9 Common Job Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer
Back in 2019, it was predicted that one in three New Zealanders would soon be on the job hunt. With the latest economic turnover, that number may be even higher than expected. What does that mean for you? It means that there is quite a bit of competition in nearly every industry. If you want to land a great job, you'll need to ace the job interview. Researching the company you're interviewing with is an important place to start. What are their core values? What are the names of those you'll be working under? Once you have a strong sense of what the company has to offer, it's time to start thinking about what to say during your job interview. To help you prepare, we're going to take a look at the nine most common questions asked during a job interview.
1. Can You Tell Us About Yourself?
This is a common opener that interviewers use to break the ice and get a sense of each candidate. It can seem like a fairly straightforward question, but you must prepare your answer in advance. This is your chance to show a bit of personality and, more importantly, demonstrate some of the values and characteristics you would bring to the company. The key is to keep it professional without reiterating your entire CV. Use this as an opportunity to mention a few of your soft skills, such as time management or attention to detail.
2. What Drew You to This Job and/or Our Company?
This question is inevitable, and you'll need to demonstrate an awareness of what the job is and what the company does. Earlier, we noted that you would want to research things like core values and higher-level management. Once this question is asked, use it as an opportunity to show that you did this research and have a genuine interest in the open position and the company overall.
3. What Is Your Greatest Professional Achievement?
Here, you have an opportunity to brag a bit, but don't take it too far. For example, don't take credit for work you didn't do. If your greatest professional achievement involved teamwork or collaboration, say so. (Note that some interviewers may ask, "What are your greatest strengths?" instead. They may also ask you about your weaknesses.)
4. Can You Discuss a Difficult Time You Experienced and How You Handled It?
Interviewers don't just want to know about how great you are. They also want to know how you handle pressure, strained interpersonal relationships, and so forth. When answering this question, think of a time that you faced an obstacle but overcame that obstacle with grace and professionalism.
5. What Would You Bring to This Post?
It's important to set a strong first impression with your interviewing skills and a polished CV. However, what will set you apart in a job interview is your ability to give concrete examples of what you would do once offered the position. How would your skills fit and exceed the job description? What programs would you implement to improve the company? Ultimately, you want to show that you are prepared for the job and bring something to the table.
6. Can You Explain the Gaps In Your CV?
Did you take some time away from school and employment? If you have substantial gaps in your CV (six months or longer), your interviewer will likely bring it up. Preparing for this question isn't always easy. Oftentimes, our reasoning for taking time away from school or work is deeply personal. To help you navigate this question, we put together a longer resource that we encourage you to read.
7. Why Are You Looking For a New Job?
If you are currently employed elsewhere (or recently left your last post), your interviewer will likely want to know what led you back to the job hunt. Remember, you mustn't slander or badmouth your previous employers. After all, they may be a reference on your application, and most employers do follow up with at least three references per candidate. If you're asked this question, focus on the positive. Think, "I am seeking new opportunities," rather than, "I had to get out of my last position."
8. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
This is another question that can benefit from preliminary research. You cannot only seek information about the company's pay rates (if available), but you can also look into industry standards of pay. This is not a question you want to be caught off guard by. The last thing you want to do is ask for less than you are worth or ask for far more than the company is willing to offer. Both can knock you out of the running for the job.
9. Do You Have Any Questions For Us?
You don't need to overthink this question, although it's still not a bad idea to prepare for it in advance. This is your opportunity to find out more about the company, the available post, growth opportunities, and so forth. Good examples include:
- Will this position evolve over time?
- Does the company intend to expand in the next ten years?
- How would you describe the company culture?
Having at least one or two questions prepared shows that you are a serious candidate who is genuinely interested in the job.
Let Us Help You Land a Job Interview
With so many candidates seeking a new position, competition can be stiff. Preparing answers for job interview questions can keep the interview flowing smoothly and help you to create a strong first impression. At JobNow, we don't just offer career advice. We also connect candidates with job opportunities that match their qualifications and career goals. To start getting help with finding your next job, sign up for your free account today.