Do youmanager/supervisor highlights. Do you have regular staff appraisals and a staffhave regular staff appraisals and a staff development plan?"development plan?"
  • What sort of manager are you? / WhatWhat sort of manager are you? / What makes a good manager?makes a good manager? You should say that it is someone whoYou should say that it is someone who listens to other people and can delegatelistens to other people and can delegate whilst maintaining overall control of thewhilst maintaining overall control of the task at hand, bringing in the project ontask at hand, bringing in the project on time and to budget. Good planning skillstime and to budget. Good planning skills are essential.are essential.
  • Do you work well with others? Or areDo you work well with others? Or are you a loner?you a loner? Some jobs mean that you have to workSome jobs mean that you have to work very closely with other people whilst othervery closely with other people whilst other jobs mean that you are largely working onjobs mean that you are largely working on your own, so you need to say that you areyour own, so you need to say that you are happy in both situations.happy in both situations.
  • Do you need other people around toDo you need other people around to stimulate you or are you self-motivated?stimulate you or are you self-motivated? You need to say that you are self-motivated.You need to say that you are self-motivated. Are you accepted into a team quickly?Are you accepted into a team quickly? Hopefully you can answer a resounding "Yes"Hopefully you can answer a resounding "Yes" to this question.to this question. Can you act on your own initiative?Can you act on your own initiative? You should say that you can. You could askYou should say that you can. You could ask how much responsibility you would have.how much responsibility you would have.
  • How do you run a meeting?How do you run a meeting? You could say that you must start with anYou could say that you must start with an agenda and stick to it. You could add thatagenda and stick to it. You could add that you would try to get the views and ideasyou would try to get the views and ideas from everyone present, working in an airfrom everyone present, working in an air of co-operation. If people moved off at aof co-operation. If people moved off at a tangent you would bring them back to thetangent you would bring them back to the item being discussed.item being discussed.
  • What motivates you?What motivates you? Our suggestions are career growth,Our suggestions are career growth, opportunity to learn new skills, good co-opportunity to learn new skills, good co- workers, etc.workers, etc.
  • What management style gets theWhat management style gets the best results out of you?best results out of you? Try and think about how you have reacted toTry and think about how you have reacted to different managers and which factors havedifferent managers and which factors have motivated you. Do not say too much in reply tomotivated you. Do not say too much in reply to this question, because if your answer isthis question, because if your answer is contrary to the management style of thecontrary to the management style of the company they will not be keen to employ you!company they will not be keen to employ you!
  • Do you know how to motivate otherDo you know how to motivate other people?people? Hopefully you can say "Yes", and say thatHopefully you can say "Yes", and say that you have to find out what motivates ayou have to find out what motivates a person and give them recognition for a jobperson and give them recognition for a job well done. You should always give themwell done. You should always give them encouragement and help them whenencouragement and help them when required.required.
  • Are you competitive?Are you competitive? Your answer depends on the sort of job you areYour answer depends on the sort of job you are doing. If you will be working as part of a teamdoing. If you will be working as part of a team you will need to show that you can work in theyou will need to show that you can work in the best interests of the team and not just for yourbest interests of the team and not just for your own benefit.own benefit.
  • Are you aggressive?Are you aggressive? If you mean by this someone who gets thingsIf you mean by this someone who gets things done, then the answer is "Yes". You need todone, then the answer is "Yes". You need to defuse the implications of this question.defuse the implications of this question.
  • What do you dislike doing?What do you dislike doing? Say that you are prepared to do whatever itSay that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done well and on time andtakes to get the job done well and on time and try to do disagreeable things first to get themtry to do disagreeable things first to get them out of the way rather than putting them off.out of the way rather than putting them off.
  • What problems did you encounter in your lastWhat problems did you encounter in your last job? What annoyed you about your last job?job? What annoyed you about your last job? Stick to the problems that you were able toStick to the problems that you were able to solve, i.e. "I had problem X, which I latersolve, i.e. "I had problem X, which I later managed to resolve by doing Y". Showmanaged to resolve by doing Y". Show that you are a person who can solvethat you are a person who can solve problems rather than someone who letsproblems rather than someone who lets things get on top of them.things get on top of them.
  • What would you like to avoid in your next job?What would you like to avoid in your next job? You need to be positive here and say that thereYou need to be positive here and say that there is nothing in particular that you would like tois nothing in particular that you would like to avoid.avoid.
  • Do you feel you are ready to take on greaterDo you feel you are ready to take on greater responsibilities?responsibilities? Show how you have progressedShow how you have progressed throughout your life and how you havethroughout your life and how you have accepted and taken on responsibility foraccepted and taken on responsibility for the actions of yourself and others. If youthe actions of yourself and others. If you have not really had many work relatedhave not really had many work related responsibilities you can mention otherresponsibilities you can mention other responsibilities you have had outsideresponsibilities you have had outside work.work.
