As the interview may be the only chance your employer gets to assess you, preparation is very important. You should anticipate the questions that you will have to answer based on the information you have included in your CV, as well as some standard questions asked in most interviews.
Know your CV inside-out
A starting point in preparing for your interviews is to review your CV. You must be able to explain everything you put down in your CV during your interview. Employers will be curious about your background, and the experiences on your CV are often the first thing under discussion. Failing to prepare adequately may make an employer doubt your experience or skills. One way to become familiar with your CV is to go through every line and sentence in detail and elaborate on each point. Employers are often keen to know what work you have done and so you must be able to talk about your role in a project, the nature of your assignment, what problems you might have faced and what you gained from your experience. Sometimes employers may ask technical questions so be prepared for those as well.
Commonly asked questions
Below is a list of commonly asked questions. You should carefully think about how to answer each of them and how your answers would sound to an employer. If it helps, you can list your thoughts down on a piece of paper.
- Why have you chosen to apply for this role?
- Why are you applying to our company?
- What are your career motivations/where do you see yourself in five years?
- What other companies are you interviewing with? What makes us different from those companies you are interviewing with?
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- If you have a gap in between period of employment, what where you doing, and why was there a gap?
- If you are moving cities or countries, you must be able to explain your reasons for doing so.
Responding to unexpected questions
It is likely that you will be asked an unusual question or one that you may not have prepared for. It is important to stay calm and critically analyse each question. Think about what the point of the question is before providing your answer, rather than answering it immediately.
Structuring your answer
The answers to your questions should be thought-out and provide enough depth and be a convincing answer. You should think about what you are trying to say, and what kind of examples you have to back-up your statement. You should be very specific with your example so that an employer can have a clear picture of what you can do and believe what you say. Think about how you should present a point and support it with examples from your experiences. You can use structuring phrases such as “first, I think (x) because… secondly, I believe (y) because… thirdly, (z) is …. because…” or “I believe (x) for two reasons, the first reason is (y)… and the second reason is (z)…”.