Top 20 interview questions and suggestions on how to answer

Sharon O'Donnell - 26/03/2018
20 interview questions

There are so many things to do before an interview. One of the crucial elements is to prepare yourself for all questions that could be asked.

Ideally, you should practise this with someone in advance if possible. If you are interviewing through La Créme we provide all candidates with the La Créme Interview PREP to ensure all interviewee's are ready in advance.

I have listed some of these questions below that should help.

1) Tell me about yourself

The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound rehearsed. Limit it to work-related items unless instructed otherwise. Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to the position you are interviewing for. Start with the item farthest back and work up to the present.

2) Why did you leave your last job?

Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers or the organisation.

3) What experience do you have in this field?

Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.

4) Do you consider yourself successful?

You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are on track to achieve the others.

5) What do co-workers say about you?

Be prepared with a quote or two from co-workers. Either a specific statement or a paraphrase will work. Jill Clark, a co-worker at Smith Company, always said I was the hardest workers she had ever known. It is as powerful as Jill having said it at the interview herself.

6) What do you know about this organisation?

This question is one reason to do some research on the organisation before the interview. Find out where they have been and where they are going. What are the current issues and who are the major players?

7) What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?

Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement. Have some good ones handy to mention.

8) Are you applying for other jobs?

Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. Keep the focus on this job and what you can do for this organisation. Anything else is a distraction.

9) Why do you want to work for this organisation?

This may take some thought and certainly, should be based on the research you have done on the organisation. Sincerity is extremely important here and will easily be sensed. Relate it to your long-term career goals.

10) Do you know anyone who works for us?

Be aware of the policy on relatives working for the organisation. This can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not relatives. Be careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought of.

11) What kind of salary do you need?

A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like, That's a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position? In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range.

12) Are you a team player?

You are, of course, a team player. Be sure to have examples ready. Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag, just say it in a matter-of-fact tone. This is a key point.

13) How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: I'd like it to be a long time. Or- as long as we both feel I'm doing a good job.

14) Have you ever had to fire anyone?

How did you feel about that? This is serious. Do not make light of it or in any way seem like you like to fire people. At the same time, you will do it when it is the right thing to do. When it comes to the organisation versus the individual who has created a harmful situation, you will protect the organisation. Remember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in force.

15) What is your philosophy towards work?

The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here. Do you have strong feelings that the job gets done? Yes. That's the type of answer that works best here. Short and positive, showing a benefit to the organisation.

16) If you had enough money to retire right now, would you?

Answer yes if you would. But since you need to work, this is the type of work you prefer. Do not say yes if you do not mean it.

17) Have you ever been asked to leave a position?

If you have not, say no. If you have, be honest, brief and avoid saying negative things about the people or organisation involved.

18) Explain how you would be an asset to this organisation.

You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to highlight your best points as they relate to the position being discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.

19) Why should we hire you?

Point out how your assets meet what the organisation needs. Do not mention any other candidates to make a comparison.

20) Do you have any questions for me?

Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organisation are good.

  • How soon will I be able to be productive?
  • What type of projects will I be able to assist on?
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