  • Can you work under pressure?Can you work under pressure? You need to say that you can. You couldYou need to say that you can. You could ask how much pressure the job involves.ask how much pressure the job involves.
  • How many hours are youHow many hours are you prepared to work?prepared to work? You would be prepared to work theYou would be prepared to work the necessary hours to get the job done onnecessary hours to get the job done on time.time.
  • Do you mind working forDo you mind working for someone older than yourself?someone older than yourself? Younger than you? Of theYounger than you? Of the opposite sex?opposite sex? Here you can say that you are prepared toHere you can say that you are prepared to work with anyone.work with anyone.
  • What are your career goals?What are your career goals? Link in your goals with the company whoLink in your goals with the company who is interviewing you.is interviewing you.
  • How did you get on with yourHow did you get on with your previous manager/supervisor,previous manager/supervisor, co-workers and subordinates?co-workers and subordinates? Hopefully you can say that you got on wellHopefully you can say that you got on well with everyone.with everyone.
  • Have you been responsible forHave you been responsible for implementing ISO9000/BS5750 or Totalimplementing ISO9000/BS5750 or Total Quality Management (TQM)?Quality Management (TQM)? If you have, state how you implemented itIf you have, state how you implemented it successfully. If you have not, you will need tosuccessfully. If you have not, you will need to show that you are used to working to companyshow that you are used to working to company quality standards or that you have a methodicalquality standards or that you have a methodical approach to carrying out work.approach to carrying out work.
  • What interestsWhat interests do you have outside work?do you have outside work? Your hobbies and interests can tell anYour hobbies and interests can tell an employer a lot about you, includingemployer a lot about you, including whether you are sociable or solitary, andwhether you are sociable or solitary, and whether you can take on 'leadership' roles.whether you can take on 'leadership' roles. So you should think about which interestsSo you should think about which interests will paint the right picture of you given thewill paint the right picture of you given the position you are discussing.position you are discussing.
  • If you have changed jobs a lot you mayIf you have changed jobs a lot you may be asked how long you would stay in thebe asked how long you would stay in the new job.new job. You should state that you are looking for aYou should state that you are looking for a long-term opportunity where you can learnlong-term opportunity where you can learn and develop.and develop. You could then ask them if this applies to theYou could then ask them if this applies to the job being discussed.job being discussed.
  • Have you ever been fired?Have you ever been fired? If you have, you will need to handle thisIf you have, you will need to handle this question with great care. Try and putquestion with great care. Try and put yourself in as favourable light as possibleyourself in as favourable light as possible without being too dismissive. If you havewithout being too dismissive. If you have later been able to correct any deficiencylater been able to correct any deficiency which resulted in you being fired youwhich resulted in you being fired you should tell the interviewer.should tell the interviewer.
  • Are you too young for this job?Are you too young for this job? "No, I do not think so!" is the answer you"No, I do not think so!" is the answer you should give and then state the reason why youshould give and then state the reason why you are not too young. If you have a lot ofare not too young. If you have a lot of experience gained in a short time, say so.experience gained in a short time, say so. You may be over qualified for thisYou may be over qualified for this position?position? Tell them that you feel that your extraTell them that you feel that your extra experience would enable you to make a biggerexperience would enable you to make a bigger contribution sooner than someone with lesscontribution sooner than someone with less experience.experience.
  • Are you too old for this job?Are you too old for this job? Tell them that you feel that your extraTell them that you feel that your extra experience would enable you to make aexperience would enable you to make a bigger contribution to their companybigger contribution to their company sooner than someone younger and lesssooner than someone younger and less experienced.experienced.
  • Are you prepared to relocate?Are you prepared to relocate? If you are, say so. If you do not want toIf you are, say so. If you do not want to move then you do not have to accept themove then you do not have to accept the job - try and come across as someonejob - try and come across as someone who is positive.who is positive.
  • Are you willing to travel?Are you willing to travel? Again if you are, say so. You want toAgain if you are, say so. You want to sound positive, so find out how muchsound positive, so find out how much travelling is involved before you turn downtravelling is involved before you turn down the job.the job.
  • How often are you off sick?How often are you off sick? This can be a difficult question to answer if youThis can be a difficult question to answer if you are frequently off sick or you have justare frequently off sick or you have just recovered from a prolonged period of illness. Ifrecovered from a prolonged period of illness. If you have generally enjoyed good health andyou have generally enjoyed good health and this period of illness is not typical then youthis period of illness is not typical then you should say so.should say so.
