17 Questions You Must Be Able To Answer At An Interview
This is NOT a definitive guide to interview questions (there’s no such thing) – but instead a set of core questions that makes you go through a thought process before attending interviews.
If you can answer these questions for yourself, it allows you to answer most types of non-technical questions in most interviews (by non-technical, I mean questions not related specifically to your functional area – e.g. Sales, garment design, visual merchandising etc.
The 17 Questions:
Questions about your career choices and decisions
1. What made you enter xyz industry / profession? (Or if it’s your first role – “Why do you want to start a career in xyz?”)
2. What’s the biggest highlight of your career to date? Why was it a highlight?
3. What’s your biggest career mistake to date? What did you learn from this mistake?
4. Where do you see your career going in 3 years (…or 5 years, 10 years time?)
Questions about each of your roles
5. What made you take that particular role on?
6. What were your reasons for leaving that particular role?
7. What did you deliver in each of your roles? Can you quantify these achievements?
Questions about your redundancy (for people searching after a lay-off)
8. How many people in your team were laid off?
9. Why do you think you were one of the individuals selected for redundancy?
Questions about you
10. What type of work / roles have you enjoyed the most? What was it about them that you enjoyed?
11. What types of work / roles have frustrated you the most? What was it about them that was frustrating?
12. What are your key strengths? Can you provide me with a specific example to back each of them up?
13. What are your key weaknesses / development areas? What are you doing about them?
14. How would you describe your personality and working style?
About your application
15. What made you apply for this role / organisation?
16. Why do you feel you’d be suited to this role?
17. What’s unique about you? How are you different to all the other people we’re meeting?
Yes, there are many more questions that can be added to this list. And yes, you will rarely be asked all 17 questions – and rarely will they be phrased in the above language. But being able to answer the questions above prior to an interview enables you to apply those answers to most types of non-technical questions.
All you then need to do is adapt and tailor your answer to:
a) The actual question being asked of you and
b) The specific needs of the employers or recruiters sitting in front of you and you’re well on the way to separating yourself from the competition.