Why do you want this job?
Think carefully about this question. Stress the
positive aspects which have attracted you to
applying for this position. Do not mention the
negative aspects of your current job or the job
What qualities do you
think will be required for this job?
Their advertisement for the job may help you a
little bit, but you should also think of the
other qualities that may be required. These may
include leadership ability, supervisory skills,
communication skills, interpersonal skills,
problem solving, analytical skills, etc.
What can you contribute?
This is your chance to shine. Tell them about
your achievements in your previous position(s)
which are relevant to the new position you are
Why do you want to work
for this company?
Emphasize the positive reasons why you want to
join their company, but avoid aspects such as
more money or shorter hours. These would not
endear you to a prospective employer.
What do you know about
This is your chance to impress the interviewer
with your knowledge of their company. Give them a
run down of their products/services, sales
figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.
What interests you about
our product (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid
you in answering this question.
What can we (the new
company) offer that your previous company cannot
Tread carefully here! Again do not mention money.
Stress opportunities for personal growth, new
You have not done this
sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?
Say that you are the sort of person who aims to
succeed at everything you do and that you are
very determined and will do whatever it takes to
get the job done.
Why should we employ you?
The answer to this question will be based on your
previous experience and achievements which relate
to the company. At the end you could add that you
think there is a good fit between you and the
job, and do ask the interviewer for their
How long do you think it would be
before you were making a significant contribution
to the team/company?
If you think that you could contribute from day
one then say so. Then turn the question round on
them and say how soon would they expect it.
How ambitious are you?
Would you compete for my job?
Depending on the position you are applying for
you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do
not look as if you are after the interviewer's
What do you like and
dislike about the job we are discussing?
Likes: stress things such as a new challenge or
the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the
company. Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to
dislike about the job, which is why you are so
Why did you choose a
career in …?
Be positive about your reasons. If you have
changed careers make a logical argument as to why
you did so.
Why are you changing
This question will only be asked if you are
making a radical change in your career. Always
stress the positive aspects of the change rather
than the negative aspects of your previous career
- you do not want to come across as someone who
is moving just because you hate your old career.
Say why you think you will be good in the new
career - this should come from your experience
and achievements, stress the transferable skills
you have, such as leadership ability, etc.
How much does your last job
resemble the one you are applying for? What are
The interviewer is trying to see how well you
would fit in to the position you are applying
for. So you should stress the similarities rather
than the differences. When it comes to discussing
the differences it will help your case if you can
show that either you have done something similar
in the past or that you can quickly pick up the
What do you think of the
last company you worked for?
You should stress the positive aspects of your
last company saying that they were a good company
to work for. Tell them about the training you
received or the work related experience you
Why did you join your
previous company? Did they live up to your
expectations? Why are you leaving now?
Always be positive about your reasons for joining
and leaving a company. Be very careful that you
do not say anything negative about your present
employer. If you do, the new company will wonder
what you will say about them when you leave. You
might want to stress that you are looking for a
new challenge and that you feel that the company
who is interviewing you fits the bill!
organisational structure in your last company and
how you fitted into it?
This sort of question may be used to find out
whether your old job is at a comparable level to
your new job. If the new job being discussed
would be a step up the ladder you will need to
show that you are ready for a more demanding
position. You may be able to show that you have
already had many of the responsibilities and the
necessary skills which would be required for the
How long have you been
looking for a new job?
If you have been unemployed for a long time this
may be a rather tricky question to answer. But be
honest. If you have been away on holiday or done
some voluntary work you could mention this.
Do you prefer to work in
a small, medium or large company?
Remember where you are! If the company
interviewing you is a small to medium sized
company say that you enjoy a close atmosphere
with a good team spirit. At a large company say
that you enjoy the stability of working for a
large and established company.
What are you looking for
in a new job?