  • What did you earn in your last job?What did you earn in your last job? You have to be very careful when answering this questionYou have to be very careful when answering this question because once an interviewer knows your current salary they willbecause once an interviewer knows your current salary they will try and fix your next remuneration based on this figure. Thistry and fix your next remuneration based on this figure. This may be satisfactory if you only wanted a modest rise in salarymay be satisfactory if you only wanted a modest rise in salary and your current salary is in line with their salary range, but,and your current salary is in line with their salary range, but, what if your current salary is substantially lower than the rate forwhat if your current salary is substantially lower than the rate for the job, or if you want a substantial salary rise? In these casesthe job, or if you want a substantial salary rise? In these cases you would be best advised to say that you do not really want toyou would be best advised to say that you do not really want to prejudice yourself by being too high or too low. Ask if you canprejudice yourself by being too high or too low. Ask if you can discuss this later after the responsibilities for the job have beendiscuss this later after the responsibilities for the job have been discussed; you may also want to ask them what the range fordiscussed; you may also want to ask them what the range for the job is (if you do not already know).the job is (if you do not already know).
  • What level of salary are you looking for now?What level of salary are you looking for now? Be very careful when you answer this question - youBe very careful when you answer this question - you do not want to appear to be greedy. If you aredo not want to appear to be greedy. If you are applying for a specific vacancy you could ask themapplying for a specific vacancy you could ask them what the salary range is. Once they have answeredwhat the salary range is. Once they have answered you could say "I think my experience would place meyou could say "I think my experience would place me at the top end of your range, don't you?" If they askat the top end of your range, don't you?" If they ask you this question fairly early on in the interview youyou this question fairly early on in the interview you could delay answering by saying "It is hard to discusscould delay answering by saying "It is hard to discuss salary without first knowing a little bit more about thesalary without first knowing a little bit more about the job and the responsibilities."job and the responsibilities."
  • What will your referees say about you?What will your referees say about you? Say that you expect excellent references.Say that you expect excellent references.
  • Difficult questionsDifficult questions If you cannot answer a question you mightIf you cannot answer a question you might reply with "That's an interesting question -reply with "That's an interesting question - how would you tackle it?"how would you tackle it?"
  • Fantasy questionsFantasy questions These sort of questions can be veryThese sort of questions can be very difficult to answer. Such questions mightdifficult to answer. Such questions might include: "What would you do if you woninclude: "What would you do if you won the National Lottery?" You should give thethe National Lottery?" You should give the answer, which in your opinion will give youanswer, which in your opinion will give you the best chance of getting the job.the best chance of getting the job.
  • Interview question what are yourInterview question what are your strong pointsstrong points It is important to prepare in advance forIt is important to prepare in advance for the interview question what are yourthe interview question what are your strong points. If you've already listed yourstrong points. If you've already listed your strengths when preparing your CV /strengths when preparing your CV / resume, coming up with three answersresume, coming up with three answers shouldn't be too difficult.shouldn't be too difficult.
  • But be careful. The interviewer is asking you toBut be careful. The interviewer is asking you to sell yourself, but at the same time, they do notsell yourself, but at the same time, they do not want to hear you being arrogant. And while theywant to hear you being arrogant. And while they may want to know about your personality (if youmay want to know about your personality (if you are over confident they will certainly learnare over confident they will certainly learn something about you), do remember that this issomething about you), do remember that this is still an interview situation, so your answers muststill an interview situation, so your answers must be relevant to the job in question. In other words,be relevant to the job in question. In other words, don't get too personal.don't get too personal.
  • So how do you go about answering theSo how do you go about answering the interview question what are your stronginterview question what are your strong points? The general recommendation is topoints? The general recommendation is to prepare at least three answers and toprepare at least three answers and to relate them to the organisation and therelate them to the organisation and the vacancy. This means you need to tailorvacancy. This means you need to tailor your answers. Ensure there is truth inyour answers. Ensure there is truth in what you say, but do not be too honest,what you say, but do not be too honest, especially it makes you sound like a lessespecially it makes you sound like a less than ideal candidate.than ideal candidate.
  • Here are some suggested responses and theHere are some suggested responses and the reasons why they might work in interviews forreasons why they might work in interviews for certain kinds of jobs.certain kinds of jobs. "I am confident and outgoing""I am confident and outgoing" This is a response that says something aboutThis is a response that says something about your personality, but if you are applying for a roleyour personality, but if you are applying for a role where you need to relate to a lot of people -where you need to relate to a lot of people - particularly the public - it will serve yourparticularly the public - it will serve your purposes. However, if the vacancy involvespurposes. However, if the vacancy involves consultation, it might be better to say "I haveconsultation, it might be better to say "I have good interpersonal skills", as this implies thatgood interpersonal skills", as this implies that you are able to listen to people as well.you are able to listen to people as well.
