When you’re interviewing for a new job, your preparation is the key that will make the difference between you and the next candidate. You should arrive at the interview armed with as much information as you can find about the company you’re interviewing with, know your CV back to front, and understand the job spec, preparing thoughtful questions about the position.
Alongside all this, we think it’s really helpful to prepare answers to questions the interviewer might ask. To give you an insight into what questions these might be and why they are asked, here are a few of our favourites.
What is the last movie, book, theatre or experience that you enjoyed and recommended to others?
This gives the interview an immediate window into aspects of your personality that they can’t get from your CV or portfolio: who you are, what you like, how engaged you are, and how you articulate that.
About your experience and personal attitude:
Life is stressful - What experience (professional or personal) has taught you most about managing stress?
Your potential employer wants to know how you cope with the unexpected, what “stress” means to you (because it’s different for everyone), and how you react to it. Nobody is expecting you never to get stressed - only to understand how you cope with it.
To value the candidate as a teamplayer:
In your experience, which of your jobs had the best team and which had the least cohesive team? Explain.
A company’s most valuable asset by far is its people. To bring in somebody new (hopefully you!) means changing the existing dynamic and it’s important that this change turns out for the better rather than the worse - for everybody involved. Describing what being part of a team means to you helps your new potential employer imagine how you might fit into the already existing team, how you could enhance it, and how his current employees would feel about you. This is a vital one!
How do you usually communicate with your managers? Do you keep in very close contact with frequent updates or do you prefer to get on with your work and only communicate in weekly meetings or when there are big issues?
This question helps give an insight into how you like to be managed. While employers appreciate independence and resourcefulness, all managers have different management styles. It’s important to determine if your way of working fits with the manager’s style.
About the job/ managing expectations/stability:
Do you have any hesitations about this job?
This is useful feedback for the interviewer. If your answer is a simple “no, none at all”, delivered with a smile and a steady gaze, that’s fine - but if you do have reservations or questions, don’t be afraid to state them. Perhaps something in the job description was unclear, or something said in the interview contradicts what you had assumed. Ask your questions.
Remember, there are no wrong answers to any of these interview questions. There are many moving parts when it comes to filling a position, and if you’re not the right person for the job, then it’s not the right job for you! These questions will help to make that clear, one way or another, and help not just your interviewer make a decision, but you as well.