Part of this preparation includes knowing the most common questions asked in interviews, and understanding why they are asked, so that you can prepare an appropriate response.
It is said that up to 80 percent of interview questions can be predicted, so equally, responses can be rehearsed to give you the best opportunity to perform well and present yourself in the best possible light.
This is particularly important if you are, like most people, very nervous and uneasy in the interview environment. Understanding the questions and planning some replies in advance will help build credibility with the interviewer, and also increase your confidence as the discussion develops.
Once past the warm up questions, including those related to past experience and competency, questions may become a little more searching and in depth, as the interviewer tries to establish how you will react to other people and in specific circumstances.
With all questions, your responses need to consider the context of the position and job role so that they are relevant and suitably related. If possible give a real-world example, to reinforce your response.
Some common questions include:-
Describe the last time you were angry…
When an interviewer asks this question, they are trying to understand if you lose control, how easily, and in what circumstances. Anger generally involves a loss of control, so your response should suggest that you are calm and thoughtful and have the ability to step back, take a deep breath and formulate a plan so responding in an appropriate manner rather than overreacting.
What are the major reasons for your success?
This is not the time to become self-centred or arrogant. Be proud of your achievements, but remember employers look for team players so this might be a great opportunity to praise your team, past work colleagues, or a mentor or previous influence on your career. This also provides an opportunity to ask about development or career planning with this company.
Give us an example of where you have failed or didn’t meet your goals or targets?
When this question is asked the interviewer is investigating your resilience and what steps you took to rectify the situation. The ideal answer is to give an example of where things almost went wrong and what you did to prevent it. If your reply is that “you can’t think of such a situation occurring”, you may come across as either arrogant (no one will believe you are perfect), or naive and unable to see and avoid potential disasters. When answering this question, make sure you know the outcome before you start, as you really don’t want to give an example that does not have a happy ending!
What did you like/dislike about your last job?
The interviewer is looking for incompatibilities. The customer service representative that hates people contact is likely to be a problem! so in answer, you may want to note that you liked everything about your last job. Criticising a previous employer is a warning sign that you could be a problem employee. No one intentionally hires trouble, and that’s what’s behind the question. Keep your answer short and positive. You are allowed one negative about past employers, but only then if your interviewer has a “hot button” about his or her department or company; if so, you will have written it down on your notepad. For example, the only thing your past employer could not offer might be something like “the ability to contribute more in different areas”
You might continue with, “I really liked everything about the job. The reason I want to leave it is to find a position where I can make a greater contribution. You see, I worked for a large company that encourages specialisation of skills. The smaller environment you have here will, allow me to contribute far more in different areas.” Tell them what they want to hear–replay the hot button.
Of course, if you interview with a large company, turn it around. “I work for a small company and don’t get the time to specialise in one or two major areas.
We’re considering 2 other candidates for this position, why should we hire you?
Do not be distracted by the mention of two other candidates; you don’t know anything about them and they could be fictitious. Focus on what strengths you bring to the table. These should be consistent with the four things most employers are looking for in candidates during the job interview: competence, professionalism, enthusiasm, and likability. Remember, they are looking for chemistry between you and them. Be prepared to summarize in 60 seconds why you are the best candidate for the job. Also, let the employer know you want the job and you will enjoy working with them. A lack of interest in the job may indicate a lack of enthusiasm for the job and them.
For more information on interviewing and interview questions have a look at the other articles on our blog, including: –
If you are a candidate seeking some further assistance with interview questions or are a Hospitality Manager or HR leader looking for some ideas to plan your next interview, contact us for a copy of our guide – 50 Common Interview Questions – their meaning and Ideal answers.