Connecting...

5 Interview Tips Banner

5 Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

5 Interview Questions Banner V2

Whether you have been working in the same company for several years, or if you’ve been working within a wide array of industries in a variety of roles, at some point, we have all experienced the ‘Job Interview.’ We each have our own experiences with job interviews, some good, and some, unfortunately, less so. Interviews can be a very daunting concept, with the mounting pressure that the next step of your professional career hangs on the balance of your performance within the next 30–60 minutes. However, like many challenges in life, this process can be made significantly less stressful and much more successful with the right amount of preparation.

 

Therefore, we have compiled a list of some of the most popular questions that an employer will ask you during an interview, and crucially, what the employer is hoping to learn about you from the answer you give. Familiarise yourself with how you should approach each question and the traps you could fall into.  Think of ways you can apply the given examples to your own experience and you’re sure to leave your next interview feeling full of confidence.

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself and what has led you to applying for this role?

What may on the surface seem a relatively innocuous question, it is actually one of, if not the most important question of the interview. This is most likely the first time you and your potential employer will be sat face to face, and they are going to want to see how you hold yourself, convey information and how you act when meeting new people. Answers given may also provide openings to further conversation, though try not to waffle. My advice would be to give a brief overview of your education and relevant experience, the moment, or ‘thing’ that attracted you to this particular industry and a ‘golden skill’ that has allowed you to become successful in your working life. Wrap this answer up with your career goal and its close link to the role that you are being interviewed for and you will have provided a very strong introduction to your interviewers.

 

Can you describe your Strengths and Weaknesses?

This question can prove to be somewhat of a ‘gotcha’ moment in the interview if you are not prepared, as the interviewer will not only be interested in your direct response to this question, but the manner in which you address it:

Strengths

The key thing to keep in mind when answering this question is to not come across as boastful or arrogant. Of course, you are going to want to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job, however there is a fine line between providing relevant skills vs listing your long and attributed list of accolades. Employers will be looking for skills relevant to the role, so study the job description and focus on three key qualities you possess that can be directly applied to the role. Make sure to give relevant examples too!

Weaknesses

Despite what the word weakness implies, you’re going to want to avoid being too negative when providing this answer. The key when answering this question, is to let the employer know that you have recognised an area of personal weakness, and that you are taking steps to improve upon this so that it will no longer hinder your performance at work. It is important to give examples of the steps you have taken to improve, show your current progress, and emphasize that your progress has been acknowledged.

Example – I would say my greatest weakness, is the fact that I sometimes find it quite hard asking other people for help. I tend to try and figure things out for myself, instead of asking the people in my team for guidance, which would be a faster way of working. Having said that, I am seeking to improve on this, and have since become more mindful of situations where this may occur in the future.

 

Why do you want to work for us?

This is a great opportunity to convey your passion and interest in not just the role, but the company as a whole. Preparation for this question is key, as knowledge of a company’s history, practices and its various accolades that have incentivised you to apply for this position, shows an employer that you acknowledge the companies’ key practices, ethics and progression within the industry. Discuss how this particular role is best suited to your own particular set of skills, and that your values and goals are aligned with those of your employer.

 

What are your salary expectations?

This question is almost certain to come up at some point, and if you aren’t prepared, it can cause a moment of panic in an interview. You don’t want to price yourself out of the job by asking for a salary that is too high, neither do you want to undervalue yourself and end up getting paid a lesser amount than what you could, or should, be working for.

In order to avoid an uneasy atmosphere, prepare your response in advance. Research similar roles within the field and look out for consistencies in pay. The job you’re applying for may even have a listed salary attached to the description.

We here at Sigmar prepare a yearly salary guide that covers many different roles in a wide range of industries. Take a look at this year’s guide, it will give you a good starting point when considering the salary being offered to you.

This link will take you to our Sigmar Salary Guide: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.com/blog/2022/02/salary-guide-2022

 

How would you deal with potential conflict in the workplace?

This question is an open door to an employer for assessing your level of emotional intelligence. By demonstrating your capacity for empathy, and your understanding of different personality types, you will show that you are highly emotionally intelligent, and understanding that ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’ However, you will want to be mindful of not appearing overly negative when answering this question. Generally, negativity should be avoided during an interview, however, like our assessment of the question regarding personal weakness, there are ways to address negative issues in a constructive way. Key points in the right direction are to lead with empathy and compassion, focus on your own subjective experience without pointing out flaws in others, and replace ‘but’ with ‘and,’ which deescalates a conversation from an argument to a discussion.

 

In Conclusion

Of course, we have only covered a select few questions in this post, and no doubt you will have come across one or two more ‘repeat questions’ in different interviews. We will be exploring further interview questions in later posts, however, these 5 questions are certainly amongst the more popular questions interviewers will pose to you, so preparing you’re answers to these will certainly increase your chances of a successful interview.