Make sure your answer fits in with the company
who is interviewing you. A suitable reply would
be that you are looking for a new job where you
can apply your existing skills and learn new
What would your ideal job
Again, remember where you are! Describe the job
in terms of the criteria they have used to
describe their job. An ideal job might include
things like challenging work, a fair rate of pay
for the job, nice colleagues, good career
prospects, good team atmosphere, opportunity to
learn new skills, apply old skills, etc.
Are you considering any
other positions at the moment?
If you are say so, but do not give too many
details away - it will weaken your negotiating
position later. If you do not have any other job
offers at the moment just say that you have a few
irons in the fire.
What did you think of
Say that he/she was the sort of person you could
learn from and you communicated well, which meant
that the task in hand was completed on time.
What did you do on a day
to day basis?
Stress the positive things you did including your
achievements. Even if some or much of it was
paperwork, you can still show your interest in
the way it was tackled.
Did you increase sales or
profits in your last job?
This question is only relevant for senior
managers or sales people. If you have increased
sales and/or profit then do not be afraid to
shout about it. If you have not increased sales
say why not, e.g. general downturn in the market,
etc. It might then be a good idea to mention an
achievement in a previous job if your performance
was better there.
Have you reduced costs at
your last company?
If you have reduced costs say so - companies are
always looking for ways to reduce costs.
How would you describe
yourself? / How would others describe you?
Pick your best attributes and achievements from
Do you consider yourself
You should say you do. Pick some work related
achievements that are in line with the position
that you are discussing.
What was your greatest
success? How did you achieve it?
You should pick an achievement which is related
to their needs.
What has been your
Try to pick a failure which you were later able
to correct or something that is not really
How could you improve
Do not mention anything negative about yourself -
the interviewer is looking for a chink in your
Did you feel you
progressed satisfactorily in your last job?
If you progressed faster than normal you should
say so. If growth was not as good as expected
then be careful how you phrase this.
Are you a leader?
State how you have successfully acted as a
leader, giving examples of your successes.
How do you handle
Your answer should be along the following lines:
"I always think that it is important to get
feedback on how I am performing so that I can
improve any areas which my manager/supervisor
highlights. Do you have regular staff appraisals
and a staff development plan?"
What sort of manager are
you? / What makes a good manager?
You should say that it is someone who listens to
other people and can delegate whilst maintaining
overall control of the task at hand, bringing in
the project on time and to budget. Good planning
skills are essential.
Do you work well with
others? Or are you a loner?
Some jobs mean that you have to work very closely
with other people whilst other jobs mean that you
are largely working on your own, so you need to
say that you are happy in both situations.
Do you need other people
around to stimulate you or are you
You need to say that you are self-motivated.
Are you accepted into a
Hopefully you can answer a resounding
"Yes" to this question.
Can you act on your own
You should say that you can. You could ask how
much responsibility you would have.
How do you run a meeting?
You could say that you must start with an agenda
and stick to it. You could add that you would try
to get the views and ideas from everyone present,
working in an air of co-operation. If people
moved off at a tangent you would bring them back
to the item being discussed.
What motivates you?
Our suggestions are career growth, opportunity to
learn new skills, good co-workers, etc.
What management style
gets the best results out of you?
Try and think about how you have reacted to
different managers and which factors have
motivated you. Do not say too much in reply to
this question, because if your answer is contrary
to the management style of the company they will
not be keen to employ you!
Do you know how to
motivate other people?
Hopefully you can say "Yes", and say
that you have to find out what motivates a person
and give them recognition for a job well done.
You should always give them encouragement and
help them when required.
Are you competitive?
Your answer depends on the sort of job you are
doing. If you will be working as part of a team
you will need to show that you can work in the
best interests of the team and not just for your
Are you aggressive?
If you mean by this someone who gets things done,
then the answer is "Yes". You need to
defuse the implications of this question.
What do you dislike
Say that you are prepared to do whatever it takes
to get the job done well and on time and try to
do disagreeable things first to get them out of
the way rather than putting them off.
What problems did you
encounter in your last job? What annoyed you
about your last job?
