Let's take a look behind the scenes at interviews

Pamela Maher - 05/04/2013

Have you ever wondered why interviewers ask certain questions and what do they really want to hear?

Have you ever wondered why interviewers ask certain questions and what do they really want to hear? Below are some typical interview questions with some reasons for why they are being asked.   

1. How do you handle stress or pressure?
Every job has a certain amount of stress and pressure and employers want to make sure that you can handle stress. It is a good idea to give an example of how you overcome stress in the work place, for example, how do you deal with working towards tight deadlines? Do you prioritise and manage your time well?

2. Tell me about a difficult situation that you have been in and how did you overcome it?
This is a question that will require you to know a lot about yourself. They want to assess whether you can approach difficult situations logically. The best way to approach this question is to have an example of a difficult situation, outline your options for resolving the situation and then give your choice and explain why you chose this option. If you are a college graduate and don’t have a lot of work experience, you can give an example of an academic challenge you successfully overcame. And remember it is always better to have a positive outcome!

3. What do you find motivates you the most?
This question doesn’t have a right or wrong answer. The interviewer is trying to see how you are motivated. They want to determine whether you’re compatible for the job. It doesn't make much sense to put you in a position where you will not be motivated by the work you do. The best way to answer this question is to be honest. Let the interviewer know what motivates you the most. Don't tell them what they want to hear because you are trying to get the job. While this may help you in the short term, it can hurt you in the long run.

4. Do you prefer to work alone, or do you work better in groups?
You will need to think about this question before answering it. Does the role you are applying for require you to work as part of a group? If so then saying you prefer working alone will show that you might not fit in with a team. A lot of jobs require people to work well on their own initiative but also part of a team so depending on the role you could give examples of how you work well in both situations.

5. What do you find interesting about this job?
Some answers not to give to this question are: 'salary & good holidays'! Employers want to hire people who genuinely want to work for them and who the role will suit in the long term. Do some research on the company and show how your skills and experience can add value to the company and how the role can give you an opportunity to develop.

6. Why should we hire you?
This is a great opportunity to sell yourself, especially if you are interviewing against other people who are equally qualified for the role. To answer this question, it is important to highlight your relevant skills for this role but also show them your accomplishments and achievements. Remember to show your personality and enthusiasm for the role and the company.

Pamela Maher's picture
Divisional Manager for La Creme Office Support & Morgan McKinley Multilingual
+353 21 2300 301