Posted by Joe Lord on 18 July 2022

Related Content

Contract Work

The Benefits Of Contract Work

The Benefits Of Contract Work

​The jobhunting period can at times feel quite negative, and many people will be put off contract work as they know they have a date where they will be out of employment after the role expires. Also, jumping between different industries in quick succession can prove a challenge for the Wallflowers in this blogs audience. However, Contract work does have benefits that should not be overlooked both to the short and long-term trajectory of your career. Here are a number of reasons why you should accept contract as well as some added benefits you may not have considered.Make ConnectionsThe nature of contract work dictates that unless you’re offered a permanent position, you will be moving between places of work every 6 - 12 months. The benefit of this, is that you are likely to become acquainted with many business leaders, executives, CEOs, and industry experts along the way. This will prove invaluable as building your contact list of reputable business leaders will provide new connections, long lasting business relationships and an impressive list of references for your next employer to contact. In a world where a person’s experience in the field can be the deciding factor in being chosen for interview, having connections to add to your credibility will only ever benefit your applicationFind your job passionIt is not uncommon for young professionals to work a variety of roles before settling into a more permanent fulfilling role. This method can provide a multitude of valuable experience, references, and insights into the nature of the industry. Contract work is a good way to dip your toe into the pool of the industry and find out if you are best aligned with the culture and work involved in the industry.SalaryContracted roles will get you better pay. They offer a higher basic salary in lieu of a benefits package. You can make your experience really work to your advantage. Employers are typically willing to pay you generously, providing you meet their requirements, if you solve their problem or need quickly. Employers tend to really value experience, since they want to bring onboard someone who can jump right in and hit the ground running.Faster EmploymentNow this of course does not cover all contract work, and you shouldn’t apply for a contract position assuming you’re going to be accepted by 9:30 and start work at 10:00. However, the creation of a contract role may have resulted in a sudden urgency and vacation that needs to be filled, so the onboarding of contracts does move faster than permanent roles.More FreedomAs you are not bound by the standard contracts of the business, you have more negotiating room when discussing hours, pay and location. You may have been brought into the contract role to assist with a sudden influx of work, therefore If you can assure your employer you will complete the work, you can choose working hours that fit for you, which can provide more time out of work for looking at more roles, building your professional profile and networking.In ConclusionThere are many business professionals who have built there who career around contract work and it’s not too hard to see why. Contract work offers more flexibility, better pay, more variation, and greater chance of networking and building a profile within the industry. Understanding the process and careful planning can ensure you are never out of work for lengthy periods of time, and with the flexibility contract work offers, you can use any free time to plan ahead once your contract expires. If you are keen to build your professional CV, build strong industry connections, gain experience and entertain a higher pay, contract work is definitely worth your time

Untitled Design (2)

The Benefits Of Journaling

The Benefits Of Journaling

  Let’s first dispel any preconceptions you may have had before clicking on this post. This post will not be outlining the benefits of keeping a diary of sorts to document your thoughts and feelings. Of course, if you already do that, then more power to you, but in this blog we will be focusing on why using a journal is the most effective medium in keeping track of any upcoming events and increasing productivity.     But I Have Notes on My Phone… Smartphones manufacturers are continuously updating and innovating their products with the intention of streamlining our day to day lives. However, they can also provide distractions and reduce productivity. It can be all too tempting to tap on the YouTube App next to your Notes or Calendar. Having an actual notebook to write in reduces the temptation to get side-tracked and allows you to be present and focused as you document information. Smartphones also allow mistakes to be erased or things to be rewritten, which of course has its benefits, however, writing with pen and paper encourages a certain commitment to the process and taking time to document information in this manner allows information to be subconsciously registered.   So what are some benefits of journaling?   Organisation Traditionally, people would associate a journal as a daily record of news and events amongst other things of a personal nature. In essence, it’s a diary. However, rather than use journaling as a way to document the past, instead, use it to plan for the future. For instance, when applying for jobs, you may need to remember important dates such as interview's, online calls or tasks to complete. And whilst in employment, use it to remember deadlines, meetings, commitments and work based social events. Business and work-related alerts can become lost in the void of the other notifications on your devices, so having all important information contained in an accessible, easy to use portable format is guaranteed to avoid such occurrences.   Productivity There can be slow times during a period of work and the temptation to scroll through social media or watch videos online can be all but too enticing. This is where a Productivity Journal can help. By tracking habits or division of time spent on tasks throughout the day, your working hours will ultimately be more focused with less wasted time.   Time Management and Reaching Goals Journaling provides a way of breaking down a seemingly herculean task into obtainable goal by distributing time across a number of dates. Having all your important tasks and commitments scribbled down will allow you to quickly identify spaces in your schedule and allow you to dedicate time accordingly. Without question, planning your time effectively will increase productivity and decrease stress.   Reflection Of course, it is worth mentioning that though you may journal as a means of planning ahead, it can be nice to look back through the previous weeks and months you have documented and reflect on previous projects. It can help instil a sense of pride to look back at your past accomplishments and completed tasks, which will motivate you to continue to work hard and not feel daunted when presented with a lengthy task. Viewing previously completed tasks retrospectively can provide good hindsight in preparation for similar projects in the future.   Stress Relief A simple but important point of note, Journaling in this method can also be quite meditative, and is a sure way to keep the stress levels down. As previously mentioned, removing the ability to delete mistakes requires you to focus more on what you’re writing. This means you are present in the moment and focused on one specific task. The world of work can present many matters that require your attention and in a busy week of work full of deadlines, meetings and commitments, it can be nice to take 5 minutes away and just focus your efforts on one task.   Doodles and Drawings In a similar fashion to the traditional diary, your journal isn’t just for handwriting, its your own personal document that you can shape and customise however you like. Studies have shown that drawing or doodling in your journal enhances your memory and can also provide further stress relief. A lot of people have strong visual remembrance and are more likely to recall information from an image th­an a written document. Aside from these benefits, personalising your journal is ultimately enjoyable and will encourage you to use it more often!   In Conclusion Its difficult to list exactly how journaling can affect your professional life, as everybody uses a journal for different things. Some to plan ahead of time, some to document, and some as a way to take a few minutes out of there busy schedule to just focus on one task. Chances are as you read this blog post (thank you for reading to the end by the way) you already had some idea of what you would use a journal for, or maybe you’ve observed a close friend or colleague viciously scribble away in a notebook whenever they have a few seconds away from a call. We’ve mentioned a few practical uses of journaling, however, the best way to get started is just to get stuck in and see what works for you. Buy yourself a notebook and pen and get writing, it’ll help, trust me!