Stick to the problems that you were able to
solve, i.e. "I had problem X, which I later
managed to resolve by doing Y". Show that
you are a person who can solve problems rather
than someone who lets things get on top of them.
What would you like to
avoid in your next job?
You need to be positive here and say that there
is nothing in particular that you would like to
Do you feel you are ready
to take on greater responsibilities?
Show how you have progressed throughout your life
and how you have accepted and taken on
responsibility for the actions of yourself and
others. If you have not really had many work
related responsibilities you can mention other
responsibilities you have had outside work.
Can you work under
You need to say that you can. You could ask how
much pressure the job involves.
How many hours are you
prepared to work?
You would be prepared to work the necessary hours
to get the job done on time.
Do you mind working for
someone older than yourself? Younger than you? Of
the opposite sex?
Here you can say that you are prepared to work
What are your career
Link in your goals with the company who is
How did you get on with
your previous manager/supervisor, co-workers and
Hopefully you can say that you got on well with
Have you been responsible
for implementing ISO9000/BS5750 or Total Quality
If you have, state how you implemented it
successfully. If you have not, you will need to
show that you are used to working to company
quality standards or that you have a methodical
approach to carrying out work.
What interests do you
have outside work?
Your hobbies and interests can tell an employer a
lot about you, including whether you are sociable
or solitary, and whether you can take on
'leadership' roles. So you should think about
which interests will paint the right picture of
you given the position you are discussing.
If you have changed jobs a lot
you may be asked how long you would stay in the
You should state that you are looking for a
long-term opportunity where you can learn and
develop. You could then ask them if this applies
to the job being discussed.
Have you ever been fired?
If you have, you will need to handle this
question with great care. Try and put yourself in
as favourable light as possible without being too
dismissive. If you have later been able to
correct any deficiency which resulted in you
being fired you should tell the interviewer.
Are you too old for this
An interviewer shouldn't really ask you this
question if you live in a country that has age
discrimination legislation. If you are asked this
question then you should tell the interviewer
that you feel that your extra experience would
enable you to make a bigger contribution to their
company sooner than someone younger and less
Are you too young for
You shouldn't be asked this question if you live
in a country that has age discrimination
legislation. If you are asked this question then
say "No, I do not think so!" and then
state the reasons why you are not too young. If
you have a lot of experience gained in a short
time, say so.
You may be over qualified
for this position?
Tell them that you feel that your extra
experience would enable you to make a bigger
contribution sooner than someone with less
Are you prepared to
If you are, say so. If you do not want to move
then you do not have to accept the job - try and
come across as someone who is positive.
Are you willing to
Again if you are, say so. You want to sound
positive, so find out how much travelling is
involved before you turn down the job.
How often are you off
This can be a difficult question to answer if you
are frequently off sick or you have just
recovered from a prolonged period of illness. If
you have generally enjoyed good health and this
period of illness is not typical then you should
What did you earn in your
You have to be very careful when answering this
question because once an interviewer knows your
current salary they will try and fix your next
remuneration based on this figure. This may be
satisfactory if you only wanted a modest rise in
salary and your current salary is in line with
their salary range, but, what if your current
salary is substantially lower than the rate for
the job, or if you want a substantial salary
rise? In these cases you would be best advised to
say that you do not really want to prejudice
yourself by being too high or too low. Ask if you
can discuss this later after the responsibilities
for the job have been discussed; you may also
want to ask them what the range for the job is
(if you do not already know).
What level of salary are
you looking for now?
Be very careful when you answer this question -
you do not want to appear to be greedy. If you
are applying for a specific vacancy you could ask
them what the salary range is. Once they have
answered you could say "I think my
experience would place me at the top end of your
range, don't you?" If they ask you this
question fairly early on in the interview you
could delay answering by saying "It is hard
to discuss salary without first knowing a little
bit more about the job and the
What will your referees
say about you?
Say that you expect excellent references.