  • "I enjoy a challenge""I enjoy a challenge" Be careful with this. It is an excellent response ifBe careful with this. It is an excellent response if the vacancy requires problem solving, orthe vacancy requires problem solving, or servicing of some kind, working to tightservicing of some kind, working to tight deadlines or project completion. It will obviouslydeadlines or project completion. It will obviously not be helpful if the job is less dynamic andnot be helpful if the job is less dynamic and involves a larger amount of regular, less excitinginvolves a larger amount of regular, less exciting duties - the employer might be concerned thatduties - the employer might be concerned that you will become bored. You could always qualifyyou will become bored. You could always qualify it to offer a more balanced response: "I enjoy ait to offer a more balanced response: "I enjoy a challenge, but I'm also happy completing regularchallenge, but I'm also happy completing regular tasks." Then it illustrates that you're flexible andtasks." Then it illustrates that you're flexible and responsive to different work situations.responsive to different work situations.
  • "I'm a strong team leader""I'm a strong team leader" Clearly, this is appropriate if the job involvesClearly, this is appropriate if the job involves managing people. It's a good idea to show thatmanaging people. It's a good idea to show that you know what leading a team involvesyou know what leading a team involves (although this will no doubt come up in other(although this will no doubt come up in other questions too). So, "I'm a strong team leaderquestions too). So, "I'm a strong team leader with the ability to motivate others" and "I'm awith the ability to motivate others" and "I'm a strong team leader who leads by example"strong team leader who leads by example" represent stronger answers. Draw on your ownrepresent stronger answers. Draw on your own understanding of your management skills plusunderstanding of your management skills plus the job description to decide what you'll saythe job description to decide what you'll say here.here.
  • "I am ambitious""I am ambitious" This is a very strong answer and youThis is a very strong answer and you should use it with care. In the wrongshould use it with care. In the wrong situation, it can sound hard-headed andsituation, it can sound hard-headed and the employer may wonder whether you'llthe employer may wonder whether you'll compete too fiercely with your colleagues,compete too fiercely with your colleagues, or even your superiors. However, in aor even your superiors. However, in a sales role it might be perfect, especially ifsales role it might be perfect, especially if you focus your response a little more: "Iyou focus your response a little more: "I am ambitious and aim to exceed targets".am ambitious and aim to exceed targets".
  • "I am dedicated and hard working""I am dedicated and hard working" You're on safe ground here, as this can beYou're on safe ground here, as this can be true whatever your individual workingtrue whatever your individual working style. It's not the most exciting answer, butstyle. It's not the most exciting answer, but when presented alongside two others thatwhen presented alongside two others that are more individual, it should offerare more individual, it should offer reassurance to the interviewer.reassurance to the interviewer.
  • "I am a good communicator""I am a good communicator" Again, this is a win-win answer.Again, this is a win-win answer. Be prepared to expand, though: specifyBe prepared to expand, though: specify whether you have strong writing skills, arewhether you have strong writing skills, are good at explaining difficult ideas in agood at explaining difficult ideas in a simple way, or perform well at importantsimple way, or perform well at important meetings.meetings.
  • "I work well without supervision""I work well without supervision" A majority of employers would be pleasedA majority of employers would be pleased to hear this, providing the vacancy is at ato hear this, providing the vacancy is at a level where they'd normally expect you tolevel where they'd normally expect you to need a degree of supervision. But beneed a degree of supervision. But be careful not to sound as if you prefer tocareful not to sound as if you prefer to work without supervision, as this maywork without supervision, as this may sound as if you risk coming into conflictsound as if you risk coming into conflict with your supervisor or manager. A saferwith your supervisor or manager. A safer option might be to state "I work well with oroption might be to state "I work well with or without supervision".without supervision".
  • "I enjoy learning through my work""I enjoy learning through my work" Again, this is a safe answer. TheAgain, this is a safe answer. The interviewer might then ask how you haveinterviewer might then ask how you have done this in the past, so be ready to givedone this in the past, so be ready to give details of some hands-on learning ordetails of some hands-on learning or special training you've experienced, and tospecial training you've experienced, and to say why you enjoyed it.say why you enjoyed it.
  • And finallyAnd finally These examples show that whenThese examples show that when preparing an answer to the interviewpreparing an answer to the interview question what are your strong points, it isquestion what are your strong points, it is important to consider whether yourimportant to consider whether your responses could be taken the wrong way.responses could be taken the wrong way. Put yourself in the interviewer's shoes -Put yourself in the interviewer's shoes - you can then ensure that the potential foryou can then ensure that the potential for a negative interpretation is removed.a negative interpretation is removed.