Research Interviewer

Why You Should Research The Company Who Want To Interview You

Why You Should Research The Company Who Want To Interview You

Before entering into an interview situation, we HIGHLY advise that you research your prospective employer as thoroughly as possible. Not only will this increase the chances of your interview being successful, it can also help you decide if the business is a good cultural fit for you, and also offer peace of mind that the company has good intentions.   Provide Company Authenticity Allow me to briefly divulge to you a personal experience I’ve had. During my years of studying I was signing up to agencies in the hope of getting some money to help with living expenses. I was contacted by an agency that said a company was looking for assistants to help out in their studio. I went along to the interview and after the usual questions and formalities, I was offered the job on the spot! Amazing right? Well, shortly after I verbally accepted the position, I was informed that before they would send a contract over, I was required to send £500 to the company accounts team to cover any potential ‘damages and expenses’ to equipment inside the studio. Naturally, this was some cause for concern, and long story short, after a quick flick through their online social presence, I found that most of their followers were paid for/bots and the company address listed on their website was actually a room above a laundrette 50 miles from where it should be! It is the unfortunate truth that there are some undesirables who will pray on the good intentions of jobseekers by offering opportunities in industries that are traditionally challenging to enter. Prior research into a company that has contacted you will provide peace of mind that the company exercises lawful practices and that their business is authentic and genuine. In the case of my own experience, it's certainly a rare occurrence, but unfortunately, not an impossibility.   Is The Company Right For You? The average person will work for around 37.5 hrs pw, some more and some less. This is a long time to be spent at the workplace, so in order to avoid any negative feelings or resentment towards work developing, you must make sure that the company’s culture aligns with your own. Ask yourself the following questions, am I able to complete the level of work required, can I work within company deadlines, am I able to handle the demands of my role, can I adhere to the company's work location i.e. work remotely, in office or hybrid? All these things will help you determine whether you can meet the demands of the role and perform consistently.   Demonstrates an Interest in the Company As an employee of a company, you will be expected to act in a way that reflects the company’s best interests and core values. Employers will be looking for candidates in interviews that they feel best resonate with their core company ethics and philosophy. Demonstrating knowledge of the company’s history and expansion and recognising its achievements and accolades is sure to impress your potential employers. It conveys your own passion for the brand and desire to be a part of a company’s growth. This will help show your employer that you are committed to the future of the company and intend to work within the business for a long time.   It helps you prepare meaningful questions Now you may have seen a post on our knowledge centre about questions you should ask your interviewer. These are all tried and tested ways to go the extra mile in an interview by seeking additional insight about your employer and demonstrating an interest in the company ethos. However, if you truly want to go above and beyond to impress your interviewer, mould your questions in such fashion that they directly relate to the business. Example: I recognise the company’s overall mission is X. But can you share some of the company's short and long-term goals during the next 3 years. What part would I play in helping the business to achieve these targets? Formulating your questions about matters directly concerning the company shows your employers you are eager to become an asset to the business. This will also provide an opportunity to match the business goals with your own!   It can help you learn more about the industry If you’ve decided that you need a change in your career path and want to pursue a role in a different industry, research into a company can help provide insight into what the work actually entails and how the industry and company itself operates. Learning the ins and outs, the rough and the smooth of the job you’re looking to apply for will help you make the right decision for both your career and wellbeing. If a company advertises a fast-paced quick response attitude, will you be able to keep up? Similarly, if the role operates within both high-pressure and relaxed periods of work, are you ok with an irregular balance of fast and slow-paced environments? Researching the company and role you wish to pursue will help answer some of these questions that should always be considered when trying something new.   In Conclusion As you can see, there are many benefits to researching your employer. Prospective employers are always going to be looking for candidates that will go the extra mile, so this is good practice into the mindset of always going one step further to impress and prove why you are an important asset to any team.